You may have heard the environmental maxim “reduce, reuse and recycle,” but do you know how to make that three-pronged strategy work in your own life? Reducing the amount of waste you generate is good for the environment, but it can also save you a lot of money. Reusing what you already have can save you even more, eliminate unnecessary shopping trips and help you get more out of life. Recycling as much as you can further reduces the amount of waste your family generates, saves you money in a variety of different ways and gives you the satisfaction that comes with knowing you are helping the environment.
Reduce the Amount of Waste
One of the key touchstones of environmentalism is reducing waste. Every year millions of tons of waste ends up in landfills, and plastic waste can last forever in that kind of setting.
If you want to make a difference, reducing the amount of waste you generate is a great place to start. Reducing waste begins at the store level, and voting with your wallet is one of the best ways to implement this strategy.
Whether you are at the grocery store or the local discount retailer, take a close look at the amount of packaging each item contains and choose the one with the least amount of packaging possible. Note the type of packaging as well. Is the container made from recycled cardboard, and can it also be recycled? Contacting manufacturers whose packaging or not recyclable is another way to make a difference and reduce the amount of waste your family generates.
Reuse What You Have to Save Money
Before you go shopping, take a look around your home first. Chances are you have furniture that could be stripped refinished and repainted, eliminating the need for a trip to the furniture store. You may be able to mend your old clothes instead of buying new ones. Perhaps you can take those old items in for repair instead of buying new ones.
Reusing your old products is not always possible, but you should always make it your first choice. If you have working items you no longer need, advertise them for free on sites like Craigslist and Freecycle, or donate them to the local thrift store so others can benefit from them.
Reusing what you already have makes sense from an environmental standpoint, but it makes even more sense from a financial perspective. You save money every time you shop in your own house, and you save lots of time as well.
Recycle Everything You Can
If your municipality has already implemented a curbside recycling program, take the time to learn about that program and which items are accepted. Look carefully at every piece of packaging to see if it includes the recyclable logo, then make sure that item ends up the recycling bin and not the trash can.
If certain items are excluded from your curbside recycling program, look for alternative ways to reuse and recycle those items. Many animal shelters, for instance, accept donations of old newspapers that they then use to line and clean cages. By the time you are done, you may find that just about all the waste you generate can be recycled in one way or another.
You can further reduce the amount of waste you generate by installing household composting bins to recycle food waste. Compost bins do not have to be huge unsightly lumps in the back yard – kitchen versions are small, compact and easy to use. Best of all, you will have rich compost for your garden for free.
Helping the environment is something we can all do every day. Building the three concepts of reduce, reuse and recycle into your everyday life is one of the best ways to make a difference and be a more environmentally responsible citizen of the earth.
Northwest Plastics Ltd.
As a Certified ISO:9001 company, we are committed to the community we live in, work in, and love in BC’s lower mainland. Part of that commitment is to protect the environment, and to make socially responsible decisions in the way we run our business. We work hard to reduce the environmental impact of our company and we are working with our neighbours to do the same. It’s a win-win scenario.