Don’t look now, but you are accumulating five extra pounds every day and don’t even know it. That’s right, I’m talking about trash. And experts say those five pounds can explode to 728,000 tons of garbage every day. Fortunately, our base waste reduction efforts make an impact on the amount of waste that hits our landfills. And, that’s good news. But we can also do more to pitch in by taking a closer look at what we pitch out.
Along with recycling and composting, there’s another exciting trend in reducing waste. It’s called upcycling, which means taking old items and creating new uses for them rather than throwing things out. “We have things that pile up in our house that we don’t use anymore,” said Rachel Kearl, life hack guru and founder of Kevel Perfect Fit. “Instead of throwing those things out, it’s nice to find new ways to use them.”
Just three simple lifestyle changes can impact the amount of waste you generate. If you are ready to do your part, here are some ideas to consider:
Recycle old clothing.
An average American throws away approximately 80 pounds of used clothing per person, which amounts to over 15 million tons of textile waste in the United States each year. That’s a lot of tube tops, people! But nearly all of textile waste is recyclable or reusable.
Outgrown clothing still holds value for someone else, and most communities have donation centers or shelters that welcome lightly worn donations.
For damaged tee shirts, Kearl designs reusable grocery bags and headbands. No sewing required, and it’s a great project for kids.
Expand use of household products.
Using products that have multiple functions is great for your wallet and the environment. Many items in the pantry are great for cleaning and personal care. For instance, baking soda and white vinegar are the workhorses in natural, environmental-friendly cleaning.
Honey and coconut oil are fantastic for hair and skin. “Coconut oil is also effective for cleaning pots and pans, polishing wood and leather furniture,” said Kearl.
If the price of shaving cream makes your legs itch, Mandi Woodruff suggests using olive oil. “Olive oil is packed with skin-nourishing nutrients, so go ahead and skip the $10 moisturizer afterward to save even more,” says Woodruff.
Reduce the junk mail
Americans handle around 30 pounds of paper junk mail each year. A pre-approved credit card offer is nice, I suppose, but the energy and resources used to generate promotions and advertisements take a toll on our environment. To eliminate credit card promotional mailings, call 1-888-567-8688 or visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com. You can also remove your name from mailing lists at http://www.dmachoice.org.
Everyone can do their part to improve the environment. Whether young or old, homeowner or apartment dweller, Lakers fan or a Warriors follower, reducing our household waste is easy, inexpensive, and important.
This article was originally published by Orange County Register