The average American produces 4.5 pounds of trash each day, per person, according to the U.S. EPA. Consumers spend an average of $1 per every $11 spent on product packaging, and approximately 60% of that waste ends up in landfills. Recycling helps, but a better solution is to reduce the amount of waste that is thrown away or recycled by reusing and reducing waste.
Not long ago I visited my friend who had recently purchased an apartment. She was setting up a box garden on her patio when I arrived. She invited me to sit outside while she finished up. While chatting with her, I couldn't help but notice the pile of orange peels, banana peels, apple cores, and other assorted items in a bin located towards the back corner of the patio. It turned out this was her attempt at a compost pile. She explained that she was looking for some creative ways to recycle some of her used food items. I was impressed! But that wasn't all…
My friend actually had planted a variety of plants in what appeared to be reused plastic milk jugs. She even had planted a small flower in what appeared to be an old sneaker! It was charming, albeit a bit eccentric. After speaking to her at length about this, I realized that she was really doing her best to recycle and reuse things that otherwise would have been thrown in the garbage. Naturally there's a limit to what a person can do, but collectively, if we all did a little bit more of this we could really help improve the environment we all share.
Here are some quick tips if you're interested in recycling and reusing various items that you'd otherwise throw out:
1) Start by making sure you're recycling everything that is required to be recycled by your community. This will typically include newspaper, cardboard, and many different types of cans and glass bottles.
2) When you're done cooking a meal, see if there are leftover scraps that would be suitable for a compost pile. You can then use the compost to help nourish your garden.
3) Instead of automatically discarding household appliances to make room for newer models, consider donating your old appliances to a worthy charity. Many of these appliances will then be given to those in need.
To the extent you follow through and make an effort to recycle the things that need to be recycled and allow others to reuse your unwanted good, you will not only be helping the environment but also helping those who are in need. It's the ultimate win-win situation!
Suzanne Bucciarelli is the owner of Green Living Ezine and writes articles and tips on how to save money and go green at the same time. Read Over 125 Ways to Go Green and Save Money at Green Living Ezine.