Finding ways to reduce our consumption,reuse items, and recycle are practical ways in which each of us can care for the environment. As a bonus, these simple measures will often help trim household expenses.
Waste reduction starts when you’re shopping. If you regularly throw away spoiled or out-of-date food, you’re buying too much. The same applies to the meals you prepare. If you often throw away leftovers, cook less.
Avoid buying items that you expect to use onlya few times. Rent or borrow instead, when possible.
Reusable items such as rechargeable batteries are generally more expensive than their disposable counterparts, but they reduce waste and save money in the long run.
With a little imagination, many common items can have a secondary purpose. Envelopes can be used to keep receipts or as scratch paper. Cans, jars, and boxes make good storage containers. Old clothes and linens can be cut into cleaning rags. Materials for craft projects can be salvaged from all sorts of worn-out or broken items. Stale bread is great for French toast or bread pudding. Turn bruised fruit into sauce or jam.
More national and local governments are encouraging or requiring recycling, and for good reason. Recycling saves on resources and energy and reduces landfill. Find out where your local recycling facilities are and the guidelines for their use.
Try to buy products that are packaged in or have been made from recycled material.
Avoid buying products that can’t be recycled without harming the environment, such as certain household cleaners that contain toxic ingredients.
Compost organic waste.
Start or join community recycling projects. Learn from others and share what you have learned.
You may not need something any longer, but someone else may. Offer unwanted items to family or friends, or give them to charity. You may also be able to sell some items online or at a secondhand market.
Join a recycling network such as the Freecycle Network™ (www.freecycle.org). This is an internet-based nonprofit community with more than 8 million members in over 85 countries worldwide. Its members freely offer or swap items they no longer need. It is estimated that over 500 tons of garbage is kept out of landfills each day as a result of the sharing done over this network alone.