Reducing the amount of waste you create is a huge part of living a more sustainable, environmentally-conscious lifestyle. According to the National Recycling Coalition, the average person generates 4.4 pounds of garbage every single day! This is expected to grow to 4.8 pounds per person per day by the year 2010. By reducing the amount of garbage you produce, you are saving in disposal and cleanup costs (both economic and environmental) that would otherwise be faced in the future!
Try these tips while you're shopping to reduce the amount of waste you'll create:
- Make a list of items you really need. This way, you can discourage unnecessary impulse buying!
- Bring your own reusable bags for shopping. Using your own bags cuts down on the waste of energy and natural resources used to make plastic bags. Some stores even give discounts to customers who bring their own bags!
- Research the efficiency of larger purchases. Try Energy Star for information on the energy efficiency, reliability and durability of products like refrigerators, stoves, TVs, or cars. Don't forget to check warranties, repair services, and availability of parts/accessories. Well made products save money in the long run! Also, try to use rechargeable items and batteries, rather than disposable ones (which will also save you money!)
- Maintain and repair what you buy. Try not to just dispose of and replace products that have broken down - this uses way more energy and resources than necessary. Instead, try checking the Yellow Pages to find businesses that repair and service various products.
- Try renting items you only use occasionally. Things like power tools, landscaping equipment, boats, formal wear, computers, and carpet cleaners can be rented through places like Zilok, which will save resources AND your money!
- Buy products with less packaging.
- Buy the largest size of nonperishable items you use regularly. Larger sizes use less packaging per product and usually cost less, too!
- Buy products in concentrated form. Concentrated frozen juices, fabric softeners, clothing detergents, and household cleaners cut down on packaging, and you'll get more for your money.
- Buy products made of or packaged in recycled materials. Buying recycled goods gives more incentive to manufacturers to use (and pay for) recycled materials - this means you're creating a market for the things that you recycle at home! Check out our rebuying page for more information on this.
- Buy non-toxic products. Reducing the toxicity of the products you use will benefit both your health and the environment. Check out local sources of green products here.