Reducing and Reusing are Totally Do-able - 3 Simple Things YOU Can Do!
“Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” A mantra most of us know and many of us live by. While the 3 R’s are all great ways to be model environmental stewards, reducing and reusing are paramount when it comes to doing what is best to preserve energy and resources on our precious planet. If those prove to not be options, then into the recycling bin it goes. But the great thing about the first two R’s is that there are countless ways we can accomplish them! Here are a few changes anyone can make to their daily habits to earn an E for “Effort” when it comes to reducing and reusing.
1) Take a pass on produce bags (reduce). On average, 1 million plastic bags are used every minute worldwide, and a single plastic bag can take 1,000 years to biodegrade. Every bag you pass up on when shopping, be it a grocery bag at checkout or a produce bag, is one less bag requiring resources to be recycled. When shopping, I bring along a reusable grocery bag just to place my produce in or I just put it directly in my cart. For delicate items, like peaches, or multiples, like green beans, I put them in a brown paper bag that I can compost back home. If you are worried about contamination from the conveyor belt at check out, just place your hand basket or reusable bag of produce directly on the belt or hand it to the cashier. Once you get out of the habit of putting every little bit of produce in a plastic bag, you’ll be surprised at how unnecessary they are in many cases!
2) B.Y.O.C: Bring Your Own Container (reuse). Before heading out the door to go pick up some grub from your favorite food joint, bring along a food storage container in case you have any leftovers. Reusing a container instead of requiring a new one preserves the “embodied energy” that was originally used to manufacture a container. One pint yogurt tubs or butter containers are perfect for take-out and leftovers.
3) Compost your kitchen scraps (reduce). In my household, I have noticed a serious decrease in the amount of plastic trash bags we need to buy since we started composting everything we possibly can. We have so much less trash to throw out at the end of the week! And composting doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The compost pile at my house is literally a big pile behind the shed on the back of our property. Even if the compost doesn’t get used, you’re still returning nutrients to the ground and allowing bugs and wildlife to feast on them instead of them being wasted in a landfill. While seemingly small, these three simple actions pack a big punch when it comes to practicing the three R’s!