In Part 1 I wrote about the importance of recycling. There is more to taking care of our planet than just recycling though.
Nothing bothers me more when it comes to "green living", than someone who ONLY recycles but doesn't reduce or reuse. These people in my mind are just doing it as a fad, or to "look good".
The idea of recycling is to reduce the amount of trash going in landfills. However, if we are not reducing the amount of waste we are creating in general, then we are still generating a ton of waste, whether it gets recycled or not.
Reusing things just makes common sense.
Here are some ways that you can reduce your consumption and reuse things :
- Adopt a clean foods diet, this naturally produces less packaging and makes less waste. Broccoli doesn't come in a box ;) Drinking soda and eating cereal not to mention eating everything out of a box or a can creates a lot of waste. Not everything is recyclable, so it is smart to buy things with less packaging.
- Use reusable shopping bags when going to the store. However, only buy the number you need. Some people again go overboard and buy too many "just in case". Buy what you need as you need it.
- If you are using paper towels, only use them when you actually need them, and if you don't need them, then consider switching to reusable towels like the "un-paper towel".
- Cloth diapers. Disposable diapers make so much waste and do not biodegrade well. It takes hundreds of years for a disposable diaper to biodegrade in a landfill. Cloth diapers help with reducing this waste.
- Buy second hand. Whether it is clothes or baby toys, you can find a lot of great things at second hand stores! You can save money while you are at it!
- Make your own beauty products. Beauty product packaging creates a lot of waste, not to mention the harmful chemicals that many contain. If you do buy beauty products, opt for natural brands made in recycled or recyclable packaging.
- Avoid bottled water. Get a reusable water bottle and use that instead.
- Keurig style coffee makers ( and others like it) with those cups create a lot of waste. If you have one, consider switching to a Cafe cup that you can refill with your own coffee. Or get a coffee maker that takes regular coffee instead of a special kind. Avoid filters if you can by getting a reusable kind.
- Avoid fast food and take out. These often times come in styrofoam containers or non-recyclable containers, not to mention generate un-needed waste. In addition, it takes gasoline to drive there and back home. Avoiding fast food is also better for your health as many fast food and regular restaurant foods can contain chemicals and MSG which are not good for you or the environment.
There are many things you can do to reduce and reuse.
What do you do to reduce and reuse?
The key to reducing is avoiding overconsumption. "Pack rats" are huge culprits of waste and overconsumption. If you have a bunch of stuff in your home you are not using, donate it to someone who can use it. When cleaning out your home, remember to recycle things that can be recycled.
If you find household cleaners that are not eco-friendly ( like bleach) then collect those and take them to the hazardous waste disposal site for the area you live.
Reusing is a big deal. The more you can reuse the better. Dish towels, cloth diapers, reusable shopping bags, etc... all help to keep waste out of the trash cans and landfills.
It takes energy to make new items, so if you arerecycling, good for you. However if you are only recycling ( or not at all) but are still overconsuming like a lot of people are, then you are still contributing to the problem.
In our home we reuse the rubber bands off of the broccoli stems, the glass jars from our spaghetti sauce, we use cloth diapers. We also use castile soap that can be diluted into foaming pumps, which reduces packaging. We do a lot more. We reduce energy usage by hanging our clothes to dry instead of using the dryer, and avoid the use of things like the microwave whenever possible.
A lot of this is just plain common sense.
There is so much you can do. Just take a look around you. See where your waste is, and take measures to correct it.
Be Happy Healthy & Strong,