Monday, July 09, 2007

Day 3 of National Downshifting Week: Compost, Recycle, Reduce

Monday - Day 3 of NDW US ~ What Have You Been Up To?

Started Composting or Recycling: What a Load of Rubbish!

The US has among the highest recycling rates in the world, with 35% of municipal solid waste being recycled, according to the EPA. Yet we have a long way to go. The American Forest and Paper Association says that the paper recycling rate in the US was at an all-time high of 51% in 2005, but we recycle only 17% of plastics. According to the National Recycling Coalition, on average Americans purchace 200 plastic bottles each annually, 80% of which end up in landfills. We produce an average of 4.5 pounds of municipal solid waste per person every day.

Recycling is a routine, and is simpler in the US than in other parts of the world. In many communities you can throw all types of paper (including newspaper, magazines, junkmail and office paper) into one bin, and all types of empty food and beverage containers (plastics, tin cans, and glass) into another. Get going if you don't recycle as part of your routine yet!

If you are already an avid recycler, the next thing to tackle is reducing the waste generated in the first place. Instead of buying juice boxes, buy a thermos and a big jug of juice. Place a filter on your tap to eliminate the purchase of single-use water bottles. Purchase in bulk where possible, and avoid "snack size packs."

Composting also goes a long way to reducing the amount of waste you put out for trash collection each week. There are a variety of composting bins and containers availble, but another simple way is to collect uncooked food "waste" (your veggie peelings, fruit rinds, etc) into a big tupperware. At the end of a few days, dig a hole 18-24 inches deep (so you won't attract animals) where you'll plant your future garden, and dump the clippings in, covering the hole. Place holes 6 inches apart. Next year your soil will be rich and ready for planting!

It's Day 4 tomorrow ~ what are you going to do, to 'slow down and green up'? Click here for a copy of our Downshifting Manifesto.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

With regard to bottled water, Americans are being conditioned to view tap water as unhealthy. This is not true ! Tap water has more regulation than bottled water and filters are not necessary - just another thing we didnt know we needed ?