Start With the Four R's: Re-think, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle:
The easiest place to begin Re-Thinking, Reducing, Reusing, & Recycling is:
IN THE KITCHEN
Reuse Glass Jars:
- Store paint
- Use for: screws, bolts, nuts, nails
- Store leftovers
- Drinking glass - you can even use it as a to-go glass if you keep the lid
Get Rid of Plastic Storage Bowls
Plastic is harmful to our health. It has been proven to have toxic chemicals and, when heated, can leach these chemicals into our food. Instead, purchase glass storage bowls; they are typically easier to store than plastic.
Say NO to Styrofoam!
- Styrofoam (also known as polystyrene) never biodegrades and is harmful to wildlife. When polystyrene breaks down, it breaks into small pieces. Birds and fish ingest it, mistaking them for eggs and insects. Unfortunately, they cannot digest it; it builds up in their stomachs, eventually killing them.
- Polystyrene is made from oil - another reason to reduce our use of it and one way we can reduce our addiction to oil.
- Never add hot food to a polystyrene container or re-heat food in a polystyrene container. The toxins in the plastic leach into food.
Use Re-Usable Dishes, Flatware, and Cloth Napkins:
I always question why people think it's "more convenient" to use disposable dishes and flatware. If you have to pay over and over for them and run to the store everytime you need them, how can that be more convenient than reaching into your cupboard for those nice re-usable dishes that you already have?
- By using re-usable dishes, flatware, and cloth napkins, you not only keep these items from going into the landfill, you also reduce the amount of water used to manufacture them (it takes about 5 gallons of water to produce one paper plate!), as well as the air pollution as a result of the factory output and the trucks used to haul them.
- Take containers with you to restaurants for leftovers, rather than using a to-go container.
Check with your waste management company to see what items are recyclable. You can usually find this information on their website and sometimes on the inside of the lid to the trash cans (if they are supplied).
- Paper towel rolls
- Plastic food containers
- Aluminum foil
- Paper cups
- Cereal boxes
- Frozen food boxes and containers
We recommend composters that are compact and spin in order to mix the compost. Keep the composter in an area that will get enough sun to "cook" the materials, but not so much that it will kill the beneficial bacteria that helps to break down the materials.
- Keep a bowl with a lid handy for produce scraps that can easily be added to the compost pile on a daily basis.
- To start a new compost pile, add a little soil and some grass clippings, along with produce scraps. Egg shells are also acceptable.
- Add water to moisten the material, which will help get the process started.
- Do you put meat in the composter.
- Spin the composter every couple of days at the very least.
- Allow to break down so that it looks like soil (which it is!)
- Add the compost to your flower beds when it's ready. You will know that it is ready when you have nice black, rich soil.
- Each time you empty the compost bin, keep a little compost as a starter mix for the next batch.