Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The longer I live in Seattle and the more time I spend exploring the outdoors, the more time I spend thinking about and researching ways that I can lessen my impact on our planet and the environment. Since moving here, I have become a vegetarian, signed up for Ridwell (Check them out @ Ridwell.com), gotten my own chickens for fresh eggs (and pets!), and focused on reducing my usage of single-use plastics and other products.
I've been inspired to research local recycling guidelines and share this info with friends via social media. I don't think all cities and towns have such a great resource as Seattle, but I bet you can find some great information from your cities department of Public Utilities.
The first few weeks as a Ridwell customer, when we started collecting our plastics (like Ziplock bags, shredded cheese bags, chip bags, and other plastic packaging), it was amazing how much we were keeping from ending up in a landfill or our oceans. As a household of two, plus all the friends we entertain on a regular basis, we only send 1 bag to the landfill every month or so. It feels good to be working hard on reducing our waste and our impact on the planet.
A simple way to start, even if you don't have a service like Ridwell available, is to just collect some of your single-use products separately from the trash for a few weeks. Take a look at what you are collecting and think about ways to reduce some of them. Do you really need them all? The statistics around usage and waste are astounding. We, as a culture, produce SO MUCH GARBAGE. In the U.S. we produce, on average, 4.5 POUNDS of garbage per person PER DAY. The average man over 20 years old is 198 pounds. This means that it would take 44 days to create as much garbage as the average human weighs. On average, we each throw away 1 AVERAGE HUMAN EVERY 1.5 MONTHS. Does anyone else think that this is completely insane?
- Plastic drink bottles > Replace with reusable water bottles
- Ziplock bags > Replace with tupperware or reusable bags, or wash them out and reuse
- Plastic Wrap > Replace with tupperware
- Produce bags > bring your own reusable bags, or just don't use bags at all
- Plastic shopping bags > why do these even still exist? Get reusable ones and remember to actually use them
Even if you do not have a local service helping you recycle your single-use, soft plastics, you can take them to many local grocery stores or similar establishments. Even though it can be inconvenient to collect them and remember to take them to the store, isn't it even more inconvenient to be destroying our planet?
Our earth is worth saving and we can all do better. Let's all do better. Together.