By Sam Radbil, Guest Blogger
Americans create more than 250 million U.S. tons of trash every year — for reference, the RMS Titanic weighed just 50,700 U.S. tons. That means U.S. citizens are throwing out the equivalent of nearly 5,000 Titanics annually.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that translates to about 4.4 pounds per person per day — surprisingly the lowest per-person rate since the 1980s. However, there are a lot more people today, so trash is still on the rise. With no end in sight to population growth, it’s time to reassess our own homes and to cut down on waste where we can. Try these tips:
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It’s the golden rule of conservation. We’ve been hearing it since childhood, but have we been following it? Start small by reusing plastic bags — which are beginning to face citywide bans — instead of chucking them in the garbage. Recycle your cans, bottles, boxes, papers, and old electronics. Learn about local curbside recycling programs, and find solutions for hard-to-recycle materials at earth911.com. The U.S. recycling rate has increased to 34%, up from 10% in the 1980s, but nearly 80% of household waste is recyclable! You can also recycle food by setting up a simple compost bin that can benefit your garden while keeping trash out of landfills.
Buy In Bulk
Less packaging means less waste. Instead of getting little pre-portioned containers of applesauce or yogurt, get a big jug of the stuff and separate it into glass jars yourself. The same goes for toilet paper, soap, laundry detergent, paper towel, shampoo, and any other item that can be purchased in larger containers with less packaging.
Deciding your meals ahead of time allows you to buy only the groceries you need and to use them up properly before they expire. Instead of running to the store to peruse the options, look in your refrigerator first and use those ingredients to decide your next meal. Making a conscious effort here saves you money and it keeps food waste out of landfills.
If your vacuum sucks at sucking, don’t just toss it to the curb to buy that new Dyson. Instead, clean out its filters, check for clogs, clear off the roller, and see if it needs a belt replaced. Electronics, furniture, appliances all can be repaired for less than the replacement costs. If you’re desperately craving an upgrade, sell your repaired used item instead of sending it to the landfill.
Sam Radbil, contributing member of the marketing and communications team at ABODO apartments, is a guest blogger who frequently covers housing-related issues, including advice to help people find their best city.