February 9, 2007 8:23 PM
Trash Your Trashcan
Great article in January 2007's edition of "Common Ground" - a holistic living magazine for the Bay Area. Check it out at http://commongroundmag.com/
7 Simple Steps to Trashing your Trashcan
Let's face it - we know better than to dispose when we should be Reusing, Reducing and Recycling. But we're busy, forgetful and, well, does it really make that big of a difference? You know the answer. So clip out these friendly reminders on how to bring your personal waste closer to zero. Just think: you'll never have to take out the trash again!
1. Feed the garden
Think like nature for a moment - why would you throw away all those food scraps, when they could be transformed into beautiful, nourishing garden compost? Over 60 percent of municipal waste could be composted - so find a more productive resting place for your banana peels.
2. Have bag, will shop
Of course, this one we know by heart. And it's still true. Carry canvas bags everywhere you go - put them in your car, tie them to your bike - and you'll have a final answer to the "paper or plastic" question.
3. Sort it out
Recycling rates have taken a downturn recently. Are we losing faith in the power of recycling? It still works! If you want your recyclables to be put to the highest possible use, sort them well. "Single stream" recyclables - as opposed to glass bottles mixed with paper - make for better recycled materials.
4. Think bulk
Brenda Platt of ILSR makes a point of buying groceries in bulk. Rather than buy single-serve applesauce cups for her kids, she opts for the big jar and scoops it into smaller containers herself. Simple? Yes. But simple is key.
5. Positive reinforcement
It's the same technique we use for supporting fair trade companies and organic farms. Support those companies that are making a point to reduce their waste - and avoid the rest. Eric Lombardi, of Eco-Cycle, says we've got to "reward the recyclers. The clean companies must win the profits."
6. Shrink wrap
What better motivation to waste less than reducing the size of your trash receptacle at home? Substitute a small plastic grocery bag for your trashcan, and wiser purchasing habits will follow naturally.
7. Your Trash, Their Treasure
Repeat after me: there's no "junk," there's only useful stuff yet to find a home. Before you look to the landfill, consider giving your broken fridge or over-lounged loveseat a chance at a happier second life by posting it for giveaway on websites like Freecycle.org or SwapThing.com And PlanetGreenInc.com will actually buy your spent ink-jets, conked out laser cartridges and defunct cell phones for their recycle program, giving the money generated to charity.
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