How much stuff do you throw away each day after a use or two? Each week? Each month? Now multiply that times the billions of people on earth and you can see how that single, seemingly tiny item can really add up to quite a mess. In 2008, Americans alone created 250 million tons of trash and recycled and/or composted 83 million tons of it – the equivalent of a 33.2% recycling rate. Solid waste generation has increased from 3.66 to 4.50 pounds per person per day between 1980 and 2008 – we are, in fact, going backwards. Wasn’t the digital revolution supposed to ween us off a huge amount of this waste? It doesn’t seem to be working. Luckily, there are a bunch of very simple things you can do at home, starting today, to ween yourself off of disposables in your own life. Each one of these is simple, cheap, and very effective at reducing the amount of trash you contribute to the waste stream. Give a few of them a shot this week!
- Instead of single use ballpoint pens, buy refillable pens.
- Instead of disposable razors and/or razor cartridges, try a straight razor…or just stop shaving your face like yours truly.
- Instead of a paper coffee cup, get yourself a reusable coffee mug or thermos.
- Instead of regular batteries, buy rechargeable ones and a charger. I haven’t bought (or disposed of) a new battery in years.
- Instead of buying bottled water, get your own reusable bottle and never pay for plastic bottles again.
- Instead of disposable diapers, look into using unbleached cloth ones.
- Instead of using plastic wrap at home, get yourself some resealable glass containers.
- Instead of plastic straws, get your own glass one at GlassDharma.
- Instead of single-use sponges, buy some washable sponges. I put mine in with the laundry.
- Instead of virgin plastic garbage bags, find ones made from recycled plastic.
- Instead of plastic utensils on a picnic, bring your metal ones from home.
- Instead of paper towels, buy some dish rags and keep them handy in a drawer. I haven’t bought a roll of paper towels for 2 months ever since my cat died. The only reason I bought them was to clean up after him.
- Instead of tissues, try out a handkerchief!
- Instead of paper or plastic, bring your own bag when you go shopping.
- Instead of using the produce bags, just put the produce in your cart. You’re gonna wash it before you eat it anyway!
- Instead of using plastic bags for bulk purchases, bring your own reusable container. The store will weigh it for you to get the tare weight (the weight of the empty container) before you use it.
- Instead of using paper coffee filters that get thrown away, get yourself a gold filter that you can wash each day.
So…what’s missing from the list? What do you do at home or in your life that the rest of us should try to implement as well? Let us all know in the comments!
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