Reduse, Reuse, Recycle
The recycling industry is a job creation industry. In the United States alone, the recycling industry creates over one million jobs. Recycling also reduces the need for mining, one of the most dangerous jobs.
Recycling conserves timber, water and mineral resources for future generations. That means our children and our grandchildren (most people don't really think past these levels of future generations).
Wars are fought over resources; recycling reduces the need for belligerence about resources and helps to show that there is enough to share around with what we already have (coupled with a reduction in consumption).
Many recycled products use far less energy to be recycled than it takes for the raw product to be created. For example, recycling aluminum requires 95 percent less energy than making it from raw materials. Recycled steel saves 60 percent of energy, recycled newspaper 40 percent and recycled glass 40 percent. Such savings all outweigh the results of incineration and landfill.
Most people don't realize how much food they throw away every day from uneaten leftovers to spoiled produce. About 95 percent of the food we throw away ends up in landfills or combustion facilities. In 2013, we disposed more than 35 million tons of food waste. Once in landfills, food breaks down to produce methane, a potent greenhouse gas which contributes to climate change.
Benefits of Reducing Wasted Food
Saves money from buying less food.
Reduces methane emissions from landfills and lowers your carbon footprint.
Conserves energy and resources, preventing pollution involved in the growing, manufacturing, transporting,
and selling food (not to mention hauling the food waste and then landfilling it).
Supports your community by providing donated untouched food that would have otherwise gone to waste to those who might not have a steady food supply.
Ways to Reduce Wasted Food
Planning, prepping, and storing food can help your household waste less food. Below are some tips to help you do just that:
By simply making a list with weekly meals in mind, you can save money and time and eat healthier food. If you buy no more than what you expect to use, you will be more likely to keep it fresh and use it all.
Keep a running list of meals and their ingredients that your household already enjoys. That way, you can easily choose, shop for and prepare meals.
Make your shopping list based on how many meals you’ll eat at home. Will you eat out this week? How often?
Plan your meals for the week before you go shopping and buy only the things needed for those meals.
Include quantities on your shopping list noting how many meals you’ll make with each item to avoid overbuying. For example: salad greens - enough for two lunches.
Look in your refrigerator and cupboards first to avoid buying food you already have, make a list each week of what needs to be used up and plan upcoming meals around it.
Buy only what you need and will use. Buying in bulk only saves money if you are able to use the food before it spoils.
It is easy to overbuy or forget about fresh fruits and vegetables. Store fruits and vegetables for maximum freshness; they’ll taste better and last longer, helping you to eat more of them.
Find out how to store fruits and vegetables so they stay fresh longer inside or outside your refrigerator.
Freeze, preserve, or can surplus fruits and vegetables - especially abundant seasonal produce.
Many fruits give off natural gases as they ripen, making other nearby produce spoil faster. Store bananas, apples, and tomatoes by themselves, and store fruits and vegetables in different bins.
Wait to wash berries until you want to eat them to prevent mold.
If you like to eat fruit at room temperature, but it should be stored in the refrigerator for maximum freshness, take what you’ll eat for the day out of the refrigerator in the morning.
Benefits of Reusing
Prevents pollution caused by reducing the need to harvest new raw materials
Reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global climate change
Helps sustain the environment for future generations
Reduces the amount of waste that will need to be recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators
Allows products to be used to their fullest extent
Ideas on How to Reduce and Reuse
Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.
Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items.
Maintain and repair products, like clothing, tires and appliances, so that they won't have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.
Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools or furniture.
One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you'll be helping others. Local churches, community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture.