There are many opportunities available for helping reduce waste. Waste reduction can be accomplished in your backyard, in your kitchen, even as you go to the store. It just a matter of knowing what steps to take. We have provided some simple tips below.
In Your Yard
Composting is the natural process of decomposing organic material, like leaves or grass clippings. Bacteria and insects consume this material leaving nutrient rich soil. Composting has been going on in forests since the beginning of time and can easily be done in your backyard. A major advantage of composting for any gardener is that the home-grown compost can be used instead of commercial fertilizers and mulches.
Grasscycling is the natural practice of leaving clippings on the lawn when mowing. This can save time, money and other resources like landfill space. The clippings quickly decompose, returning nutrients to the soil. Proper turf management, in conjunction with the practice of grasscycling, can reduce water and fertilizer requirements, mowing time, and disposal costs. By grasscycling you can help Mow Down Pollution!
Xeriscaping means simply landscaping with slow growing, drought tolerant plants to conserve water and reduce yard trimmings.
In Your Kitchen
Food Waste Reduction
Vermicomposting is composting food waste using worms. Composting through the use of worms in your own backyard, or school, is a very simple way to turn garbage into a useful product called worm castings that can help brighten up the flower beds and improve the food output of the vegetable garden. Composting using worms is also a great children’s science project!
At The Store
Look for Less Packaging
Of all the garbage we generate, 1/3 is packaging that gets thrown away immediately. Buy in bulk or concentrate form when possible, and avoid excessive packaging layers. Avoid disposable products such as juice boxes or single serving snacks. Since almost all products require some packaging, choose ones with packaging that is recyclable.
Use a Cloth Shopping Bag
Paper or Plastic? Bring your own cloth bags to the grocery store and you will not need to make that tough choice. Cloth bags are stronger than both paper and plastic bags. They will not contribute to the tons of unnecessary trash in our landfills since you can use them over and over again.
Purchase Reusable Containers
Buy groceries like juice, lunch supplies and condiments with reusable containers in mind. Juices can be purchased in concentrate form to be mixed in your own reusable containers. You can reduce a tremendous amount of lunch waste by avoiding single serving containers. Reusing also extends a product's life span. When we reuse products, we don't have to waste valuable natural resources in their creation, and a substantial volume of waste is diverted from the landfills. There are four ways you can practice reuse in your home:
- Avoid disposable products
- Find new uses for common household items
- Purchase durable, long-lasting products
- Find a second life for durable products
Purchasing products made with recycled material helps turn those cans, bottles, and paper collected at curbside into products we can use every day. The packaging on many products lists whether recycled material is used. Buying these products helps "close the loop," and because these products use fewer resources, you will be helping the environment. If you’re not buying recycled products, you’re really not recycling.
It is estimated that between Thanksgiving and the New Year an extra million tons of waste are generated nationwide each week. In fact, 38,000 miles of ribbon alone is thrown out each year--enough to tie a bow around the Earth! Click here to find out what you can do to reduce holiday waste!
After you save yourself some money by doing an oil change at home, save the earth by recycling the waste oil. Click here to find local businesses that will recycle your used oil.
Now that you know where to recycle your used motor oil, you can "Make a Change For the Better" by purchasing re-refined motor oil. Re-refined motor oil is recycled oil that has been processed to make it reusable. It is of the same high quality as virgin motor oil. In fact, just ask Mercedes Benz! They’ve been using re-refined motor oil in their new cars since the early 1990’s.
Purchasing re-refined motor oil will:
- Reduce air pollution
- Use an American resource and reduce dependence on foreign oil
- Reduce energy requirements by being used over and over again
- Conserve a valuable, non-renewable resource (crude oil)
Rechargeable batteries, also known as Ni-Cd (nickel-cadmium) batteries, are found in power tools, cordless and cellular phones, and camcorders. Although long lasting, sooner or later those Ni-Cd rechargeable batteries are going to quit. When they no longer hold a charge, RECYCLE THEM. (Click on the Ni-Cd symbol on the left above to find the nearest retail collection site.)