Want to make a big impact on not only your watershed, but also the global community? Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Reducing the amount of trash you produce is the first part of the equation. The second part is to re-use materials whenever possible. These actions in combination with recycling are the most effective ways to save landfill space and conserve natural resources.
- Bring reusable bags when shopping. If you take a paper bag from the store, use it again as a trash liner or for recycling.
- Shop for all your stuff at second-hand stores. Discover hidden treasures!
- Purchase items such as dish soap and laundry detergents in concentrate forms.
- Choose products that are returnable, reusable, or refillable over single-use items.
- Keep a coffee mug in the car – some retailers offer a discount with your own cup.
- Avoid individually wrapped items (snack packs, single-serve containers).
- Compost food scraps and yard waste. Anything you compost won’t end up in a landfill.
- Don’t take disposable utensils or paper napkins if you’re heading home.
- Buy in bulk – packaging makes up 30% of the weight and 50% of trash by volume.
- Close lids on trash and recycle bins. If trash blows into the storm drain system, it eventually ends up in the ocean.
Closing the Loop
Buying recycled-content products ensures that recycled materials are used and helps close the waste circle. Less water and energy are required to make products from existing (recovered) materials than virgin materials. Try using material exchanges, such as the California Materials Exchange (CalMax) to find reusable items like plant pots, wood, and equipment.