Active adults are conscious about protecting the environment. Many believe that it is our civic duty to reduce the amount of waste we produce by sharing information and suggestions to other like-minded people. There are probably many of us who are already doing our part to recycle/reuse and generally reduce waste. This is obviously a volunteer effort – but reduced waste could help reduce our carbon footprint and improve our local and greater environment. While the concept of “Zero Waste” is quite a stretch, we can all start with small steps to start reducing our additions to landfills/ocean dumping. For more on the movement, check out this article Natl Geographic - Zero-Waste Families.
As an overview of what you can do - think about the 5 R's of Zero Waste
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Compost and Recycle. (In order of most to least importance)
- Refuse: avoid buying products with lots of packaging.
- Reduce: don’t buy things that aren’t really necessary.
- Reuse: repurpose worn-out items, shop for used goods and purchase reusable products like steel water bottles.
- Compost [Rot]: allow organic waste that rarely decomposes in landfills to turn into valuable compost [Easy for us with the NYC Composting program - and we already participate!
- Recycle: use the energy and resources that recycling produces instead of putting everything into landfills.
Your motives for reducing waste may vary – and it’s worth giving some thought to what you might consider as your goals. – It could be that you are looking for ways to save money (bulk purchasing, making your own, substituting with reusable products); or you want to reduce your use of plastics because of the toxins they carry; or you care for the environment for yourself and your family.
Americans toss about 4½ lbs of trash per person every day. This trash ends up in landfills which contaminate soil, contribute to global warming through greenhouse gas emissions and are a leading producer of methane.
Opportunities to reduce waste now
Here are some great resources:
- This resource is called "BUY NOTHING and is a private Facebook group organized by a neighborhood. If you have something you want to give away, you put it out to the group and they come and pick it up.
- This is a great website, and their Instagram site the has lots of ideas on what to swap or to do for less waste.
- What is the Zero-Waste Movement ?
- Kathryn Kellogg’s website “Going Zero Waste” - her beginners guide to zero waste living is very good along with this resource and her Instagram page
- Life Without Plastic is an online newsletter and store for non-plastic products to replace typical plastic products.