Waste Reduction

Like everyone else, I produce waste. My home (me, husband, children, our cat and dog) fills a 32-gallon trash can in about a week. This is in the average about 520 pounds of garbage per year per capita (or 2080 lb for my family). This also happens to be the average amount of garbage produced by an American family in a week.

That's a lot.

I bought the book Zero Waste from Bea Johnson who lives waste-free with her husband and two sons since 2008. Bea has set herself the challenge of producing as little waste as possible. Today, she produces only one liter a year with her family and explains in her book how to do the same.

Its "method" is based on five points:

  • Refuse,
  • Reduce,
  • Reuse,
  • Recycle,
  • Compost.

In this article, I will look at the first of these points: Refuse.

Mrs. Johnson explains that to reduce waste, you have to start by reducing your consumption. Reduce what we buy, but also reduce what we accept, so refuse more.

Refuse disposable plastic items: plastic bags, cups, plastic cutlery that are easily replaceable by a reusable equivalent.

Refuse free gifts and samples. Yes, I know it's hard. I myself can't get out of a hotel without picking up soaps and small bottles of shampoo. I then take them away during my next stay in a hotel from where I leave with new bottles, it's a vicious circle, it never ends.

Refuse advertising prints: thanks, among other things.

Refuse unsustainable practices: Refuse business cards (personally, I don't get many), refuse receipts (there, I do not always succeed because they are handy), refuse over packaged products (like the tube of toothpaste surrounded by cardboard box, or other products with excess packaging.

Next time I will explain what Bea means by Reducing.

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