Each of us generate waste through practically everything we do, at an average rate of 4.51 pounds per day, according to the EPA (2017). Through the three R’s, reduce, reuse, and recycle, that number can be greatly reduced. Today we challenge you to think of ways you can reduce and reuse BEFORE you recycle.
Recycling tips in celebration of Earth Day
By Cecilia Wilborn, Recycling Program Manager
The 50th Anniversary of Earth Day provides us with the perfect time to evaluate what actions we have taken to better the natural world and make plans for further actions we can take. There are opportunities for change with the things we do every day. Each of us generates an average of 4.51 pounds of waste per day, according to the EPA (2017). Through the three R’s, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle, that number can be greatly reduced.
First, focus on ways to reduce waste generation. Among some ideas for reducing waste:
- Purchase the proper amounts of perishable food
- Repair items rather than purchasing a replacement
- Select products with less packaging, including purchasing in bulk rather than individually packaged items
In my home, one of my favorite reduction actions I have taken is making my own cleaning products. Not only does it reduce our household’s waste, it also reduces chemical exposure for us and our pets, and I get to select my favorite scents for some of the recipes (hello, Lemongrass). If you don’t wish to make your own products, another option is refilling your own containers with household products at Soap KC.
The second tier of the waste hierarchy is reuse. Rather than purchasing something new, or using a disposable item, you can choose to reuse. Before going to a department store for new clothes or household goods, check a thrift store first for a gently-used version. Instead of buying a single-use bottle of water, carry a reusable bottle or canteen. The idea of reuse has really grown in the past few years, with more options than ever for reusable items, like straws, mesh produce bags, collapsible food containers for your meal leftovers, and many more.
Finally, the third tier of the waste hierarchy is recycle. Much of the waste you produce after you go through the steps of reducing and reusing, can be recycled. There are the standard items most people are familiar with, like cardboard, plastic containers, and aluminum cans. For items that are not part of your everyday waste, get in the habit of checking for a recycling option before putting it in the trash. For our area, you can input your item and location at Recyclespot.org to search for a better disposal option.
Have you thought about recycling your food waste? Uneaten food makes up a considerable amount of waste, particularly by weight, which can be recycled through composting. You can compost at home or use a curbside collection service.
These ideas just scratch the surface, but I hope they provoke some thought of where you can apply the three R’s to your waste stream to reduce that waste statistic!
Happy Earth Day!
Today we shine a light on our Community Recycling Center volunteers in honor of #NationalVolunteerWeek. In the heat and snow, 52 weeks a year, these volunteers help Kansas City recycle better. #NVW2020 #volunteerBTG #KCrecycles
Bridging The Gap and local partner organizations share 50 ways you can celebrate 50 years of Earth Day while you #StayHomeKC!
Celebrate 50 years of Earth Day with a gift to Bridging The Gap and help protect KC’s natural environment for 50 more! Donate to BTG