How much trash do you make in a week?
The average American family creates about eighteen pounds of trash per day - that's equal to the weight of three bricks! Most of that waste is sent to a local landfill, where items like plastic can take decades or longer to degrade. Items in your recycling bin may also end up in a landfill. Landfill waste is harmful to the environment because it produces a powerful greenhouse gas called methane, which contributes to climate change. Climate change will impact everything in our lives, including the seasons, the ocean, plants, and animals.
People around the world are trying to produce less trash, and there are many resources about low-waste living. You can join the movement by learning about your habits and finding easy ways to reduce your trash.
Learn more about what goes in your trash can and work to create less waste
1. Look at your trash
2. Find solutions with research
Based on your trash can, research and find solutions to reduce your waste.
- Food waste: Start a compost pile or drop off your compost at a local farm or market
- Food waste: Start meal-planning with your family
- Food waste: Can you make something at home to reduce packaging?
- Paper towels and napkins: Replace with rags or old fabric
- To-go food packaging like plastic cups and styrofoam - bring your own containers and cups when you get takeout
- Plastic water bottles - use a reusable bottle or an old jar
- Packaging from new items (toys, clothes, books) - borrow, buy used, or trade for new items
- More tips here
Using less waste takes practice. Decide on a few ways that you will reduce your trash this week. What is easy? What is difficult? Can you keep up some of these new habits?
Take a photo of you working on your task for the week and share it on social media. Make sure to tag @peancorg and #PEAYoungLeaders to be entered into the weekly Young Eco Leaders Raffle.
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