(ABC4) – 4.9 pounds– that’s the total amount of solid waste a United States citizen generated each day in 2018, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.
Looking at the state of the nation’s landfills, it is clear that individuals need to cut down on waste, but going ‘green’ or ‘waste-free’ can sound intimidating.
Here are some ‘swaps’ that you can incorporate into your daily life to reduce your environmental impact. But remember to use what you have first! Throwing away what you have to adopt reusable items only creates more waste.
- Reusable shopping bags: Single-use plastic grocery bags tend to pile up, both under your sink and in landfills. And though you can recycle them, only about 1% are returned. Reusable shopping bags can be used again and again.
2. Shop second-hand or rent clothes: Fast fashion is the ability to produce clothing at low prices so that consumers can begin considering clothes to be disposable and can cycle through them quickly as trends change. The resources used to make clothing and the resulting pollution have a large impact on the environment. Buying clothing second-hand can save money and give useable clothing a longer life.
Companies like Rent the Runway and Nuuly allow users to rent clothing and try new styles without sending clothes to the landfill.
3. Ebooks: Want to relax with a good book? Ebooks and audiobooks are an easy alternative to paper books and won’t take up space in your home.
4. Reusable water bottles: According to the Container Recycling Institute, more than 60 million plastic water bottles are thrown away each day in the United States. Reusable water bottles reduce this waste and can save money from buying packs of plastic water bottles.
5. Bar Shampoo: Did you know that not only soap, but shampoo, can be purchased in bars? These bars require less packaging than liquid shampoo, which often comes in plastic bottles.
7. Portable cutlery: Bring reusable cutlery with you when eating out to reduce the use of plastic, single-use utensils.
8. Mesh produce bags: Though using reusable shopping bags is becoming more mainstream, people sometimes forget that produce requires smaller bags to keep it clean in your shopping cart. Mesh bags can replace single-use plastic produce bags.
9. Dishcloths: Use linen or microfiber cloths to replace paper towels or sponges for cleaning surfaces.
Visit the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s website for information on waste management in the state.