How Can You Reduce Holiday Waste?

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Last year I did a series on reducing waste over the holidays. Read it here  Maybe just do one thing different this year.

Below is from the Minnesota Pollution Control:

Holiday waste

The presents have been opened and the festivities are over. What’s to be done with all the stuff and waste that’s left? Are there eco-friendly ways to keep it out of the trash?

A lot, and you bet!

The EPA reports that garbage increases 25% between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, and it’s not hard to see why. Drive down any street or alley in late December or early January and you’re likely to see trash bins and bags overflowing with holiday waste. Some of these materials have potential value, which can be lost when they hit the waste stream.

Even if your holidays weren’t  the “greenest” on the block, there’s still time afterwards to engage the 5 R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle, and Rethink.

https://www.pca.state.mn.us/ Living Green 365

Before you toss, ask yourself these questions:
•If broken, can it be fixed?

•Is it reusable or recyclable?
•Can it be upcycled into something of value?

A Man Wears His Trash

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid.
Bring you own bag
Bring you own bag

Enjoy this video, as an individual makes a statement on our consumerism. Each American(USA) consumes 4 1/2 pounds of trash a day.  As I shop at grocery stores and Menards, I am overwhelmed by the amount of packaging and waste that goes into our purchases.

What can you do to reduce that 4 1/2 pounds a day?   I have just returned from a bus zero waste food coop shopping trip, filling my own bottles, and using only packaging that can be composted(paper not plastic).  I work everyday to be a climatarian. You don’t need to be as extreme as I am, just become aware! How can we consume less?

Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags
Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!

 

Backyard Compost Collection
Backyard Compost Collection

 

Our Plastic Life is Sad

Plastic bottles on the way to the Agean Sea
A river of plastic bottles on the way to the Aegean Sea

A recent study by the Ellen Mac Arthur Foundation has found that by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.  This is a terrible man-made crisis, and not enough is being done to stop the cascade of plastic.  Everyone of us needs to take personal responsibility to reduce our plastic consumption. The plastic industry is unchecked, and never should such a nuisance product been put into society without a plan to clean up or reuse.   We are stuck with plastic, but we can all reduce the amount of plastic we use today and every day from now on.  Especially think carefully before you purchase a plastic tubes that cannot be recycled. There is too much information in this post, but I hope you can find one thing below to help you to reduce your plastic consumption!

http://onegreenplanet.org/crushplastic

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/stunning-infographic-shows-how-our-plastic-habit-impacts-the-ocean-and-marine-animals/

12packwaterbottles

14 Ways You Can #CrushPlastic in Your Daily Life

  1. Carry a spare canvas bag for groceries or small items you might purchase throughout your day.
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle instead of buying a plastic one.
  3. Take a mug with you to work or class and ditch the plastic cups.
  4. Say no to plastic straws and utensils when eating out and bring your own stainless steel reusable ones.
  5. Use mason jars when grocery shopping to store all your bulk food items.
  6. Use cloth or reusable bags instead of produce bags when food shopping.
  7. Replace your plastic food storage bags with stainless steel tins or mason jars.
  8. DIY your own cosmetics instead of buying ones in plastic tubes. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-beauty/
  9. Reduce plastic packaging in your cleaning routine by making your own natural cleaners. http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-cleaning/
  10. Avoid microbeads in your exfoliating face or body wash.
  11. Try DIY-ing your shampoo and conditioner instead of buying plastic bottles.
  12. Switch to bar soap and shampoo to avoid plastic packaging.
  13. Skip the plastic tube toothpaste and make your own! http://www.onegreenplanet.org/lifestyle/ultimate-guide-to-diy-hygiene/
  14. Buy plastic-free beauty, hygiene, and cleaning products, like bamboo toothbrushes, plastic-free makeup brushes and natural material sponges.

https://health4earth.com/2015/05/05/surprising-things-about-plastic/

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/environment/people-who-prove-that-living-plastic-free-is-possible/

http://ecowatch.com/2016/01/20/more-plastic-than-fish-in-ocean/?utm_source=EcoWatch+List&utm_campaign=137ca14cc3-Top_News_1_24_2016&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_49c7d43dc9-137ca14cc3-85912169

America Recycles Day

wpid-20150822_121411.jpgNovember 15 is America Recycles Day!  I am pleased how recycling has changed and awareness has increased over the past 2 years.  With the advent of the big blue one-sort containers many more people and communities are participating.  Even parks are adding containers to collect recyclables!

