Going green has become a very hot topic and for good reason. Some of fuel driving this topic forward is talk about global warming, excess waste, and the depletion of natural resources. Even though these are big issues, even the smallest of steps can have a huge impact on the eco-system. Here in Gwinnett County Georgia we are working to educate or residents on Green topics.
Waste Creation and Reduction Facts
There are over 100 million homes in the United States and about 400 thousand tons are waste are produced each year in the US. Since over 75 percent of waste is recyclable, if each home recycled 10 percent more of their waste than they do now, 40 thousand tons of waste would be saved each year.
Recycling at Home
Recycling is the most common way for reducing waste and can be easy to do at home. Several states and cities have a recycling program in place and all it takes is requesting a recycling bin. Go to the specific state’s recycling website to see how to get a recycling bin for the home. Not all states and cities provide curbside pickup. There are many different kinds of recycling programs.
Here are some examples of products frequently used in the home that are and are not recyclable. Note that this list differs in different ares.
- Paper towel rolls
- Toilet paper rolls
- Plastic food containers
- Cardboard boxes
- Anything with the recycle symbol
- Notebooks and printer paper
- Paper grocery bags
- Paper towels
- Toilet paper
- Paper food containers
- Pizza boxes
- Wax paper and glossy paper
- Caps to bottle containers
- Plastic grocery bags
Reducing Waste at Home
Reducing waste is another great way to minimize the harmful effects excess waste has on the earth. Buying products with less packaging is a creative way to reduce waste. An example of this is buying a two liter bottle of soda instead of a six pack. When it comes to junk mail, unsubscribe to unwanted mail so there is less paper being sent out. This creates less waste on time and resources.
Plastic Bag Consumption and Solutions
Plastic grocery bags are another huge waste problem. The Wall Street Journal reported that the US uses 100 billion plastic shopping bags per year which takes 12 million barrels of oil to produce. Reduce grocery bag waste by bringing reusable bags to the grocery store.
Reusing Products at Home
Reusing products can be a resourceful way to reduce waste and save money. Reusing those plastic grocery bags is an original way to reuse products. These bags can be used in a number of ways like lining small garbage bags in bathrooms, holding wet clothes after a day at the pool, holding dirty clothes after a vacation, or carrying food and drinks to a party or barbeque.
Plastic food containers, such as soft serve butter containers, can always be washed out and used as food storage containers instead of buying more plastic containers. A more creative way to reuse household items is keeping envelopes sent inside unwanted junk mail. These will reduce having to buy more envelopes.
Composting at Home
Once those groceries are cooked and eaten, start a compost pile for the food waste. Decomposing food is great for replenishing nutrients in soil and a huge loss of resources if it is not recycled. When food waste is put into plastic garbage bags, it will never decompose and that natural soil nutrient will be lost forever.
Recycling, Reducing, and Reusing Goods at Home
Implementing these easy and useful tips at home can make a big impact on the amount of waste produced each year. Composting can revitalize soil instead of throwing the food in the trash where it will never decompose. Reusing plastic grocery bags or not getting those at all will cut down on the amount of landfill waste and save millions of barrels of oil each year.
Here is a list on other easy ideas for cutting down on waste of all kinds in the home:
- Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used
- Take shorter showers to reduce water waste
- Keep the A/C on 78 in the summer and the heater on 68 in the winter
- Wash only full loads of laundry
- Wash only full loads of dishes
- Sweep instead of vacuuming
- Put a sweater on instead of running the heat
- Don’t let the water run when washing hands or brushing teeth
- Only take out the trash when the bag is full
- Turn off TVs when not in use
- Use environmentally friendly cleaning products
Green In Gwinnett Area – Keeping Gwinnett Green and Sustainable