My family is trying to reduce our carbon footprint. Spearheaded by my wife, Kristen, one thing we are working hard on is reducing our landfill waste. At first, I was skeptical, but now that we have been doing it for over a year, I have really bought in because despite what Kermit says, it is actually easy being green. Here are a few things we are doing…
Putting virtually no plastic in the trash (i.e., landfill). As you may know, many plastics are not recyclable. They end up in the landfill whether you stick them in the trash or recycling bin. Even worse, if you put them in the recycle bin, they can actually damage the recycling equipment, slow the process, or contaminate good recycling.
Kristen, the kids, and I (i.e., mostly Kristen) sort all of our plastics into various types. Then about once a month I drive to the co-op and to MOM’s Organic Market (11th off Chestnut) and drop the different plastics off (plus a few other recyclable items). MOM’s is awesome and takes more types of plastics than most other places. They also take kids’ pouches, snack bar wrappers, and other stuff that is otherwise not recyclable. This takes care of most of our plastics.
What plastics remain we put in our several Terracycle Zero Waste boxes. [https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/]. Terracycle lets you purchase boxes to recycle anything. The more specific the box (e.g., athletic balls, K-cups) the less expensive, and the more general the box (e.g., All-in-One) the more expensive. All remaining plastics go in one of our three Terracycle boxes. When full, the cost includes shipping back to Terracycle.
Terracycle helps with perhaps our most important initiative. Bringing less plastic into the home in the first place. Because the quicker I fill the boxes, the sooner I must buy a new one. Bringing more plastic in the house costs us both time (sorting, dropping off) and money (teracycle). This is an awesome incentive to bring in less plastic.
We have also started composting, which is super easy in the city thanks to Bennett Compost and Circle Compost. At first, I was leery, but now I love it. Much cleaner and lighter trash bags. Much less trash smell. Just leave the air-tight bin outside on your designated evening and the next morning it is empty and ready to get filled again. Reasonable cost.
I do not want to sound preachy. We still use plastic. We drive. We use AC. And I am not as good at work as I am at home. But we reduced our home plastic by over 50%. And that makes a difference. Even reducing by 10% would.
I have really gotten into this and I love that it makes a difference. Look for future articles on this topic in upcoming e-newsletters.
Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all.
Jeff “City” Block
Photo credit: Pexels.com