46 years ago, Earth Day was born. It’s a day dedicated to recognizing environmental issues and taking action to help relieve them. The importance of this day shouldn’t be held on one day of the year, it should be a part of our daily lives.
The smallest choices we make can affect the environment we live in, which in turn affects anything living on this planet – yes, us included. It’s easy to ignore issues that may take time to show their consequences or when we don’t always see the results it produces.
For example, in 2012, the U.S. contributed 262 million tons of municipal solid waste (Yale University). This type of waste includes product packaging, food, clothes, yard waste, or other daily items we use. And this all comes from our homes, businesses, schools, and hospitals.
I’m writing about this topic because I want to encourage others to reduce clutter on the planet and not just in their personal lives.
Here are 6 easy ways to reduce Earth’s clutter. And as an added bonus – not only will the world and its tenants be healthier, but most of these will save you money…
Before putting something in the garbage, always check if it can be recycled. For example, the tube of toothpaste I use isn’t recyclable, but the cap on the toothpaste is, so I remove the cap and put it in the recycle bin.
Post recyclable information near the garbage or recycle bin as a good reminder for what doesn’t go into the trash. Add recycle bins in convenient areas, such as the kitchen or bathroom.
To make extra cash, save aluminum cans and take them into a recycle center.
2. Get Reusable Bags
Plastic bags can be seen everywhere – they’re caught in trees, floating in the water, or taking up space in the home. Use reusable bags when shopping and recycle plastic bags that won’t be used. Some retailers will even give you money back for reusable bags.
3. Get a Reusable Water Bottle/Cup
Decrease the use of plastic water bottles by getting a reusable bottle or cup. Not only are we helping the environment by filling a reusable bottle, but it saves us money too.
4. Donate, Sell, or Buy Used Clothes
When decluttering the wardrobe, don’t put clothes in the garbage. Donate them to a church, a shelter, Goodwill, or other facilities that accept clothing. If you’re looking to make extra money, then try selling them on eBay or at a resale shop.
Challenge yourself to an experiment by trying not to buy new clothes and get used clothes instead. You’ll be surprised to find what nice things there are on eBay or other shops. And it’s another great way to save money!
5. Don’t Buy More Than You Need
Take inventory of what’s needed before buying anything. How many times have you found that after buying something, you already had it? Yep, I’ve been there and it’s one of many reasons why I minimize what I own because it’s easier to take inventory with less things. Checking what you have first prevents waste (in the home and the landfill) and once again, saves money.
I haven’t tried this yet, but making compost at home with food scraps and yard waste will reduce 20 – 30 percent of what ends up in the landfill (EPA). The cool thing is that compost can be made indoors or outdoors.