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The Three R's: Reduce Your Impact by Thinking Before You Purchase

May 08, 2019

The Three Rs

As the recycling industry implements changes across the globe, there has been a renewed focus on the hard-to-recycle items and habits contributing to the waste stream.

Headlines about plastic waste and fluctuations in the recycling industry have brought awareness to the impact single-use products and our daily habits have on the planet. This blog post is the first of a three part series that will cover REDUCE, REUSE and RECYCLE to create a more sustainable environment. Be on the lookout for our future posts that will talk about reuse and recycling.

Reduce Blog 1

Imagine buying a new pair of sneakers only to throw them away after running in them one time. It seems absurd. And yet, every day we throw away items like cups, utensils, and plastic containers that require time and an abundant amount of resources to produce in just minutes.

The affordable conveniences of modern living have made us wasteful.  But, it doesn’t have to be this way. 

Reduce Blog

We can reduce our impact by pausing to think about purchases and investments wisely. It helps to take a hard look at how much waste we're producing through daily habits. For example, grabbing coffee on the way into work every morning leaves us with a throwaway container. This can easily be remedied by switching out the disposable cup for a reusable mug. Many places welcome this and may even offer a discount. 

Buying in bulk to reduce single-use plastic containers for items like yogurt or cottage cheese can reduce the amount of single-use plastic going into the trash. Storing reusable water bottles in the fridge so they’re just as easy to grab as a plastic one from the store is another smart start. Other actions, like bringing your own bags to the grocery store, are becoming the norm as fees and bans are implemented across the region.

To help get in the reduce habit, Beth Kwart, Chair of the Surfrider Foundation, South Jersey Chapter, suggests keeping bags, silverware or storage containers in your car and a post-it note on your steering wheel that says “Remember Your Bags!”

For one week, we challenge residents to write down or take photos of everything they throw away. The practice is often an eye-opening experience and opens the door to a more sustainable lifestyle. We invite you to share your results and ideas with us on social media.