Welcome to the 7th "Green" Tips Message. This message is sent to all subscribing users on a weekly basis providing simple tips on becoming more Green! This article is part of Earth911’s “Green Eight” series, where they showcase eight ways to green your life in various areas.This week's message provides simple tips on:
8 Ways to Green Your Trash
1. Get Audited!
Don’t worry, we’re not talking about your taxes.
Think back to what you learned in seventh grade biology about the discovery process. The first step in the scientific method (trash is, after all, a very technical thing) is to ask questions about something you observe in your environment. Since you are reading this, you must already be aware of the fact that your trash is in need of a makeover, so we think it’s safe to move directly to step two: research.
Though this isn’t the most pleasant job, a trash audit is a necessary step to really getting a hold on what you currently throw out, and more importantly, what you can save from the trashcan. The audit itself is simple, just follow these easy steps:
1. Pick a time period – A week is a good place to start.
2. Get everyone on board - If they live in your house and they make trash, they are involved, so catch ‘em up to speed.
3. Throw stuff away - Go about your normal routine, and throw away what you usually do. It is important that you be honest with yourself and not try to be on your “best behavior.” Remember, you are trying to get an accurate measurement of your waste output.
4. Weigh in - If you can, weigh your trash. Each time you take a trash bag out of the house, plop it on the scale. This way you can have a baseline for comparison (sort of like “before” and “after” photos when you’re starting a new workout program). Though you will visually be able to see your trash dwindle, the satisfaction of cold, hard facts is the icing on the cake.
5. Put on some gloves - Check daily to see what you threw away that could have been recycled, composted, reused or avoided. This part is the “eeewwww” moment - we are talking about trash here. But, by doing it daily, it wont be as bad. Don’t be deterred by what you find. Remember your mission; you can do it!
6. Get graphical - Make a list, chart, pie graph, power point…whatever you want. Just write down your findings, and use those findings to make a plan. What can you recycle that you are currently tossing in the trash? What can be composted? What can be reused and, in turn, what didn’t need to be there in the first place?
2. Recycle – Know the rules
The U.S. EPA estimates that 75 percent of our waste is recyclable. This is great news, especially since the American Forest and Paper Association (AF&PA) states that 87 percent of the U.S. population, or 268 million people, have access to curbside or drop-off recycling programs. This means that many materials can be recycled and programs are, for the most part, accessible.
So what’s the holdup? For many people, it is knowing exactly what goes in the recycling bin and what to do with stuff that doesn’t.
Here’s a checklist:
1. Check with your local government, who provides your recycling services, and get a list of what materials you can and cannot put in your curbside bin.
2. For everything that can’t be put in your curbside bin, check Earth911’s recycling database for drop-off locations near you. This includes items like paint, batteries, CFLs and pesticides.
3. Use mail-back and store drop-off programs. This option is great for electronics and automotive waste. Most auto parts stores and mechanics will take used motor oil and old tires, especially if they do the work for you. As far as electronics are concerned, many products like cell phones can be mailed to manufactures or traded in for money. Drop-off programs, such as Best Buy’s and the EPA’s eCycling Progam, are making electronic recycling more accessible for consumers across the nation.
4. Trade-in programs can often be an option when you are purchasing new items from that same company. Computers are a great example of this. In fact, by planning ahead while purchasing your computer, you can build the cost of proper disposal right in from the get-go, saving you money and time in the long run.