“Reduce, reuse, and recycle” isn’t just a cool slogan; it’s also a great way to save money and cut down on how much waste we produce. This includes plastic. Plastic products like bags and wraps are convenient and abundant, leading to excess use. Those extra plastic bags take up extra space in landfills or end up littering the streets.
Finding a high-quality vertical baler is one way of dealing with excess plastic, but there are other options that can help you keep control of your plastic waste. Try out these tips so you can apply the 3 Rs to your lifestyle. With a few adjustments, you can find easy, cost-effective ways to deal with extra plastic more efficiently.
1. Bring your own bag when shopping
One of the easier ways to reduce plastic waste is following a “bring your own bag” policy. Many stores offer reusable bags, making it a great way to reduce your plastic waste. For ideal results, use cotton bags rather than polyester or nylon, which are still made from plastic. To help you get in the habit of taking your own bag to the groceries, keep the bag somewhere handy between trips (like in the car or by the front door).
Reusable bags can often fit more items inside than plastic bags, letting you carry more items and make the most of each shopping trip. While you’re at it, keep general food safety tips in mind when using reusable bags. It’s a good idea to sanitize your bags after use to eliminate any germs you’ve picked up on your next grocery run.
2. Buy in bulk
The next time you buy food, avoid looking for single servings or ones that come in small plastic containers. Instead, buy more food from the bulk bins. Many grains, pasta, nuts, dried fruit, and candy can often be purchased in bulk. This approach is often more cost-effective; buying in large numbers is usually cheaper, and you’ll have more food to make larger and more varied meals.
A more effective way of buying in bulk is by bringing your own refillable containers. Stores usually weigh your container before and after filling for accurate pricing. Using your own containers also saves you from carrying bags from the store.
3. Avoid goods packaged in plastic
As you shop, make a point of buying items that aren’t packaged in plastic. Instead, bring your own produce bags, or look for reusable mesh bags for fruits and vegetables that need to be bagged. Not only is it a great way to reduce the plastic you use, but it sends a message that consumers like you prefer sustainable packaging.
When possible, choose items packaged in cardboard over plastic. Cardboard is generally much easier to recycle and biodegrades faster and more easily than plastic.
4. Be mindful about packed lunches
If you’re the type to pack your own lunch instead of ordering out, take some time to optimize your approach and cut down on plastic use. Instead of packing snacks and sandwiches in bags, look around for reusable containers you can keep them in. While you’re at it, opt for fresh fruit instead of single-serving fruit cups if you need a dessert at the end.
Another thing you can try is buying food items in bulk. For each lunch, portion out how much need you need in reusable dishes so you don’t have to settle for single-serve ones. However, if you’re set on buying food, look for takeaway lunch places that serve food in cardboard boxes rather than plastic to make after-meal recycling easier.
5. Stay away from gum
Giving up a few habits like chewing gum are some other surprising ways of reducing plastic usage. Gum was originally made from natural tree rubber, but modern gums are made from synthetic rubber. Whenever you chew gum, you’re actually chewing on plastic. Cut yourself off from chewing gum to minimize how much plastic you use. The little things often tend to pile up, and reducing gum consumption can matter quite a bit in the long run.
6. Get yourself a reusable water bottle
One powerful reduce, reuse, and recycle fact is to prioritize reusable items. Using a reusable water bottle is a good example. Many disposable water bottles end up in the trash, so it helps to have your own container you can use multiple times.
Reusable bottles and travel mugs are easy to find and are highly portable. In addition, places like coffee shops offer discounts if you use your own thermos or mug when ordering. Having your own container also means you can make your drinks at home, saving you the need to purchase plastic packets for your favourite beverages.
7. Avoid plastic straws
When it comes to cutting down on waste, sometimes the little things make a world of difference. Eliminating straws from your everyday routine may not sound like much, but it adds up over time. The next time you order beverages, inform your server you don’t intend to use a straw to ensure you stick to your commitment.
If you are set on drinking from a straw, look into reusable steel or bamboo options. You can also make a similar commitment to not using disposable plastic utensils. Instead, bring your personal on-the-go utensils for eating takeout. Stash them in your office to give yourself an easy way to eat lunch without adding to your plastic trash.
8. Repurpose your plastic for other jobs
Even after you’ve already used them, plastic containers can be repurposed afterward and used around the house. Take your old plastic bags and reuse them to carry your groceries. It isn’t as ideal as taking a cloth bag, but you’re getting more use out of bags you’d ordinarily throw away.
You can also cut up old plastic bottles and use them as planters or bird feeders, or wash old plastic cups and containers and use them to keep craft supplies. There are all sorts of ways you can give your old plastic containers new purpose after they’ve apparently outlived their usefulness. Making art projects out of recycled materials is a creative way to make use of any items around the house. Use your imagination to transform plastic items you’d normally consign to the recycle bin into useful pieces.
9. Return reusable containers
Whenever you visit supermarkets or farmer’s markets, use reusable containers to carry your food after buying. Other than being usable multiple times, these containers can also be returned to the market for later reuse. Like other products, it’s more cost-effective to reuse containers than to make a new one, especially when the alternative is buying single-serving food items. Make a habit of either reusing or returning containers when you’re done with them. This saves the resources and effort that goes into making a new container and helps reduce your carbon footprint.
Recycling is great for the environment and your wallet, but it occasionally helps to have some equipment to make the task more convenient. Try looking into used baling equipment for an easy answer to organizing your recyclable materials.
Recycling is excellent for reducing plastic use in your life and saving you money, but sometimes it pays to have a helping hand. At Baleforce Recycling Equipment, we provide a wide range of machines to make recycling faster, easier, and safer. Give us a call now at (416) 235-1900 to place an order for balers that can make recycling all the better for you.