Reducing Waste: Strategies to Make a Lasting Impact

Learn how reducing waste through recycling & composting can make an environmental impact & save money! Find out how businesses & individuals can make small changes for big results.

Reducing Waste: Strategies to Make a Lasting Impact

We all know that many of the choices we make in our daily lives have a big impact on the planet. The average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage per day, and it's up to us to make small changes that are environmentally friendly and have a lasting effect. One of the most effective strategies to reduce waste is recycling and reuse. By incorporating recycled materials, the need for raw materials for identical applications is reduced.

This not only reduces the need to exploit natural resources, but also allows waste materials to be recovered and used as valuable resources. Composting is another great way to reduce waste. Up to 25% of the items in your trash can be removed from the waste stream and composted in your backyard. Fruit and vegetable scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, grass clippings, and leaves can all be turned into compost. While it requires more effort than other lifestyle changes, it will provide you with a beneficial return on your investment of time and effort.

Depending on conditions, you may have compost in 3 to 12 months to use in your garden. You'll save on fertilizer, and if you grow your own vegetables, you're likely to see better yields. The organic matter will also act like a sponge to absorb more water, meaning you may not need to water your plants as much, saving you money and time. The best place to start making a difference is in your own home. Implementing a recycling program is key to reducing waste disposal costs, reducing the amount of waste your company generates, and reusing valuable materials. Ask your local recycling center for recycling bins and educate employees about the necessary recycling data and procedures.

By reusing and recycling materials, the demand for the production of new materials decreases, which provides a significant benefit to the environment. It also reduces the amount of landfill space your company needs and reduces the cost of waste disposal. Most recycling centers offer recycling of paper, wood, cardboard, plastic, electronics, and scrap metal. Another way to reduce waste is by buying exclusively from sustainable clothing brands or visiting your local thrift or consignment store. Often, you'll find unique, little-used (or even new) things at a fraction of the original price. Get used to people asking “Where did you get that?” And while you're there, donate that pair of jeans you haven't been able to wear in 10 years. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 30% of the waste Americans produce is made up of garden waste and food scraps, which can instead be converted to compost.

By diverting that waste from the landfill, we can reduce the size of landfills and reduce the production of methane, a greenhouse gas and one of the main contributors to global warming. You can create your own compost pile or take advantage of your city's compost collection service. Adopting a zero waste initiative encourages all employees to be aware of their waste production so that they can reduce, reuse and recycle as effectively as possible. Whether you're at home, traveling, in the office or at school, there are plenty of opportunities to adopt a green strategy through reduction, reuse and recycling. Analysing your waste production provides you with valuable data that can help you reduce waste. Many grocery stores offer a refund of 5 cents per bag so you'll save a few cents and reduce the use of single-use plastic bags. You can also significantly reduce packaging waste by shopping at stores that sell food in bulk but you'll need to come prepared with your own packaging.

Whether you're traveling for business or pleasure, you can do some simple things that will reduce your waste, conserve resources and minimize the overall environmental impact of your visit. Once you know the amount of waste your company produces, you can identify areas where you can reduce the purchase, production and use of materials that can't be reused or recycled and try to adopt a sustainable waste reduction program. Your employees should be involved in developing a sustainable waste elimination and reduction program so that they feel more interested in maintaining their results. From taking sustainable steps to buying eco-friendly gifts, there are countless ways - big and small - to reduce waste in a way that fits your lifestyle.

Lammy Heijden
Lammy Heijden

Certified webaholic. Typical pop culture geek. Evil tv aficionado. Award-winning bacon specialist. Evil twitter geek. Certified pop culture geek.

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