Waste

The Life of a File Folder

Try using 100% recycled file folders with postconsumer recycled fiber. This fiber is derived from paper that is recovered from the waste stream. You can also flip folders inside-out and reuse them. And that's important when paper makes up about half the trash!

Sticky Note Smarts

Look for paper notes made of 100% recycled fiber and at least 30% postconsumer content. Sales of adhesive notes are estimated at about $1 billion per year. A pack of 100 sells for about $1.25, which means that some 80 billion little sticky notes are stuck somewhere each year.

Shiny Sterling

Looking for a chemical-free way to shine your holiday sterling? Try plain white toothpaste or – you guessed it – baking soda! For extra-resistant tarnish, leave the baking soda on the sterling for an hour or so before buffing.

Save Time, Money, and Trees With Online Billing

Did you know: The average American spends 2-4 hours per month paying bills when they write and mail paper checks. Put your pen down and sign up for paperless billing today!

Resist the Lure of Upgrades

Cellphone companies are forever encouraging us to switch to the newest, most fashionable handset, sometimes long before the existing one’ is defunct. However, cellphones contain a cocktail of toxic substances that shouldn't be discarded in landfills. Recycling keeps these undesirable elements out of the waste stream and saves the mining and manufacturing impacts of producing new handsets. Consider donating your old phone to charity for recycling when you do need a new one. 

Recharge and Remove Waste

Consider buying rechargeable batteries, and recycling them when you are done with them. Non-rechargeable batteries are tough to recycle and often end up in landfills. In addition, try not to throw batteries in the garbage; instead, find out where they can be recycled!

Proper disposal of CFLs

So, you are rocking the CFLs-saving the planet one light bulb at a time. But, the time has come where you need to replace one, where can you properly dispose of your CFL? To find bulb recycler in your area, check online at one of the below websites: epa.gov/bulb recycling OR earth911.org OR see if your local municipal solid waste agency recycles them.

Pens

Use refillable pens. Pens are often tossed into the garbage and not recycled or reused. Their components and packaging are made from nonrenewable resources and can contain environmentally damaging chemicals. Each year, Americans discard 1.6 billion pens. Placed end to end, they would stretch more than 150,000 miles , equivalent to crossing the Pacific Ocean from Los Angeles to Tokyo more than 25 times!

PCBs and Fishies

One man-made, chlorinated, industrial chemical that is used in electrical transformers, hydraulic fluids, and lubricants that was banned in the 1970s still persists in the environment today, building up at the bottoms of bodies of water and in the fatty tissues of fish and other animals that we consume. So, take precautions by figuring out safe and unsafe fish!

Pack a Waste-Free Lunch

Eliminate plastic bags, plastic utensils, disposable containers, paper napkins, and those brown paper bags by choosing a reusable lunchbox, reusable drink containers, cloth napkins, and silverware. 

Nylon's Many Uses

It seems that nylons only last a few uses before snagging! Don't fear though – these amazing accessories have many uses. You can put them over the end of a broom and use it as a duster that extends to those hard-to-reach places; you can use them to dust or polish your furniture or your shoes; you can save them to stake plants as well!

Holiday Non-Living Trees and Decorations

If you didn't get a live tree this year, or if you have garland or wreaths on hand, make sure you take your past-their-prime greens to a recycling center in your community – almost every municipality has one these days!

Green Cleaning

Consider swapping out your chemical-based home cleaners for baking-soda based or other homemade, nontoxic cleaners.

Don’'t Be a Litter Bug

Dispose of waste properly! Ninety-four percent of Americans identify litter as a major environmental problem. The biggest sources of litter are cigarette butts, bottles, and cans, candy wrappers, and fast-food packaging. In fact, more than 2 billion pounds of cigarette butts are discarded worldwide .

Cut the Wrap

For many Americans, a significant proportion of the household garbage can's contents consists of packaging. Even before recycling, think about avoiding waste when you shop. Consider choosing products sold in refillable containers, and make the effort to reuse them. You can even ask your favorite brands and stores to use/stock products that use this kind of packaging if they don’'t already.  

Caffeine Sustainability

Americans use more than 14 billion paper cups each year, which is enough to circle the world 55 times. Styrofoam cups will stay on the planet for nine generations, enough time for your great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandchildren to be born. 

Buy Less, Reduce Waste

Everything you buy from a store, from radishes to hairclips, required energy to grow or extract, manufacture, package, transport, and sell.  By finding ways to curb consumption, you can cut your carbon footprint. For example, fixing a broken item instead of throwing it away saves the energy that was required to produce the item. Look for specialist repair shops in your area, or learn a new skill yourself, such as furniture upholstery or renovation.