Zero-waste Week is a great time to reevaluate the amount of waste you create week-to-week. Going totally zero-waste is no small feat, but we've got some good tips here to get your feet wet.
Stop Junk Mail
One easy way to begin going green and reduce waste is stop receiving junk mail. The amount of destruction and waste created by junk mail is overwhelming: “More than 100 million trees are destroyed each year to produce junk mail. Creating and shipping junk mail produces more greenhouse gas emissions than 9 million cars. The average adult receives 41 pounds of junk mail each year. 44% goes to the landfill unopened.” Visit Drowning in Mail for some great tips on how to stop unwanted junk mail (and how to re-use prepaid envelopes!).
Reusable Carrier Bags Instead of Plastic
Plastic bags are a huge contributor to world-wide pollution. Under the very best circumstances, plastic bags take over 20 years to degrade and only .5% - 3% end up recycled, leaving the rest to go into landfills, blow along the sides of streets and find their way into our oceans and water-ways harming our natural resources and wildlife. Bringing your own re-useable carrier bag is an easy solution to this big problem. Ecobags has a wide variety of carrier bags including alternatives for produce and bulk bags.
Switch to Reusable Products
When using single-serving and disposable products, the average American family produces 3,240 pieces of trash annually JUST AT LUNCH! Why not switch to reusable containers and products? ECOlunchbox has designed reusable, plastic-free lunchware and food storage containers to help eliminate this waste. Not only does it help eliminate plastic consumption, it helps save money by reusing products instead of purchase-consume-and throw-away. A huge amount of our disposable products end up in our oceans. This harms our eco-system and generates big expenses to clean up the mess. You can eliminate plastic use with alternative products such as glass straws by Glass Dharma and Bee’s Wrap instead of plastic wrap.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... your Clothes
Yes, we’ve all heard this time and time again, but have you considered the environmental impact of that new clothing purchase? How far did that item travel to get to the store? What is it made from? (polyester is a petroleum product) And what are you going to do with it when you’re tired of it? “The average US citizen throws away 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles annually.” So try mending a sweater before giving up on it. When you are finished with something, donate it and give someone else the opportunity to love it. Also, don’t buy new. Tons of clothing and textiles are available second-hand from various sources and at greatly reduced cost. Schoola is a great resource for clothes and a percentage of their proceeds goes directly back to schools! It’s a win win! For more information on textile waste and recycling http://www.weardonaterecycle.org/
“If every American household used eBills and online bill pay, it could reduce solid waste in U.S. landfills by more than 800,000 tons a year and help curb the release of greenhouse gases by 2.1 million tons, according to Javelin Strategy and Research. This could also save an estimated 18.5 million trees a year!” What an easy way to do so much! Reduce your paper consumption and pay your bills on-line!