Better at the Bin – Painless Ways to Recycle More

Globally, we produce 3.5 million tons of rubbish a day. If we packed all those discards into garbage trucks and parked them end to end, the line would stretch across the United States, a distance of 3,000 miles. The typical American produces 4.5 pounds of trash per day. That’s higher than in any other country. We can do better by the environment. We can be sure to recycle all bottles, cans, and paper. We can place all food scraps in our green composting collection carts. These simple steps make a huge positive difference.

To encourage and inspire people to further embrace these good green habits, Recology is launching an initiative called “Better At The Bin.” It encourages everyone to sort discards correctly and reduce waste by making reusable bottles and containers part of their regular routine. Going Zero Waste blogger, Kathryn Kellogg, who hosts our “Better At The Bin” video, saved $14,000 in two years by only buying what she needs.

The best thing we can do is to take simple steps to reduce the amount of rubbish we produce. The typical American uses more than 150 plastic water bottles a year. Instead, choose a reusable metal water bottle. It’s convenient, saves money, and reduces plastic pollution.

Another painless and important way to reduce waste is to use a canvas carry bag when shopping. This eliminates the need for plastic bags. The trick is to remember to grab one or two cloth bags as you head out the door. Better yet, keep them in your car or backpack. Plastic bags and other low-grade plastics, sometimes called junk plastics, are best avoided. The June issue of National Geographic magazine (NationalGeographic.com) documents numerous and significant environmental problems around the world associated with junk plastics.

Reusable food containers are perfect for transporting lunch foods. Many people use mason jars or metal bento boxes to bring soups and salads to work. The containers keep food fresh and are easy to wash. Reusing containers in this way is a great example of a zero-waste activity, and it saves you money. We all know bringing your own lunch to work is more economical and efficient than going out.