We produce a lot of waste. In 2008 alone, Americans generated 250 million tons of trash, and though about a third of that was recycled, a lot went into landfills or was incinerated. Our culture is centered around disposability, and only we have the power to change that.
Take stock of the disposable, overly-packaged, and single-use products that you use, and then look for reusable alternatives. Not sure where to start? Here are more than two dozen items that many people use . . . and can easily live without.
25 Wasteful Things You Can Live Without:
1. Plastic wrap -- Instead, use a container with a lid.
2. Tin foil -- Use an oven-safe pot or dish with a lid.
3. Disposable cleaning cloths, dusters, etc. -- Use a microfiber cloth that can be washed.
4. Paper towels -- Use a tea towel, instead.
5. Disposable pens -- Buy a good pen that only needs the ink well changed.
6. Paper plates -- Washing dishes may be an effort, but it's worth it.
7. Plastic cutlery -- Use the metal stuff. 8. Disposable razors -- Invest in a razor that only needs the blades changed. 9. Packaged fruits and vegetables -- Produce does not need to be packaged. 10. Individually wrapped snacks -- Snacks travel better anyway in a hard container. 11. Juice boxes -- Put juice in a reusable container (not plastic). 12. Electric pencil sharpeners -- Use the hand-crank version of days gone by. 13. Disposable diapers -- Cloth diapers aren't that much more difficult to use. 14. Disposable cloths -- Fabric cloths can be washed regularly to avoid bacterial or viral build-up. 15. Paper or plastic single-use grocery bags -- Get a few reusable bags. 16. Bottled water -- Install a water filter on your tap or pick up a water jug with a filter. 17. Non-rechargeable batteries -- Make the investment for rechargeable batteries and you'll save money in the long run. 18. Electric can openers -- Use a little muscle. 19. Single-serving pudding or yogurt cups -- Buy a large container of yogurt or make your own pudding, and send it in a reusable container. 20. Plastic cups -- Stick to reusable cups. 21. Disposable table cloths -- Spills are a reality of life; just clean them up as they happen. 22. Antibacterial wipes -- If you must, use a gel hand sanitizer. 23. Facial tissues -- Unless you have a bad cold, a handkerchief will work just fine. 24. Paper billing -- Switch to e-billing for your bank statement, credit card bill, utility bill, etc. 25. Plasticized sticky notes -- Use the original paper sticky notes; they can be recycled when you're done with them.