In 1960, the average American generated about 1,000 pounds of trash per year. Today, we create about 1,800 pounds each. Sixty years ago, no one was dumb enough to pay for a plastic bottle of water. If you went out for a cup of coffee, it was served in a ceramic mug that would be used 1,000’s of times. The apples, lettuce and grapes at the grocery store were in a bin, not in plastic bags or rigid plastic containers.
If you are serious about reducing your impact on the planet, you must look at the amount of trash you produce. Start out by doing a little audit and examine what is in your weekly trash. Separate your trash into piles. What could be recycled? What could be composted? There are certain things you can’t put in your curbside recycling. But Recycle Utah will take a wide range of items like glass, Styrofoam, soft plastics, batteries, corks, metal lids, printer cartridges.
After doing my trash audit, I realized soft plastics, by volume, were my biggest source of waste. I was surprised how much of our groceries came pre-packed in plastic bags. There were wrappers from bread, frozen vegetables, baby carrots, shredded cheese, walnuts, grapes, apples, box liners from cereal, crackers, frozen waffles and from the Mother’s Day flowers. Then there were bigger plastic bags from dog food, lawn fertilizers and water softener salt, all of which can be put in the soft plastics bin at Recycle Utah.
Even though we are recycling soft plastics, it would be better if we could reduce the amount brought home from the store. Next week our goal is to only purchase fruits and vegetables that are unpackaged.
Please join us, together we will make a healthier planet.
By Peter Murray, Stardust Sustainables