DENVER -- — 90% of Americans believe recycling is the bare minimum they can do for the environment. And they are right. To really make a dent in our massive waste problem, nationally and here in Colorado, we need to do more than recycle. We also need to get serious about the first two words in the well-known mantra “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.”
Putting a little extra thought into your buying and consumption habits can eliminate a good amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. Here are four things you can start doing today to make a change:
- Steer clear of single-use plastic. Water bottles, yogurt containers, individually wrapped snacks. Most plastics at the grocery store are just pollution waiting to happen. If you must purchase single-use items, look for products that are packaged in easy-to-recycle glass or cardboard.
- Always use your own bags. Americans toss an estimated 100 billion plastic bags annually. Add a reusable bag to your regular routine, and you can save 307 bags in a year.
- Shop, and sell, secondhand. When it comes to clothes, furniture, or even electronics, consider giving used items a few more trips around the sun. Selling clothes and furniture online benefits you financially and keeps the items out of the landfill. And don’t forget, you can always donate your used items to a good cause!
- Make a plan. Almost every lifestyle change starts with a good plan, whether you’re trying to lose weight, learn a new skill, or reduce your environmental footprint. Taking a little extra time to research the items you want versus those you truly need can help you minimize your consumption. What’s more, minimizing what you buy and consume can save you some dough.
Reducing our consumption won’t happen overnight. In the meantime, it’s also important to recycle everything you can. Here are a few tips to get you on the road to recycling:
- Know before you throw. Take a moment to learn the specific rules for your local community’s recycling program. Recycling streams can easily become contaminated by people who don’t follow guidelines. Never bag recyclables or put items into the bin that are not accepted.
- Set yourself up for success. The rules for how to recycle vary by community. Some communities allow you to mix your recyclables together; other communities require you to separate your recyclable items. Knowing those rules will help you correctly recycle.
- Rinse it first. Putting just one food-crusted container into the recycling bin can contaminate the entire load. So, remember to empty your containers first and give them a good rinse before putting them empty into the bin.
Take the recycling pledge to help Erase the Waste in Colorado: Go to https://www.erasethewasteco.com/