Reduce plastic consumption whenever possible Think about all the single-use plastic you use throughout a given day; it's probably a lot! Although it is difficult to completely rid your life of plastic, there are a lot of ways to cut it down. Where can, substitute single-use plastic objects for reusable ones. Check out some easy substitutions below.
Compost Whether you make or purchase your composting system, it is a great way to reduce your household waste, re-mediate some contamination, and generate soils. A guide to composting can be found below, or, click here for a composting challenge guide!
Learn About Ecycle Some items can't just be thrown out like normal garbage. In particular, electronics are especially hard for trash collectors to dispose of, and must be redirected to specialized facilities for proper breakdown, reuse, and disposal. Use the references below to learn more about disposal of electronic waste.
Go Digital with Your Mail Switching your subscriptions and bills to online can save a lot of paper! Check to see if the companies and organizations you belong to have digital billing or subscription options.
Borrow, Don't Buy Why waste money on items you'll only use once or twice a year? By borrowing things from friends and family or buying items second-hand, you not only cut down on the amount of things you own, but also on the amount of waste you create! Second-hand items can be just as good as new, and will save you a lot of money.
Oversize Waste Have over sized items that you can't dispose of in the trash? A sofa, desk, chair, or computer? Instead of leaving these items out doors or taking them to the Monona Public Works Garage (they are not accepted there), please take it to the Dane County Landfill, located at 7102 US Highway 12, Madison, WI 53718. Click here to go to their website.
Keep scrolling for more tips on how to reduce your solid waste!
Cut out Plastic!
Our world is filled with plastic - it's near impossible to escape. While plastic is extremely durable and useful, it is poses a massive threat to the environment for these same reasons. Plastic does not decompose or break down the same way other materials might, and thus poses a serious environmental threat to wildlife and ecosystems. Instead of breaking down, plastic breaks up - meaning, that instead of dissolving into soil or digested by animals, tiny particulates of plastic linger and don't break down.
As a consumer, you have the power to make more sustainable purchases and orient your spending away from single-use plastic!
Here are some ways you can reduce the waste you create from single-use plastics:
Reusable Grocery Bags - canvas, cloth, or paper are all good options
Make Food from Scratch - this eliminates the need for any transportation packaging
Glass or Metal Straws - you can't chew on it, but you can cut plastic use!
Reusable Sandwich Bags - they're cleaner, safer, and reusable
Steer Clear from Bagged Foods - a lot of foods at the grocery store come bagged, which isn't necessary! Plenty of foods come without it
BYO Takeout Containers - many takeout boxes are styrofoam or plastic, so this is a great way to reduce that consumption
Use Natural Cleaning Cloths - eliminates chemicals and cuts out waste
Thrift Shop - buying things secondhand is a great way to reuse and recycle
Bar Soap - the plastic pump is unnecessary
Glass or Metal Water Bottles - one of the easiest ways to prevent plastic waste
Reuse Produce Bags - those little bags you put apples or broccoli in? Reuse them the next time you go shopping!
Glass Baby Bottles - little sleeves can be fitted over them so they don't break when dropped
Use Powdered Dishwasher Detergent - pods and other wrapped detergents have unnecessary packaging
Glass or Metal Kitchen Appliances - salad spinners, blenders, knives, and whisks can all be replaced with non-plastic options
Composting is a process of decomposing organic materials to recycle the nutrients they hold into a rich soil fertilizer - compost! If you have a fruit or vegetable garden, or do any type of active landscaping in your yard, you have a reason to compost. This fertilizer is free, and extremely nutrient dense since none of it is chemically modified.
By diverting kitchen scraps away from the trash bin, you can cut your household waste by up to 30%!
Here are some items that can go in your compost bucket:
Ash (fully cooled)
Beer and wine
Citrus and melon rinds
Coffee grounds and tea bags
Cotton or wool
Crepe paper streamers
Crumbs or bread scraps
Fruits and vegetables
Hay and lawn clippings
Human hair and nail clippings
Kleenex tissues (even if used)
Non-Styrofoam egg cartons
Paper cupcake cups
Paper towels, plates, napkins (even if used)
Pet fur or feathers
Stale tortilla chips, potato chips, and crackers
Sunflower seed, peanut, and pistachio shells
Toothpicks and Q-tips (non-plastic)
Dryer lint and “dust bunnies”
Envelopes (without plastic window)
Flowers or leaves
Ecycle Education & Awareness
Learning how to dispose of your used electronics is an imperative to being a conscious consumer. Unlike typical plastics, electronics have to undergo specialized processes to disassemble complex components, and are considered hazardous waste. Additionally, personal information may be stored on electronic devices (especially computers) and if disposed of incorrectly, this information can be recovered and abused. In order to assure that your information is protected and electronics recycled properly, looking in to a given recycler is worth your time.
Watch the video below for a thorough introduction to ecycling.