As the hustle of the holiday season comes to an end, the new year offers a chance to think about new beginnings. It is a fresh start for our habits and offers an opportunity set a vision for the year ahead.
There are many actions you can do to conserve resources, minimize the impacts of products, and reduce waste in your daily life. Check out these New Year’s resolutions and pick the one that works best for you.
Need some info to get started? Call or email Metro’s waste prevention experts for more tips to achieve your New Year’s waste prevention resolution. Ask Metro at 503-234-3000
Buying sustainable products
1. Use reusable bags for groceries. Opting for reusable bags saves resources, reduces plastic pollution and protects workers remove plastic bags that get tangled in sorting machines. Using reusable bags twice a week for a year would keep 104 single-use bags out of the trash.
2. Bring your own reusable water bottle. People in the U.S. purchase about 50 billion bottles of water per year and 75% go into the trash. Switching to refillable water bottles reduces one of the biggest contributors to plastic waste.
3. Ditch the paper towels. Paper towels contribute 7.5 billion pounds of waste per year. Instead, you can swap to Swedish dishcloths, cotton kitchen towels or repurpose old clothing into rags.
Waste prevention habits
4. Stop before you buy. The phrase “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” lists them in that order for a reason, manufacturing new products takes more resources than reusing or recycling them. Buying fewer things, choosing things that will last longer and giving gifts of experiences all lessen the impacts of manufacturing.
5. Repair instead of discarding. Repairing broken things can reduce waste and save money. Look for local experts or learn a new skill yourself. Check out local repair cafes to meet volunteers who give their time and repair expertise.
6. Cut down on food waste. Food that ends up in the trash emits methane, a powerful greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Use a “first in, first out” method to go through groceries and look for meal planning calculators to see how much food you need to make.
7. Make use of bulk food and refill stores. Buying from the bulk food aisle and zero waste stores helps people avoid using bulky containers and packaging – some stores carry free reusable jars you can fill and return.
8. Donate your unwanted things. When you donate things you can’t use anymore, you give someone else a chance to make use of them, and adding to the circular economy reduces the need to make new products!
Keeping toxic wastes out of the environment
9. Recycle your old electronics. Many old electronics contain harmful materials like lead and mercury that we want to keep out of our environment. The Oregon E-cycles program has over 200 collection locations throughout the state. Find a location by visiting the Oregon E-cycles website.
10. Use eco-friendly cleaning products. People use an average of 40 pounds of cleaners each year, and many of common cleaning products contain harmful ingredients. You can switch to less toxic store-bought products or make your own healthy cleaners at home.
11. Go pesticide free in your garden. Garden chemicals can also be harmful to humans, pets, wildlife and waterways. Switching out your practices and products can make your garden as safe as it is beautiful. Got a question on how to start? Try the metro area Master Gardener hotline at 503-821-1115.