EARTH (WTAJ) – Have you ever wondered how many single-use items you use every day? Do you use a plastic spoon to eat your lunch at work or do you stop for lunch at a fast food restaurant and use a plastic straw? Do you stop for a daily coffee?
Americans use more than 561,000,000,000 pieces of single-use utensils every year, according to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The waste problem isn’t just about plastic. Think about the things in your life that you use and then immediately throw away.
Here are some ways you reuse in your life!
Add reusable cutlery to your bag
We use a lot of plastic spoons, forks, straws and knives every year. Every day the United States discards around 500,000,000 straws that will either end up in a landfill or the ocean, according to Habits of Waste. Do you remember in 2019, when VSCO girls took the internet by storm saying that you needed to buy a metal straw to save the turtles? Well, that trend had some very good intentions behind it.
If you added cutlery and a metal straw to your bag just think about all the single-use plastics you could avoid. You can avoid grabbing them at fast food restaurants and from the break room at work.
Wearing your clothes more than once
The average American family washes 400 loads of laundry a year and each load uses roughly 40 gallons of water, according to How Stuff Works. That equates to 16,000 gallons of water. Holy cow!
But did you know that you’re supposed to wear your clothes more than once before washing them?
Here’s how often your clothes should be worn, according to Whirlpool:
- Shirts and blouses: after 1-2 wearings
- Dress pants or slacks: after 2-3 wearings
- Jeans: after 4-5 wearings
- Sweaters: up to 6 wearings, if worn with an undershirt; 1-2 wearings if worn without an undershirt
- Suits/blazers/casual jackets: after 5-6 wearings
- Workout clothes: after 1 wearing
- Sleepwear: after 2-3 wearings
While this all depends on your job and daily activities you should try to re-wear whenever possible.
Learn to love your leftovers
Another way you can reuse and save money is by eating all the food you buy. Americans throw away 103 pounds of food from their fridge every year, according to Waste 360. This equates to $53.81 worth of food a week.
You can create better habits by taking into account what you buy or meal planning for every week. Think about the food you have in your fridge and use it up before you buy something new.
Create a plan for how you’ll use your leftovers instead of placing them in the back of the fridge to be forgotten about. Also, keep track of canned goods. If you’re not going to use take it to a food bank.
Think about the products you use/buy
Taking the time to look at what you purchase can also impact the environment. The average American uses 145 rolls of paper towels every year, according to Tiny Waste. Rather than contributing to the waste problem consider buying an alternative. Cloth towels serve as equally effective tools to paper towels.
You can also use washrags rather than sponges. Around 400,000,000 are thrown away each year, according to Recycled and Renewed. Considering most are made of plastic and take years to break down, they can wreak havoc on a variety of ecosystems.
Most single-use plastics can be replaced with something reusable. So think about the environment when it comes to your next purchase.
Rechargeable rather than single-use
Batteries are considered to be hazardous waste, but in most households, they are thrown away in regular trash. The average household throws away more than 3,000,000,000 batteries making 180,000 tons of hazardous waste, according to Heal the Planet.
While they don’t last forever rechargeable batteries can last longer than most alkaline batteries. Most can last between two to five years and can be recharged again and again, according to Batteries Plus.
Whilst they will eventually have to be discarded you should make sure to do so correctly to also help the environment. You can find more information about recycling batteries here.
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There are tons of ways to help the environment and if you’re interested in attending an Earth Day event you can check out a full list of local events here.
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