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6 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste & Be Green

A common argument is that the recycling process causes more harm than good.  While recycling vehicles & factories do give off carbon emissions, they’re intercepting trash from landfills and oceans – which is much more harmful in the long-run.

How can you limit the ‘harm’ of recycling in Philadelphia or your local area?  Reduce the amount of materials you use in everyday life.  Here are 6 ways to limit your waste:

  • No Paper or Plastic.  Use reusable bags whenever you go grocery, clothing or general shopping.  Some stores such as Trader Joes give you .05 cents per reusable bag you use – and you’ll limit your plastic bag collection.  (One enthusiastic clerk punched in that I had 10 bags, giving me .50 cents back.) This also can prevent that embarassing situation of plastic bags ripping and your purchases spilled all over the parking lot.  Reusable bags can cost as little as $1 so you can leave a few anywhere convenient – in your car,  by your front door or even folded inside your purse or gym bag.
  • BYOC– Bring your own cup or mug when picking up coffee from Wawa or Starbucks.  Stores will often give you a discount on beverages when using reusable cups.  If you’re an everyday coffee drinker at Wawa, you can save at least $26 per year – 26 free coffees!  
  • Leave free giveaways with vendors- Although I would encourage taking free lip gloss anyday, many company advertisements become dust collectors in the form of useless key chains and other objects you’ll never use.  Although they’ll be tempting to pick up, don’t take it if you won’t use it. 
  • Buy economy size – or the largest size you’ll be able to use.  You’ll save cash with larger quantities & limit packaging.
  • Purchase refillable products – Choose soap or other products that sell refills.  You can display the smaller size but keep the economy size bottles under the sink and reduce packaging.
  • Purchase recyclable products – With over 50 shampoo brands and endless choices in markets, check the bottom of the plastic container for the little triangular recycle symbol.  (Remember Philadelphia, be sure the number is 1 or 2 for plastics.)  You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to find a similar product in recyclable materials.

Posted by Julie

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Julie Hancher is Editor-in-Chief of Green Philly, sharing her expertise of all things sustainable in the city of brotherly love. She enjoys long walks in the park with local beer and greening her travels, cooking & cat, Sir Floofus Drake. View all posts by Julie Hancher

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