Precycling is the act of being more mindful on what items create excess trash and finding better ways to avoid it. With Earth Day fast approaching here are five easy ways to create less garbage.
Five easy ways to precycle:
1. Cloth shopping bags. My mothers favorite. Besides the great benefit of carrying more groceries and reducing the landfills, many stores (like Whole foods, Giant, Costco, Ikea and Safeway) are giving 5 or 10 cents back to every reusable bag you fill. According to the New York Times in 2002 Ireland created a plastic bag tax: the “Plas Tax”. At about 33 cents per bag, not only has Ireland created a 94% drop in plastic bag usage, but the tax has raised $9.6 million dollars for environmental and waste management projects. Now using a plastic bag has become comparable to wearing a fur coat or not picking up after your dog: it is just not acceptable anymore.
2. Tupperware. Prepackaged meals can often equal in weight of food and packaging. Likewise, fast food is loaded with trash that will end up in a landfill long after you’ve finished your meal. Using washable Tupperware to take lunch to work or school is more cost effective and a great way to precycle. Another benefit to taking fresh food to work is the nutritional facts are often staggeringly in your favor with fresh food and even the ‘healthy’ and ‘diet’ prepackaged food is often overloaded with sodium to make up for a low calorie count. Packing your lunch is good for your pocketbook, your wasteline, and your environment.
3. Reusable Water Bottle. According to refillnotlandfill.org the demand for water bottles creates 60 million bottles produced A DAY and nearly a quarter of all bottled water passes international borders to get to you (that is a lot of wasted gas!). By purchasing refillable water bottles you can take a big step towards lessening the need for production and the mass amount of waste. The statistics about water are overwhelming, check back for an article dealing expressly with the issues our world faces on water.
4. Buy In Bulk, Shop Responsibly. Purchasing items you use often instead of individually wrapped foods goes a long way to stop excess waste. Prepackaged snack foods are also more expensive and usually marketed towards children. Purchasing vegetables at local farmers markets (bring your cloth shopping bags!) is a great way to support the community and avoid senseless over packaging of grocery store goods.
5. Cloth Napkins. Elegant, a great way to avoid excess garbage and a fun way to make meals feel more special. Cloth napkins are readily available anywhere, easy to make and set the tone for sustainability in a use-and-toss society.