Reduce Waste at Home-Getting Started

May 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Reduce, Reuse & Recycle

We all want to do our part to ensure a better environment, one that will be clean and green for generations to come. But it’s hard to get motivated when you think how big the world is we’re trying to save. What can one person possibly do to make a difference? The answer is plenty. Consider that by recycling one glass bottle, the energy you’ve redeemed is the equivalent of what it would take to power a light bulb (100 watts) for four hours. By recycling a pound of steel, enough energy is saved to power a light bulb (60 watts) for an entire day.

Multiple that one bottle or one pound by all that you can recycle in one year, and you can see what a difference one family can make. It is well worth the effort to reduce waste at home, and can quickly add up to a significant impact on saving energy. It takes some planning and effort, but isn’t at all hard to get started. Here are some ideas for you to incorporate into your daily routine:

1. Recycle – This is becoming a way of life for most American families. Keep some labeled bins in your garage to keep recyclable materials in until there’s enough to take to the curb for collection or to a local recycling center. Most communities have recycling programs for plastics, aluminum and metals, glass, newspaper, and even junk mail.

2. Get Involved – If there aren’t any local facilities for recycling in your community, join with others to try to get one started. There are government incentives available for green communities, and it can benefit everyone.

3. Reuse – Take the word disposable out of your shopping vocabulary. Only purchase items that can be reused. Use durable plates, flatware and cups instead of paper and plastic, and use cloth napkins. They’ll provide a nice touch to your table setting.

4. Get Creative – When items in your home become worn or unusable, think outside the box for a way to give them a new ‘life’ before throwing them away. For example, use old clothing for rags, craft scraps, or quilting squares. Old jeans can be made into handbags. If furniture is worn out, consider reupholstering for a brand new look. It will save a tremendous amount of manufacturing and transporting energy over buying new.

5. Give it Away – Some items that your family can no longer use, such as clothing that has been outgrown, might still have a lot of use for someone else. Be generous with gently used items. You probably have friends or family that can use them. If not, you can donate items to charity, thrift stores, or consignment shops.

6. Look for Used Items – Consider being on the receiving end of gently used items before buying new. You’d be surprised what you can find at thrift and consignment stores, flea markets, or garage sales. They are still new to you and can give your family lots of use at a low cost.

This is just a small sample of all the eco-friendly things you can do at home to make an impact for the whole planet. Any one person can make a big difference. Why not start today?