Did you know that the average American throws out 4.51 pounds of trash each day, totaling a national average of 254 million tons annually? You can do your part to divert waste from the landfill by following the 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! All three components are vital to waste reduction and environmentally responsible behavior, but their order is very important. Reducing and reusing are the most effective ways to preserve natural resources, lessen pollution and save energy. Here are some tips on how to practice these principles and keep waste out of our local landfills:
Reduce: Be a conscious consumer! Go straight to the source by rethinking the things you actually need, considering what you already have, and cutting back on unnecessary purchases.
- Refuse single-use plastics when they’re offered to you.
- Purchase things that will last a long time.
- Eat what you have in the fridge to minimize food waste.
- Look for products that use less packaging
- Use towels and cloth napkins to clean up messes, rather than paper towels and napkins.
Reuse: Use your things to their fullest extent and give them a second life when you can.
- Purchase and remember to bring reusable cups, bottles, utensils, straws, and bags with you.
- Repurpose old shirts as wash rags or glass jars as storage/leftover containers.
- Buy used by shopping at thrift stores and looking on repurposing websites before buying new.
- Maintain and repair your products, rather than tossing and replacing them.
Recycle: Recycling is a more energy intensive process than reducing or reusing, but is still a much better alternative to landfilling.
- Donate to your local thrift store and hand down clothing, toys, and furniture to future generations.
- Dispose of metal, plastics, etc… by cleaning them and putting them in the recycling bin.
- You can see Santa Barbara County’s latest recycling guidelines in their Waste Reduction Guide here.
Bonus – FREE Compost Bin: Through a partnership between the City of Goleta and MarBorg industries, Goleta residents are eligible to receive two free Earth Machine compost bins per household. To order your compost bin call MarBorg at 805-963-1852.
For more information on waste reduction in Santa Barbara County visit lessismore.org.