I have lived all over the United States and I have to say that California gets it right when it comes to recycling and reducing trash. They have been promoting Reduce, Re-use and Recycle programs for many years now. They have been changing the laws regarding recycling as well. If you go to the grocery store, you will not get a brown recycled paper bag unless you ask for it and pay for it. Most people bring their own bags. Recycling bins are being used routinely. My mother is a master at this process already. We could all learn from her habits. I used to make fun of her for saving jars and cool whip containers. Then I wanted to do some crafting and she had almost everything that I needed on hand neatly put away to be re-used for some later purpose. How much trash do you create in a week? How much in a month? For the next 30 days, I challenge you to reduce your trash by as much as possible. Here are 10 simple ideas to help get you started:
- Buy less stuff.
- Bring re-usable bags when you shop. Keep them in your trunk so they are handy.
- Can the item be used for another purpose instead of trash? Any fun crafts you have saved to Pinterest for jars or old furniture?
- Can old clothes be passed on to someone else that can use them? Garage sale? Consignment shop? Can you think of a fun project for the fabric? Did you realize that most quilts used to be made from old fabric scraps and old clothing?
- Can you fix things that are broken instead of replacing them?
- Can vegetable scraps be composted? For example, coffee grounds can be used in the garden for a couple of different purposes. Roses and hydrangeas love them. They can also deter a dog from digging in the yard and cats from using a garden as a litter box.
- Buy only the groceries that you will use and cook what you buy. Lots of perfectly good food gets thrown out because we buy more than we will actually cook in a week – or we eat out too much.
- Look at the packaging. Individually packaged items create a lot of extra trash. Buy biodegradable items whenever possible. Buy in bulk where available.
- Eat off of real dishes and use real napkins and towels. Yes, real napkins and towels have to be washed and they use water and soap – but if you are adding them to loads of laundry that you are already washing, they are small pieces of fabric and don’t take up hardly any space in a load of laundry. Plus, full loads of laundry conserve electricity, water, and detergent.
- Sort your recyclable items. It is crazy that we have had recycling centers for as long as we have had them and many people still do not recycle ANYTHING! In most cities, recycling bins are provided so it really isn’t even that difficult anymore. Just do it.
Have fun with this. You don’t have to be perfect to make a difference. Small changes done consistently over time have a huge impact.