Of course with more recycling comes new problems.  Plastic bags are terrible problem when placed with your recyclables. NEVER put plastic bags in your one-sort container.  See the story below:

http://www.startribune.com/recycling-or-wish-cycling-materials-to-stop-tossing-in-the-big-blue-bins/329264261/

http://americarecyclesday.org/

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

I am taking a different twist on America Recycles Day. Reuse is a higher step up from recycling. How can you reduce your plastic use? Plastic bag and bottle manufacturers make millions of dollars in profits from a product that is harmful to our waterways and wildlife. They need to take responsibility for the terrible waste they have created. How can you reuse your bags and refill some of those plastic bottles for reuse?

Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles
Some co-ops and grocery stores have fabulous selections of soaps and oils to refill your bottles
  1. Look for refill centers.

3. Use your own refillable water bottle.

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with water or other liquid

 

 

4. Easiest of all: Bring your own reusable shopping bags shopping with you!

Shopping bags made from recycled plasstic
Shopping bags made from recycled plastic

 

 

 

 

 

http://americarecyclesday.org/

https://health4earth.com/recycling-garbage-is-a-terrrible-thing-to-waste/

http://www.earth911.com/home-garden/top-5-items-recycle-bathroom/#

Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!
Please recycle plastic bags at grocery stores!

 

 

 

Precycle as You Shop #TalkingTrashTuesday

Bulk Items
Bulk Items

What is precycling?

Definition of precycle: To make purchasing decisions that will reduce the need to recycle or throw into the landfill trash. You precycle so there is less trash to throw away.

Today I was at my local coop refilling my containers, reusing my produce bags, and reusing egg cartons for bulk eggs. #BuyBulk

My 5 ideas for precycling are first, and then five from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green

First, always bring your reusable bags.

Shop with your reusab;e bags
Shop with your reusable bags

Second, choose products that use minimal packaging.

Third, carry your own reuseable water bottle, choose glass over plastic, and reuse glass containers and jars

Fourth, Bulk purchases allow you to purchase the amount you need. I fill my reusable containers with nuts, spices, oatmeal, tea, grains, beans, eggs, and soaps. Whole Foods and coops have recyclable/compostable brown paper bags for bulk items. Placing your bulk items in a “one use” plastic bag negates the environmental advantage of bulk purchases.

Fifth, use washable reusable cloth bags for produce purchases. Avoid products on Styrofoam trays wrapped in plastic film. If you purchase meat or fish, ask for a compostable wrapping.

Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions to refill your bottles

Below are ideas from David Suzuki’s Queen of Green and what prompted me to do this post.  She has great ideas below to reduce our waste:

Five tips to recycle less http://www.davidsuzuki.org/blogs/queen-of-green/2015/03/five-ways-to-recycle-less/

Tip one: Shop smarter. Beware of excess packaging from all consumer goods — food, personal care products and electronics, even organic, local, non-toxic and GMO-free stuff.

Tip two: Never recycle another glass jar!

Tip three: Reduce is the first “R”.

It’s time for a plastic diet! Buy fewer prepared foods, buy in bulk and pack waste-free lunches.

Tip four: Make your own cleaners.

Tip five: Fix it.

http://www.trashisfortossers.com/   A young woman who has adapted a zero waste life.

31 days of Reducing Trash and Waste

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

We can all do something about this tremendous influx of trash and I will be posting ideas for 31 days on how to reduce trash and waste:

Day 31, Set new goals to help the environment for the new year. Suggestions: Be more vigilant about recycling, start a compost bin, recycle all shampoo and cosmetic plastic, use less chemicals, and make a commitment to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth.recycle

Day 30, Recycle, recycle, recycle Instead of throwing everything in the landfill trash recycle all plastic including plastic wrap and bags.  Many communities recycle wrapping paper without glitter.  Compost your food waste, and re-gift(give to someone who would enjoy) any gift you will not use. Take your electronics to Best Buy for recycling.

Day 29, Never purchase or use Styrofoam.  Styrofoam breaks down in tiny pieces and much of it ends up in our waterways lasting for hundreds of years.  Complain to businesses that still use Styrofoam food take-out container or cups, and bring your own container.

Never use Styrofoam
Never use Styrofoam

Day 28, More on reusable wrappings.  This is a great list from earth911.com  http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/reusable-gift-wrap-ideas/?mc_cid=41d9271137&mc_eid=9f2a2b2b71

Gifts in reusable shopping bags
Gifts in reusable shopping bags

Day 27, Use gift wrapping that can be reused or recycled.

My husband's gift wrapping
My husband’s gift wrapping

Day 26, Reduce the amount of paper towels you use.  Use real towels and always

Made from recycled materials
Made from recycled materials

purchase paper towels from recycled materials.

