Waste & Recycling

Waste and Recycling

Waste is a manmade creation.  Nature wastes nothing.  Unfortunately, in America, the post-depression frugality of our grandparents has given way to the post-industrial conspicuous consumption of our children (with a little help from the media).  Add in technological advances in plastics, and we have a 'throw away' society, that is consuming the earth's finite resources at an alarming rate.  The waste created by the extraction, production, and distribution of all this "stuff," is turning our communities, and our oceans, into toxic dumps.

Learn It

In the past thirty years, worldwide garbage output has exploded, doubling in the United states.  The average american throws away 4.5 pounds of trash per day– that is 1,600 pounds per year!  An estimated 80% of U.S. products are used once, then thrown away.

But of course, there is no ‘away,’ and the vast majority of these items become toxic trash, ending up in places like the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in our air, soil, and ultimately, our bodies.  Annie Leonard’s  “The Story of Stuff” tells the whole story in a smart, short, animated video, that will change the way you think about your “stuff.”

What can we do?

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Read our fave blog post on this topic

Decreasing Plastic Is A Win-Win-Win

Check out this Tedx talk from Beth Terry.  In 2007 she committed to not buying any new plastic, and she has come pretty darn close.  She has a website where she chronicles her efforts.  Her talk is moving in many ways, most of all in its explanation of why her individual act matters. Continue reading

Live It

Top ten tips for reducing your waste

1. Refuse to buy ‘single use’ items, such as single serving plastic bottles, plastic bags, or aluminum cans.  If you must buy them, make sure they make it into the recycling stream when you dispose of them.

2. Consume less.  Buy gently used, recycled or upcycled items whenever possible.  Fix things instead of replacing them.  Buy quality things that will last.

3.  Simplify your holidays.

4.  Compost your table scraps and yard waste.

5.  Bring your own bags to the grocery store (or whenever you’re shopping!)

6.  Recycle everything..... especially glass, plastic, aluminum, cardboard, and paper.

7.  Reduce your paper waste.  Get off junk mail lists.  Choose online paperless options for news and information, bills, banking, and correspondence.

8.  Avoid buying things (laundry soap, grocery items) that are packaged in plastic.  Opt instead for the glass or cardboard alternative.  Check out how  Beth Terry lives without plastic.

9.  Buy what you can in bulk, and bring your own containers.

10. Examine your garbage, and see where you can reduce by refusing to buy things that are over-packaged, or making your own.  Let companies know when their products are over-packaged.


Find It

Waste Reduction and Recycling Resources