Why Reduce Waste
The absolute best way to prevent waste is simply not to create it in the first place. Below are some simple suggestions for how you and your family can reduce waste.
ITEMS BANNED FROM LANDFILLS click HERE
Packaging in the U.S. is now so excessive that 10 cents of every dollar you spend is just for the packaging. According to the California Integrated Waste Management Board, 22 million tons of packaging waste is generated in just that one state annually.
- Look for products with less packaging
- Buy in bulk. Single serving packages create more waste.
- Buy local. Carrots purchased at a local farm stand or farmers market are less likely to be in a plastic bag.
- Shop from bulk bins for items such as spices and flour.
- Skip bottled water in favor of water from your tap.
It isn't as difficult as you might think to choose reusable items over disposables.
- Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth.
- Avoid using Styrofoam plates. If you can't avoid using disposables, choose paper which will degrade safely. Plastic plates will remain in the landfill for 700 years.
- Bring a travel mug to your favorite coffee place. Many coffee places offer a small discount if you bring your own mug.
- Use cloth shopping bags. Ikea, which has stopped providing bags for its customers, estimates that a family of four in the US will use 1500 plastic shopping bags in a year. Many grocery stores offer a 5 cent credit when you bring your own bag.
- Avoid bottled water. Using your own glass or water bottle will save money and conserve, particularly oil which is used to make the plastic water is bottled in.
- Buy reusable menstrual products and cloth diapers. Even with a diaper service, Earth 911 states that it is possible to save $600 per child by using cloth diapers.
- Shave with an electric razor or one which uses refillable blades.
- Use a regular camera instead of a disposable one.
Slow the Flood of Junk Mail
The direct mail industry sends more than 5 million tons of unsolicited mail each year. According to the Center for a New American Dream, the production and disposal of direct mail consumes more energy than 3,000,000 cars.
To opt out of credit card offers, call 1-888-5-OPTOUT or click here for the website for more information about how to remove your name from the lists most commonly used by credit card companies.
The Center for a New American Dream has additional tools to help you remove yourself from mailing lists.
PrivacyRights.org has a comprehensive guide to getting off mailing lists of all kinds.
NERC Northeast Recycling Council Info guide for lots lots of outlets for Reducing / Reusing / Recycling click here
Give Alternative Gifts
For birthdays, holidays, and other occasions, give experiences instead of things. Examples include:
- Museum passes
- Concert, theater, or sporting event tickets
- Movie passes
- Restaurant gift certificates
Even better, give the gift of your time and expertise:
- Give a child a book of coupons redeemable for an afternoon of cookie making, sledding, playing catch or going for walk. The memories will last far longer than any toy.
- Offer to teach a friend or family member to woodwork or quilt, or how to bake the perfect apple pie.
- For parents, free babysitting is always a welcome gift.
- Spend an afternoon helping with a gardening or household project.
- Give a homemade gift.
Planning a wedding or expecting a baby? The Center for a New American Dream has an alternative gift registry .
They also have a guide to reducing waste during the holiday season .