Day 25, last minute, easy gift ideas from the Minnesota Pollution Control:

Lessons. A lot of people would like to try new things, but won’t spend the money on themselves. A gift certificate might be just the item for someone who would like to begin a new hobby or polish the skills they have already learned. Perhaps you have can even teach them one of your special talents, like how to cook a family recipe.

Time and energy.  Friends or relatives may value help with snow shoveling, vacuuming, or organizing as a gift. Try our downloadable gift certificates as a way to present your gift.

Reused items. Many gifts can be purchased second-hand. Look at Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse directory and ReUse Minnesota for a list of shops. To help you find the perfect present,  choose a shop that specializes in one type of reuse, like kids stuff or sports gear.

Hand made or up-cycled items. This is a spin on the reused idea, but includes artsy, unique and personal touches. You can tackle your own projects or look to local shops.

  • Find shops that sell collectibles, vintage wear, or antiques
  • Gift hand-knit or home-sewn items
  • Create a book of family recipes

Day 24, More on bulk shopping and no plastic bags.  Purchasing exactly the

Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste
Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste

amount of the ingredients for a holiday dish.  These paper sacks can be recycled or composted! #zerowaste shopping

Day 23, Creative and clever ways to wrap your gifts: http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/green-home/10-stylish-sustainable-ways-wrap-gifts/#slide-top

Day 22, How can you reduce plastic produce bags? Plastic produce bags are just as polluting as plastic shopping bags.  To keep your produce fresh store it in a crisper in your refrigerator.

Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags
Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags

Day 21, More on plastic bags:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrEXjQAobz0&feature=youtu.be&a  Ban the bag

Day 20, How can you reduce the amount of plastic bags you use? Instead of using baggies, why don’t you try to use waxed paper bags? These can be composted.wpid-wp-1418614582040.jpeg

Day 19, great ideas from http://www.earth911.com  on reducing waste for the holidays:

http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/how-to-reduce-waste-during-the-holidays-7-tips/

Day 18, Reduce stress by not using your car one or more days this week.  Choose to walk, car pool or use public transport to get to work, school or meetings.

Day 17, Strive for quality. Purchase items you know will last and you will reuse, reuse and reuse.  Don’t purchase cheap items that will soon end up in the landfill.  Sorry, NO to #uglysweaters

Day 16, Get in the habit of using reusable table napkins. Make your own from remnant pieces if cloth,  or purchase some from reuse stores. Use your imagination, wash cloths or bandanas also make good napkins. They don’t need to match.wpid-wp-1418350361805.jpeg

Day 15, Commit to a no waste holiday season. Join one million women

http://www.1millionwomen.com.au/2014/11/04/no-waste-festive-season/

Join the No Waste Holiday Season
Join the No Waste Holiday Season
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.

Day 14, Refill your glass bottles.  My local grocery store has an option to refill bottles

Refilling a bottle of olive oil.
Refilling a bottle of olive oil.

Day 13, Precycle, precycle precycle. Many of my ideas to reduce waste are about precycling. Today’s “less waste” idea is to avoid packaged items that will generate lots of landfill waste. Before you purchase items become aware of the amount of waste it will generate. Purchase items that have the smallest amount of packaging, and packaging that can be recycled. 

Day 12, Give your things new life. Donate clothing, coats or housewares you haven’t used in the last few years to a local non-profit that is capable of getting it to people in need such as a local crisis center, to Goodwill or another reuse store. http://www.volunteerguide.org/minutes/service-projects/clothesshoes

Day 11, Say “NO” to straws. Billions of plastic straws are in landfills and will never decompose.

How can we stop getting straws? Simply inform your waiter or waitress that you don’t need one, and make sure to specify this when ordering at a drive-thru. Can’t fathom giving up the convenience of straws? Purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass drinking straw. Restaurants are less likely to bring you a plastic one if they see that you’ve brought your own straw.  From:  http://www.mnn.com

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid

Day 10, Bring a reusable water bottle to work, school, and for all your adventures.

Day 9, Always bring your reusable shopping bags, and avoid plastic bags. Choose

Shop with your reusab;e bags
Shop with your reusable bags

paper if you forget your own bags.

Day 8, Cyber Monday.  Purchase green products and items made in the U.S.A. Also, support businesses that provide healthy working conditions and pay a living-wage.

Shop local, shop green
Shop local, shop green

http://www.doitgreen.org/directory

http://www.earth911.com/earth911tv/2014-eco-holiday-gift-guide/

http://www.madeinusaforever.com

Day 7, Use your leftovers.  Make your turkey leftovers into wraps enchiladas or make turkey soup: Brown an onion, add chopped carrots, celery or whatever vegetables you have fresh, frozen or canned. Add salt and lots of chopped turkey.  Cook in vegetable broth, season with rosemary, add some rice or noodles and enjoy… Better than a Thanksgiving dinner!  Freeze any remaining left overs to pull out on a busy night you need a quick dinner!

