Reducing and Reusing is even better than Recycling!

In the United States, we generate more trash than any other country in the world. Each person in the United States produces 2,600 pounds of trash per year. Imagine if your trash was not collected and landfilled by a local government. Collecting and disposing waste is one of the highest expenses for local governments—that means tax dollars. Recycling is good for resource conservation, but transporting recyclables to manufacturers poses a lot of problems too. That is why the best way to manage waste is to not produce it in the first place.

Here are some simple ways you can start to reduce the trash you generate:

Pack a waste free-lunch. Use jars or other reusable containers instead of packaging in single-use plastic bags. Purchase cloth napkins instead of disposal ones. Use metal cutlery and reusable lunchboxes instead of disposable bags.

Learn to repair your things.  Frequently a very simple fix can make a broken item last a lot longer, and with the internet so accessible, instructions for most repairs can easily be found online. Attend one of the quarterly Fixit Clinics where volunteer Fixit Coaches will help you learn how to repair your broken items.

Cancel unnecessary mail. No one likes junk mail! Do an online search for how to cancel junk mail in your region. You will find options to enter your name and address to opt out of unwanted catalogs and other junk mail.

Avoid disposable plastics.Every time you leave your residence, make sure you remember your reusable water bottle. Not only will this save you money, but you will avoid consumption of any plastic chemicals that may have leached from the bottle into the water.

Avoid paper cups.Paper cups are not recyclable because of the petroleum based liner that keeps the paper from getting wet. Every year, in the United States, we consume enough paper cups to fill the Empire State Building 49 times. Reduce your impact by bringing your own cup. Most coffee shops offer a discount when you do!

Keep finding new ways to reduce your waste: remember that reducing waste is different for everyone. What works for one person may not work for another.

Here are some of our favorite ways to reuse items:

Aluminum foil. Take your used foil and give the grill a good scrub when you’re done cooking.
Newspaper. Use newspaper on your windows for a streak-free clean!
Paper towel & toilet paper rolls. Get that drawer of cords organized but folding them around these tubes. Many preschools and children's centers will accept them for crafts. Also, they help aerate compost when sliced into rings!
Tissue boxes. These work great as a garbage receptacle on the bathroom counter.
Plastic bottles. Cut off the top to create a funnel.