The tons and tons of waste that is generated in our homes creates dramatic impacts to our environment.
Making steps to reduce that waste may seem hard at first, but really make a big impact over time especially when shared from neighbor to neighbor.
To get the big picture of why this is important,
click here to see a 20 minute film call the Story of Stuff
Its not hard to make a small change at a time, and it will often save you and your family money. Here are some things to think about when reducing waste at home.
Reduce packaging waste
Packaging makes up 30 percent of municipal solid waste. You can reduce the amount of packaging you throw in the garbage by purchasing items that have less packaging.
Examples: Reduce the amount of packaging by purchasing concentrates and diluting them with water in reusable containers. Avoid single-serving products in favor of larger servings or buying in bulk. Take your own reusable cloth bag so you don't need "paper or plastic."
Benefits: Over-packaged products often cost more than less-packaged products. This means that you can save money when buying products with less packaging.
Disposable products are increasing every day. This is fabuously distructive to the natural resources that support human life; from mining to manufacturing, the pollution and energy cost is great. Then when we dispose of it after a single use, the material further compromises our environment. Use this on-line calculater to mesure impacts related to common disposables like paper towels and razors, the follow the links for easy ways to reduce your use of disposables.
Prevent food waste and compost vegetable food waste
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), 27 percent of the nation's total food supply — 97 billion pounds — went to waste in 1995. Food is wasted in many ways, such as preparing too much, letting fresh food go bad and buying too much.
Examples: Planning meals and creating a list of what you need before you go to the grocery store will help you buy exactly what you need. Composting leftover fruit and vegetable food waste with your yard waste helps create high-nutrient compost. Donate excess canned goods to Food for Lane County, 343-2822.
Benefits: Making better use of the food you buy will save you money and reduce how much food you throw away. Composting the remaining food waste will provide you with a great additive for your garden.
Find new life for old furnishings, appliances and clothes
Instead of discarding your unwanted furniture, appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them to groups and organizations that accept used goods. When deciding to purchase an item, consider buying used. Those items are less expensive than new ones and are often just as good.
Example: Donate or resell items to thrift stores or other organizations in need. You could receive a tax deduction or cash for them. Buy and sell secondhand items at fairs, bazaars, swap meets and garage sales. Organize a garage sale in your neighborhood to encourage your neighbors to get involved in reducing waste.
Benefits: You can save money as well as reduce waste by purchasing furniture, appliances and clothes used.
Buy the right amount of paint for the job
Since 1998, almost 300,000 pounds of excess paint were collected at Lane County's household hazardous waste site. A large volume of this paint was still usable. If stored correctly, paint stays in good condition for a long time. If it mixes smoothly, it can still be used.
Example: Before you begin a painting project, measure the area first. Calculate the area to be painted (height x width = total square feet). One gallon covers about 400 square feet.
To prevent paint from drying out, cover the paint can (use its original container) with plastic wrap, replace the lid securely and store upside down. Protect your paint from freezing. Use leftover paint for touch-up jobs, smaller projects or as a primer.
Benefits: Using low-VOC or water-based paints, stains, finishes and paint strippers will help keep hazardous chemicals out of your home. Prevent waste through wise purchasing; calculate the right amount of paint for the job. Use leftover paint up instead of throwing it away.
Check out this great Eco-Consumer resource page with tips, links, calculators and more!