We are moving into the season of abundance, which can also lead us into being inadvertently wasteful. For example, the EPA recently reported that we throw away approximately 38 tons of food a year, or to break it down, enough food to fill an entire collegiate football stadium to the brim, every single day. That’s a lot of waste, and that’s only considering food. They also reported that the average American throws away roughly 185 pounds of plastic every year, and over 29 million tons end up getting piled in landfills.
We have a responsibility to protect and preserve our planet. It’s incredibly important to look for ways that you can reduce the impact you have as an individual and how we work together as a collective whole. If we all do our part, we can make a substantial difference.
The Three R’s
Reduce - The most effective way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place. Making a new product requires a lot of materials and energy - raw materials must be extracted from the earth, and the product must be fabricated then transported to wherever it will be sold. Reduction and reuse are effective ways you can save natural resources, protect the environment and save money. As a consumer, it’s important to ask yourself, “what do I really need?” before you head to the store.
Reuse - Look for products that use less packaging. When manufacturers make their products with less packaging, they use less raw material. This reduces waste and costs. These extra savings can be passed along to the consumer.
Buying in bulk is a great way to do your part. Inesscents offers many products in bulk so our customers can refill their own bottles or jars, save money and support the overall impact on the environment. Check out your local stores and see what they have available. You might be surprised to find your favorite companies offer their commodities in bulk. If your stores don’t have a bulk section, you can request that they implement one! There is strong power in your purchasing dollar. You have a voice.
Recycle - Recycling is the process of collecting and processing materials that would otherwise be thrown away as trash and turning them into new products. Most of us are very familiar with this process and recycle when we can. Recycling can benefit your community and the environment, but it’s a new paradigm to consider this the last resort. Recycling centers are being flooded and the EPA states that we are producing more waste than what we can reasonably recycle. By reducing the waste, and reusing when possible, we can support recycling centers (and our planet) more prudently.
Making it Actionable
- Look for products that use less packaging.
- Buy in bulk.
- Bring your reusable bags to the store each time you go and consider investing in reusable produce bags as well.
- Buy reusable over disposable items. Look for items that can be reused; the little things can add up. For example, you can bring your own silverware and cup to work, rather than using disposable items or refill your Inesscents Jojoba Oil from the bulk section rather than buying a new bottle.
- Maintain and repair products, like clothing, tires and appliances, so that they won't have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently.
- Buy used. You can find everything from clothes to building materials at specialized reuse centers and consignment shops. Often, used items are less expensive and just as good as new.
- Borrow, rent or share items that are used infrequently, like party decorations, tools or furniture. There are a lot of ‘upcycle’ sites out there.
- Utilize community resources! Visit your library rather than buy the book. Need a tool? Look for local tool libraries where you can rent them for a project and return them. Take your bike or use public transportation to get to work. Have a clothing swap party with a group of friends.
- Donate! One person's trash is another person's treasure. Instead of discarding unwanted appliances, tools or clothes, try selling or donating them. Not only will you be reducing waste, you'll be helping others. Local community centers, thrift stores, schools and nonprofit organizations may accept a variety of donated items, including used books, working electronics and unneeded furniture.
There are many ways we can strive to be more responsible throughout the holiday season (and beyond!). Find out what you can do to help make a difference towards our planet every day. Whether you're at home, on the go, in the office, or at school, there are many opportunities to go green by Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling!