10 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Waste by Nude Foods Market
The average American produces 1,704 pounds of trash each year. That’s enough to fill 23 million garbage trucks – or 50 garbage trucks per minute!
And before we pat ourselves on the back for our awesome recycling habits here in Colorado, only 12% of our waste gets recycled, which is well under the national average of 35%.
Most of us feel totally powerless against the ever growing tsunami of plastic. It has become a seemingly inevitable part of life. What a pain!
Well, good news. Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your waste SIGNIFICANTLY:
- The United States uses more than 36 billion disposable utensils a year. Laid end to end, they could wrap around the globe 139 times. So put together a ‘Go Bag’ that includes reusable silverware, a collapsible food container for take out and leftovers, a reusable water bottle and coffee mug. (P.S. Compostable products may actually be doing more harm than good so focus on reuse above all else!)
- One person’s trash is another person’s treasure….. Instead of throwing away things you don’t need, post them on local websites like Buy Nothing Boulder, Nextdoor, Boulder Collective, or Craigslist. You’ll be amazed at what people will take off your hands!
- Birthdays and holidays seem to have become synonymous with plastic. By going along with this social norm, we’re teaching our families and friends to value stuff. Instead, focus on experiences when giving and receiving. Show them the damage plastic is doing the earth and request gifts that are sustainable and good for the environment. Get people to donate to a cause instead or swap previously loved items. People only care that it’s new to them.
- Recycle everything you can! Boulder is lucky enough to have SO many recycling resources. Take your clothes to Common Threads, Childish Things or Rags. Take building materials to Resource Central. Take plastic bags, big block styrofoam and myriad other hard-to-recycle items to the CHaRM or Green Girl Recycling. Review their recycling guidelines before you go as you might find that you can recycle unexpected items. (Please avoid “wishcycling” – this is where we put it in the recycling in the hope it’s recyclable. If in doubt, leave it out.)
- Shop for groceries at zero waste stores. As an owner of Nude Foods Market, I might be biased but we were voted one of the top 15 Independent Grocers in the US and have over 120 five-star reviews so I’m not alone : ) We make shopping zero waste EASY by doing all the hard work for you. We’re a full service store offering everything from Produce, Prepared Meals and Groceries to Cleaning Products, Body Care and Bulk all in reusable, returnable jars. Plus we offer a changing weekly menu of scratch-made prepared meals that go jar to table in 5 minutes, perfect for busy people. Live in Longmont? Check out Simply Bulk for your grocery needs.
- Shop Second Hand. Boulder County has some amazing thrift stores and consignment stores. I buy 90% of my clothes from Common Threads! We have Play It Again Sports, Boulder Sports Recycler, Craigslist and Facebook marketplace. Skip ordering from Amazon and see what you can find pre-loved. I did all my family’s holiday shopping second hand and everyone loved it!
- Be an Activist. Corporations create and sell plastic because WE buy it. If you stop going with the flow and start to refuse to buy these things then they will change. Vote with your dollars and tell them WHY you are no longer shopping with them. A fast-casual chain switched to only offering plastic takeout containers and no dine-in options, so we don’t shop there anymore.
- Sharing is Caring: My mind boggles about the number of occasional-use items we all own. Power drills for the 3x a year we’ll use them. In Boulder, a ton of people have snow blowers for the 7 times a year we get to snow blow. SO MANY TOOLS in the garage that are used once and then probably never again. So many cars driving to Eldora with just one person in them. So try borrowing / renting stuff rather than owning it. Resource Central has a tool library where you can rent almost anything you need. Club together with your neighbors and have one snowblower for the ‘hood. Use Colorado Car Share and make use of the rental cars they have all over Boulder. Use the library. This list is endless.
- Go Bag Free: If you’re composting then your trash should be pretty ‘clean’ so if you’re still using a plastic trash bag to line your can, STOP. It’s unnecessary. Just empty your bin straight into your outdoor bin, immediately saving a ton of plastic from landfill.
- Get on your bike: We live in one of the most bike-friendly cities in the world. I bike almost every day (I have finally given up riding on super snowy days as I’m scared of breaking something) and it makes me SO happy! You’re exercising, getting fresh air and sunshine AND you’re saving the planet all at the same time. Boulder is geographically tiny so getting from one side to another on a bike is easy.
Good luck and thank you for doing your part to save the planet!