Reduce, reuse, recycle. Oftentimes, we focus very heavily on the last step of this phrase- recycle- and we miss the first two steps completely.
There are many ways to reduce waste in your everyday life. People tend to fail with the “all or nothing attitude.” Even small changes lead to big results. The goal should not be to become a zero-waste person by next week. The goal should be to kick a bad habit each week until you become a person of little-to-no waste.
Here are five easy ways to reduce waste in your everyday life:
Ditch the plastic grocery bags. According to biologicaldiversity.org, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags a year, which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. It only takes about 14 plastic bags for the equivalent of the gas required to drive one mile. The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year. Only 1 percent of plastic bags are returned for recycling. That means that the average family only recycles 15 bags a year; the rest ends up in landfills as litter. A great alternative to plastic grocery bags are reusable ones. They hold more groceries so there are fewer trips in and out of the house. You could potentially cut out 1,500 over the course of a year just by remembering your reusable bag.
No more bottled water. As long as your tap water is safe for consumption, there is no excuse for buying plastic water bottles. If you are hosting a volunteer site, encourage your volunteers to bring their reusable water bottles and offer a water jug for refills as opposed to handing out dozens of plastic water bottles. Don’t buy plastic water bottles with the intent of recycling them later. If you cut out the plastic, you cut out the need for recycling.
Pack an eco-friendly lunch. If you bring your lunch to school or work, invest in glass containers and reusable cutlery. Are you worried about packing reusable cutlery in your child’s school lunches because they might accidentally throw it away? Buy a cheap set of metal spoons and forks from Walmart. You can buy them for less than a dollar!
Unsubscribe from useless mail. Junk mail clutters our homes and mailboxes. Unsubscribe and reduce paper waste.
No more plastic straws. Straws are not recyclable and can harm wildlife or clog landfills. Bring a metal straw when eating out or on-the-go. Bonus: Bring your glass containers for left overs at restaurants!
These small steps can lead to big changes in your life. You might set out less trash each week for pickup. Keep Nac Beautiful and Keep the Earth Beautiful!