Ways to Reduce Your Waste – Save Money, Save the Environment

Mary Mart

With more and more ways popping up to create waste, it can get overwhelming. We see this in all the litter lining the sidewalks, especially in places like 6th Ave. The cannabis industry, through packaging, has only added to this issue.

Moreover, the Tacoma landfill is actually full and all our waste is transported further to another landfill. What we leave in landfills is our legacy. We can choose the legacy we want to leave.

Especially with the added changes in recycling, it’s an important time to learn how we can reduce our waste and improve our individual sustainability efforts.

In the third blog of our sustainability series, we will go over ways we as individuals can reduce our waste.

 

Trash Waste

The less garbage you throw away, the less you have to pay for curbside services. This alone is a good reason to waste less!

A key way to reduce how much waste you produce is by using more reusable items instead of single-use items that go in the garbage. Some examples include:

  • Bringing a reusable mug or thermos to your favorite coffee shop;
  • Using metal straws (if applicable) instead of plastic or paper straws;
  • Using cloth napkins instead of paper napkins and cloth rags instead of paper towels;
  • Reusing gift bags or wrapping presents in fabric or old newspapers (or gifting experiences instead of things).

The holidays tend to be a time when a lot of waste is created (and wrapping paper is not recyclable). With that time quickly approaching, it’ll be an opportune time to exercise sustainability at the individual level.

 

Food Waste

Knowing what you have to buy beforehand will allow you to potentially reduce your food waste. It will prevent you from buying excess amounts and will also allow you to figure out what reusable containers to use if buying unpackaged items in bulk (e.g.: tea, spices, grains, pastas, detergent, etc.). Marlene’s Market and Metropolitan Market are two local food stores that offer bulk selections.

Plus, you can compost your food waste if that’s available to you. That way, your food waste will be converted to organic soil and/or renewable natural gas for heating!

 

Recycling (less plastic use, avoiding packaged goods by going to local markets, etc)

Counter with fresh vegetables and a sign of local products.

Buying and selecting items that can be recycled is always a better option than non-recyclables (make sure to always recycle properly!). But to further prevent wish-cycling, there are alternatives that are completely waste-free.

For example:

  • Purchasing produce from a farmer’s market and using reusable bags;
  • Using reusable shopping bags in general or reusing the same paper bags from previous shopping trips;
  • Reusing containers, especially glass jars for bulk items like detergent, flour, tea, etc.

 

Cannabis Packaging

Reducing your waste can be a bit trickier when it comes to choosing cannabis products since much of cannabis packaging is non-recyclable waste. 

In general, it’s best to choose cannabis products that come in recyclable packaging: glass jars, paper-based packaging, recyclable plastic (e.g.: #5 joint tubes), and biodegradable packaging.

If, for some reason, your favorite company does not have sustainable packaging, you may reach out to urge them to reconsider their decision.

 

Get Involved!

Hand picking up garbage plastic for cleaning at park

In addition to cultivating sustainability on an individual level, each one of us can do more by helping to clean up the streets of our city. 

If you missed out on Mary Mart’s 6th Ave Clean Up, don’t worry! Our Spring/Summer clean-up will pick back up in March 2020. In the meantime, there are other opportunities to help keep Tacoma beautiful. 

The next big clean-up effort in Tacoma will be on October 26th. It is a citywide clean-up day deemed Litter-Be-Gone! Check out the Facebook event page here

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