Day 6, Keep your community vibrant and walkable.  Support your local businesses and walk to them. #smallbusinesssaturday wpid-wp-1417263708700.jpeg

Day 5, Count your blessings, and avoid retailers.

If you’re looking to avoid impulse buying this year, take time not only to celebrate with your friends and family, but also to count your blessings. You may find that the easiest way to thwart retailers’ enticements as you peruse the shopping aisle isn’t to try to resist what you want; it’s to be thankful for what you have.

http://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/latest-columns/20141125-david-desteno-heres-how-to-defeat-the-impulse-buy.ece

Day 4, Be thankful, freeze leftovers and disperse food to your guests.

“The amount of turkey wasted over Thanksgiving—about 204 million pounds—is enough to provide 46 four-ounce servings of turkey for every American household that is food insecure. Forty-six per household! Instead, it lands in our garbage can, as do all the resources it took to grow and nurture those birds: enough water to supply New York City for 100 days and the greenhouse gas equivalent to 800,000 car trips from San Francisco to New York.

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to truly be thankful for the feast before you and to take control of your plate and portions. Stop for a moment and reflect on everything it takes to bring that brilliant feast to your table—the grains that were grown to feed your turkey, the bog that nurtured your cranberries, the land that allowed your pumpkin to spread its big leaves all over, and the hands that worked tirelessly to grow our food. Then fill your plate with just what you can actually eat, and dig in!  Dana Gunder, Natural Resources Defense Council 

Pecan loaf, vegetarian alternative to turkey. #noGMOs, #glutenfree
Pecan loaf, vegetarian alternative to turkey. #noGMOs, #glutenfree

Day 3, Purchase food items in the bulk aisle. Buying bulk can save on packaging, and eliminates food waste because you can get only the amount you need. Co-ops will let you wpid-wp-1416973820585.jpegbring your own containers to refill, and bulk buying saves you money. Purchasing bulk items is my favorite way to shop!

Day 2, Serve municipal water in real glasses.  A new wasteful trend has developed. wpid-wp-1416886418719.jpegOften the only water served at parties is water in small plastic bottles.  A great way to cut waste and save money is to drink water from public water systems.  Run it through a Brita or other water filter and you have water as good or better than bottled water.  Water filters can be recycled at Terracycle.com

Day 1, Always use real plates, cups, glasses and silverware.  If you lack enough

Use real dishes
Use real dishes

for your party or dinner, borrow from a friend or relative.  The quality of your party improves 100% even if everything doesn’t match. It will still make your event special.

America Recycles Day, November 15,

recycle On America Recycles Day, what new commitment can you make to recycle?

Find a place to recycle your trash!
Find a place to recycle your trash!

The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.** Yes, we can do better!

So…..What are we waiting for?  Let’s get busy and recycle MORE!

Today focus on packaging.  Read all packaging and recycle what ever has a recycle triangle.

Recycling saves lots of energy: Products made from recycled material use less energy!  Sadly, valuable materials are ending up in our landfills every day.

Tips for increasing your recycling and working for zero waste in your home and business!

Recycle all plastic bottles, plastic tubs, metal and aluminum cans, glass and newspapers and most paper products.  Every community has different rules for this, but please don’t put these in the trash!  Find a recycling location near you at http://earth911.com/

Establish a place to collect recyclables. Keep a place for recycling in every room of your house or business. http://earth911.com/news/2012/12/11/binbisa-new-recycling-bin/ …AND recycle all junk mail

– Pre-cycle: Become aware of the packaging of the products you purchase.  Buy the products with the least packaging, and with packaging that is recyclable.  This has really improved the past few years.

Awareness – The more you recycle the more you become aware of new things that you can recycle!

Plastic Bags: All clean and dry plastic bags should be recycled.  If it stretches and is clean, recycle it.  Many grocery stores will take bags for recycling.  Ask stores to start collecting plastic bags for recycling if you don’t have someone local.   Some cities have banned the use of plastic bags!! We all can recycle them.  Studies indicate that 100,000 marine animals and 2 million birds die every year from ingesting or being caught up in plastic debris*

Through recycling and composting you should get your garbage down to one small bag a week!

Recycling is a process to change waste materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfills) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to plastic production. From Wikipedia

Eliminate the idea of waste:  http://www.terracycle.com/en-US/

** Recycling Revolution  http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html

recycle