I consider myself to be a pretty good recycler, minimizing my waste whenever possible. I recycle the products that I can, take action in my household to use reusable materials and rarely purchase items that end up going to waste. That being said, I also know I should further educate myself on what exact components of items are recyclable or nonrecyclable. Confession time: I tend to use too many paper towels, and I need to work on making more eco-friendly decisions when it comes to the food products I purchase. It is impossible to be perfect. Every year, the U.S. generates about 230 million tons of waste. Out of that waste, only about 30% is recycled. It is clear that we have an excessive waste issue, and there needs to be a change. Big change may not come around until environmental laws are passed to limit daily wasteful habits, or until our large corporations make adjustments to their production process. But for now, the small changes each person makes can add up. My planned changes in 2015 include my shopping habits. When buying groceries, I tend to buy a lot of prepackaged individual items. This is a habit of convenience for me because fresh food tends to end up going bad in my refrigerator, and individual items are easy to take to work for lunch. However, there are some other options I want to consider. I can plan to shop for groceries more often and purchase fewer items each time so there is a reduced chance of my food going bad. I can also find food items that are not individually packaged and bring Tupperware to work instead. Finally, I can take the time to search for items at the grocery store that are in recyclable packaging, such as glass, or the types of plastic and paper packaging that are accepted by my recycling service. Another change I plan to make is the way I deal with waste around my house with my two housemates. We have plenty of paper towels and napkins around the house. With all the messes that often occur in the kitchen or the bathroom, it is easy to go through a whole package of these items every few days. It is time we invest in hand cloths and other reusable towels instead. Although there are a few of these around the house, they are easily lost. Investing in plenty more will not only reduce a lot of waste in our house, but they will also be a lot easier to use in the long run, as their material is much more efficient than paper. Finally, my housemates and I need a more efficient recycling system. Our trashcan and recycling can are right next to each other in our house. Sometimes, one of us is unsure of which container an item belongs in, or simply places an item in the wrong bin by accident. We should definitely invest in signs or posters with clear rules our house’s recycling service follows and set up a chore system in which we double-check the items in our recycling can. Hopefully, the changes I make this upcoming year will help even more people in our lives make changes, and people around the country will be able to make a bigger, overall change sooner rather than later.
My 2015 Recycling Goals in and Out of the House
How can one person cut back on waste in 2015? Revise in-home habits and the grocery list.