Reducing Waste 101

September 13, 2019 3 min read

Reducing Waste 101

Cutting down on trash doesn’t have to be difficult or stressful. Check out these easy steps that can yield big results.


Most of us have heard of the zero waste movement—you know, that crazy idea to fill your trash receptacle with next to nothing?


The average person in the U.S. generates nearly 4½ pounds of trash a day, according to CNN Health, and half of that ends up in the country’s 2,000 landfills. That’s 1,600 pounds of trash a year. Per person.

Living trash free is a grand idea, no doubt, but so is exercising daily and cutting out carbs. But just like those goals, if you want to reduce the amount of waste you toss, start small. A little effort can go a long way in protecting the future of our environment. Here’s how:


Take a Stand. Buy items with zero to little packaging whenever possible. It’s the simple concept of supply and demand—you demand it and companies will supply it.
    Avoid plastic. The average sack lunch uses two to three plastic baggies, so go for reusable bags instead of disposable. Also, replace plastic containers with glass after they’ve served their purpose.
    Bulk up. Most grocery outlets now have bulk sections. Reuse bags from home and stock up on just what you need—from nuts and seeds to flour and sugar. And when we say bulk, we mean anything but those big warehouse stores.
    Recycle. While we have come a long way in this area, our country is nowhere near its potential. According to waste and recycling company Rubicon Global, 75 percent of our waste is recyclable yet we recycle only 30 percent. In addition, over 11 million tons of clothing is relegated to landfills a year. So find a way to mitigate these numbers. Motor oil, batteries and electronics and even sneakers can all be recycled.
    Reuse. Donate old books, clothing, cell phones, appliances and more. Washington-based GreenDisk takes technotrash like VCRs, laptops, video game consoles, speakers and more and destroys it, recycles it or donates it to a worthy cause. Sneakers in good shape, for example, can go to the needy through the One World Running program.



      8 Donation Dynamos:

      Animal Shelters: Locate a local shelter online and donate old blankets, animal toys and whatever else they need that you may have.


      Apple Buyback: Donations can offset the price of a new purchase. If your item doesn’t qualify, it may end up in a new (needy) home or with a recycling partner.


      Bra Recyclers: All gently used sizes accepted.


      Ocean Sole Africa: Help turn flip-flops into art and functional products and also generate jobs in Kenya with the help of this social enterprise.


      Reuse-a-Shoe: Nike’s program recycles all brands of sneakers into courts for various sports for children around the world.


      St. Jude’s Ranch:Help provide teens with life and work skills by donating the front of greeting cards (all except Hallmark, American Greetings and Disney) to this non-profit.


      The Military Wallet: Support the military through this organization’s Cell Phones for Soldiers program.


      The National Crayon Recycle Program: Send your broken Crayons to a better place rather than a landfill.

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