and its more resolute cousin, “refuse”, is a call to think, and act, differently. To say no to our disposable culture. Buying in bulk, bringing your own take out container to the restaurant or bag to the grocery store, eschewing single-use cups and water bottles – eradicating just one wasteful habit in your life can make a huge difference. The amount we toss is staggering; 4.36 pounds per PERSON, per DAY with a few really pernicious offenders such as:
- Plastic water bottles – 60 million every day
- Styrofoam hot cups – 25 billion each year
- Paper cups – estimated 14 billion annually
Ready to make changes beyond the obvious? You don’t need to reinvent the wheel, there are many creative, inspiring people, organizations and blogs with awesome zero waste lifestyle tips and adaptations. Check out Trashis4Tossers blogger Lauren Singer, ZeroWasteHome and for local flavor, Lindsey and Jesse Manderson.
Are you an artist? DIYer? Upcycling is a fun and creative way to express and share your environmental ethos. the Squirrelz has curated hundreds of ideas from the practical to the whimsical while providing a forum for upcyclers to connect with each other. And of course, there’s the mother of all curators – if you’re an upcycler, you MUST check out Pinterest. Need material? Look no further than Boulder’s own Resource, which features acres of reusable building and landscape material or ArtParts Creative Re-use Center.
Getting more life out of clothing and durable goods such as furniture and appliances by selling them, offering them for free, or donating is a no brainer. And seeking out quality-used over buying new can make a big difference in terms of conservation of virgin material and pollution from extractive industries. But if you’re ready to really challenge yourself, start a new habit — before tossing something in the trash ask yourself how you might be able to reuse it at least one more time. An empty bread bag can cover a bowl of leftovers so you use one less zip lock bag or piece of plastic film; stained towels and t-shirts become rags, old carpet can keep down weeds, store nails, nuts and bolts in empty jars with lids; the opportunities are only limited by your ingenuity and your determination to buy one less thing. It helps the budget too!
As far back as WW1, during the depression and through WW2, our collective national consciousness was all about not wasting a thing; not a rag, a bone or a bottle. Today’s throwaway culture, rooted in the notion of unlimited natural resources, is a paradigm that emerged in the post-WW era. Back then, it was all about winning the war and based on the reality of finite natural resources. We face the same reality today – with sustaining the earth as our noble cause.
Love this one. Compost, compost, compost. Nationwide, organic material comprises 28% of our waste stream. With compost opportunities widely available in our community, there is absolutely no reason to put organic material in the landfill. If you don’t have curbside service, bring your material to Western. Yard waste drop off is subsidized for both City of Boulder and Boulder County residents. Want to see how your food scraps and yard waste become compost? Click here for the video.