Reuse, Re-purpose, Recycle: 7 Actionable Tips for a Greener Lifestyle
According to the EPA, Americans produce an average of 4.4 pounds of waste per day. To put that in perspective, hold a 2-liter bottle of soda in one hand. It’s not light, and that’s 4.5 pounds. Each American citizen produces that much weight in waste (on average), every single day!
Last December, nymag.com published an article about a young woman who “produced so little trash [for two years] that it all fits in a single, 16-ounce Mason jar.” Lauren Singer leads the way in environmentally friendly living. Fueled by her passion as an Environmental Studies major and inspired by the “Zero Waste Home” lifestyle, she founded The Simply Co. (an organic laundry detergent company) and authors the Trash is for Tossers blog where she details her eco-friendly adventures.
She says the first step is to ask yourself the following questions:
- How much garbage am I currently producing and what types? Ex: food packaging- this can help you determine the places you can start reducing and looking for alternatives.
- Why am I even interested in decreasing my impact? Is it for the environment, is it to decrease toxins in my life, is it to decrease clutter, is it because i’m totally broke and want to save money? Really understand your motivators and use them as a place to start decreasing what you use.
- What do I actually use on a daily basis (what is in my daily routine) and what do I not use/need? This can help you determine the things that you can donate and reduce.
- What products do I use that I can get more sustainable alternatives to? Ex: exchanging plastic tupperware for glass or Mason jars.
-The most important one straight from Yoda's lips: How much and what do I really need to be happy? Really assess why you own and hold on to certain things, and determine if you really need that giant foam finger in the back of your closet to be happy.
Here are 7 tips for a greener lifestyle:
1. Carry a reusable bag and drink container. Yay Mason jars!
2. Ditch the excess plastic. Take-out bags, to-go utensils, straws, etc. Donate and recycle as much as you can.
3. Replace your products with sustainable, long-lasting alternatives. Get a good tote bag to use instead of plastic bags, upgrade to stainless steel kitchenware and straws, and utilize our favorite item - Mason jars! (food storage/transport, drinkware, item organization, portable trash container)!
4. Get creative. What you can use in different ways? You’d be surprised how many items can be re-purposed. Mason jars offer a ridiculous amount of creative possibilities. From coffee, takeout, leftovers, toothbrush holders, lotion dispensers, cocktail shakers, juicers, piggy banks, honey dippers, herb savers, drink-to-go containers, tea infusers, unique decor, lights… the list is nearly endless.
5. Make your home your sanctuary. For Lauren that means having a few things that are really important to her personally. Most were either handed down or obtained on craigslist.
6. Clear your clutter. Ask yourself, what do I not need? What do I wear every day? What did I buy last year that still has tags on it? Clothes, movies, novelty items… the first step to going waste-free is placing an appreciation on REAL value. Remove the clutter from your life.
7. Buy in bulk. Save money, use less packaging.