A new year is here, and it’s time to not only make resolutions, but to put them into action. Whether you want to start composting or hosting green events, there are plenty of resources to help you accomplish your green goals. A huge way to move your lifestyle in a greener direction is to dedicate yourself to living a less-waste lifestyle. Use the 3 Rs and a little planning to cut down on how much waste you create.
Less is More! Choose an Item to Reduce
Think about an item that you know you get too much of and hope to reduce, and consider the alternatives. Or maybe you have an item that commonly ends up in the garbage that you know shouldn’t. Create a plan to keep that item out of the garbage by reducing or recycling. Whatever item you choose, make a plan and stick with it!
Here’s an idea:
Item: Plastic Shopping Bags
Problem: They can’t go in the recycling bin because they cause problems at recycling sorting facilities. But there are recycling options available to keep them out of the garbage.
Solution: Purchase some durable reusable bags and get rid of the need for plastic bags altogether.
For the bags you do get, collect them separately and bring them to drop-off locations to be recycled, or find ways to reuse them.
The Less You Have
The first step in creating waste is allowing something in your house in the first place. Consider ways to avoid, refuse and reduce. Resources on reduce.org can help with a number of different items. Changes like preventing food waste, reducing the number of toxins in your home, and removing yourself from junk mail lists will keep a lot of potential waste from ever entering your house. There are ways to make less trash, like carrying a reusable set of utensils, using cloth rags instead of paper-based towels, or making your own cleaning solutions, that can have a substantial impact.
Take Your Own Zero Waste Challenge
A zero waste lifestyle may seem intimidating, but it’s more achievable than you think. Start with a small 30 day challenge and keep track of what works for you. Using reusable shopping bags and buying from the bulk bins are great ways to cutdown on waste from shopping.
Move towards your goals and make sure that your efforts are having an effect. Here are some steps to look at when identifying your next move:
- What’s your target? – Will you eliminate a specific item or add more drop-off items?
- What do you need? – Do you need any extra supplies or time set aside to accomplish this?
- How long do you need? –When do you expect to see results?
- How will you evaluate your goal? – Results may be very visible, consider before and after photos. Is your garbage can less full?
- What if it works? – Be proud of your accomplishments and celebrate your achievements!
Remember that less waste acquired means less waste to toss. Know What to Throw to make sure you recycle everything you can while reducing the size of your garbage can.
Moving Towards 75 Percent
The state of Minnesota has set a goal of 75 percent recycling by 2030. The current recycling rate is about 47 percent, so there’s more work to be done! Use your plan to reduce as a springboard into greening even more in your home. Get some tips on how to improve your recycling and use your county resources to get the most out of your recycling program while reducing the non-recyclable items you end up with.