Did you know that Floridians throw away about eight pounds of garbage per person every day? That’s double the national average. Unfortunately, our trash wastes energy and materials. Waste also releases pollutants into the environment.
While trash can have a large environmental impact, there are ways to reduce this problem. As a start, try shopping with the environment in mind, known as “enviroshopping.” Enviroshopping includes buying products that can be reused or recycled, ones that don’t pollute air and water, and ones that make the best use of energy resources.
Packaging for products accounts for 30 percent of household waste. Most packaging efficiently uses material, but some packaging is excessive. Excessive packaging wastes valuable materials and adds to the disposal problem. Opt for products that don’t use many materials in design and packaging and have the least environmental impact.
Also, recycle packing once you’re finished with it. Aluminum and glass are recyclable materials, and some paper and plastic can be recycled. Reuse the package if you can’t recycle it. For example, divided cookie trays can be used as drawer organizers and drawstring mesh citrus bags can be used as laundry bags.
Another way to reduce waste is “pre-cycling,” or reducing garbage before you buy it. Here are some ways to prevent waste before it enters your home:
- Take your own grocery bags to the store to reduce your need for new ones. Also, use your own bags for small purchases.
- Buy large quantity products rather than several small products.
- When buying large containers of food, don’t buy more than you can eat before it spoils.
- Choose products with reusable dishes whenever possible.
- Purchase loose fruits and vegetables as opposed to produce in packaging.
Enviroshoppers can make positive impacts by remembering the five “R’s” of enviroshopping:
- Reject unsatisfactory packaging.
- Recycle when possible.
- Reuse or repurpose packaging.
- Reduce the amount of packaging you purchase and throw away.
- Respond to producers by letting them know your concerns related to packaging.
Adapted and excerpted from:
M. Hammer, J. Papadi, and M. Gutter, Enviroshopping: Buy Smarter (FCS3158), UF/IFAS Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences (rev. 09/2012).
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