According to GreenWaste, the average person generates 4.5 pounds of trash per day – that's 1.5 tons per year per person. The really baffling part of that number to me is that approximately 45% of our waste generated per year could have been recycled! I know personally that the initial thought of adding extra work to my everyday life seemed daunting, but the fact is, taking an extra minute to change my original course of action makes a huge impact for us all.
I'm lucky enough to work in a place where Green Mission is ingrained in our everyday actions so carrying over good habits hasn't been all that challenging thanks to the lessons I've learned at Whole Foods Market after I decided a good starting point for myself. Below are a few of the tricks I've adopted at home and links to resources that helped me to change my behavior.
Recycle! – By now most Columbus-area residents have been armed with a beautiful blue bin to act as a companion to your big green trash can, use it! The City of Columbus makes recycling super user friendly, it doesn't cost anything and they have all of the information one could possibly need to get started available online.
Go paperless – Most utility companies make it easy to receive bills by email rather than snail mail, so I cancelled the paper copies. The added benefit was that I rid my home of little stacks of mail piled up all over. The EPA also has a number of tips to go paperless and to stop receiving unsolicited mail such as credit card offers.
Plan meals – Not only is this cost efficient, but planning meals also helps me to know what ingredients I'll have on hand so I try to plan to use all of them instead of tossing away perfectly good food. 21.5 million tons of food waste is thrown out every year according to GreenWaste – think about the dollars and cents of that. This one is my favorite because it also helps me plan delicious and nutritious meals!
I like to use Earth Day as a way each year to get me thinking about little ways I can change my normal routine to be friendlier to my environment and fellow humans. This year, I'm proud to have joined a community garden in my neighborhood which will give me the opportunity to grow local, organic produce to can, freeze and eat fresh. Plus, we are also adding a compost bucket next to our recycle bin in the kitchen. Our goal is to reduce the amount of trash our family creates from two bags per month to under one.
What kinds of small steps and little changes will you take this Earth Day to love the Earth?
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