by: Leslie Jones

 

Recycling companies often talk a lot about...well…..recycling.  What is unfortunately allowed to hang back in the shadows are the other 2 “Rs”.  Reducing and Reusing are such an integral part of the recycling process that they should always remain in the forefront.

 

Reducing the amount of trash that you generate comes in many forms.  Many more than just recycling the packages things come in. Below are some ideas to reduce the amount of trash we produce and therefore, our carbon footprint.

 

  • Buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging that you have to begin with

  • Try to avoid buying items with extreme overpackaging

  • Refill items as you can, such as soap dispensers

  • Avoid disposable items like paper plates and paper towels

  • Compost food waste when you can

  • Go paperless whenever you can

  • Use a lunchbox instead of using paper bags

  • Use a washcloth instead of disposable wipes

  • Borrow, lend and share when possible

  • Maintain and repair instead of replacing

  • Buy quality items that will last a long time

  • Purchase used products

 

Reusing is just as important, and just as easy.

 

  • Take a refillable coffee or soda cup to convenience stores instead of getting a new cup each time

  • Take your own shopping bags to the grocery store

  • Give household items, toys and clothing that doesn’t fit anymore to neighbors, family or friends

  • Find a new use for containers that new items come in instead of buying something new for storage

  • Buy a refillable bottle for water instead of buying bottled water

 

“The United States consumes about 50 billion bottles of water each year. 30 billion of those bottles are thrown out. While consumers drink up, landfills overflow. The accumulation of empty bottles in landfills, oceans, highways, streets and fields is a terror to the environment.

 

The trash created from plastic bottles is immense and not only does it take up a large portion of landfills, it also can take almost 1000 years to disintegrate. What doesn’t make it into landfills or recycling facilities is tossed out as litter. Currently the Pacific Ocean has a garbage patch estimated to be two times larger than Texas. The patch is made up of everything under the sun and 90 percent of it is plastic.”*

 

“The average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash every day – about 1.5 tons of solid waste per year. Although the EPA estimates that 75 percent of solid waste is recyclable, only about 30 percent is actually recycled”.

 

Each ton (2000 pounds) of recycled paper can save:

  • 3.5 cubic yards of landfill

  • 17 thirty foot (pulp) trees

  • 7,000 gallons of water

  • 380 gallons of oil

  • 4100 kwh of energy**

 

According to these astonishing statistics, not only do we not recycle all of the items that we could, our capacity for reducing and reusing could stand to be revisited.  Help to keep these and other unnecessary items out of the landfill; reduce, reuse, and recycle when you can. For more information on recycling, visit our website at www.wasteawaygroup.com



*sustainablebusinessforum.com

**greenwaste.com