It’s hard to believe, but 2022 is here. Why not make this the year to go green? Now is the perfect time to set resolutions for a greener, healthier planet as well.
With so many messages surrounding us about how to live sustainably, we understand it can feel daunting to know where to start. The good news is that waste reduction is a simple and impactful place to begin your sustainability journey, and it can be done anywhere and anytime. We’ve made it easy to set and achieve your sustainability goals for a healthier planet by following WM’s top 5 waste reduction tips for 2022.
Compost your food scraps. Don’t put away that compost cart for the season! In addition to yard trimmings, any food scraps – including meat, bones and dairy – can and should go in your compost cart. This is an excellent way to reduce waste, as around 20% of the landfill is still made up of food waste. Grab some compostable bags and set up a food collection container in your kitchen for apple cores, vegetable peels and any other food scraps that would otherwise be thrown away. Don’t have compost service? Sign up by visiting wmnorthwest.com.
Recycle all clean paper and cardboard. Nearly all paper is recyclable, and yet it continues to be a leading recyclable item ending up in the landfill. Talk to your family or roommates about making a household commitment to keep all cardboard, office paper and junk mail out of the trash.
Keep recyclables empty, clean and loose. In order for recyclables to be turned into new products, they must be properly prepared. This means emptying containers of all liquids and giving bottles, jugs and tubs a quick rinse. When materials are ready to go into the recycling, be sure to empty them loose into the cart — not in plastic bags. This allows recyclables to be sorted by material type at the recycling center.
Keep plastic bags and other “tanglers” out of the recycling. Only recycle items shown on the recycling guide. Putting non-recyclable items in your blue cart such as plastic bags, plastic film and holiday lights can tangle around and shut down sorting equipment. View your local recycling list at wmnorthwest.com.
Prioritize reducing and reusing. Once you have a strong recycling system in place, challenge yourself to follow the first 2 R’s — Reduce and Reuse. Reducing waste is even more impactful for sustainability than recycling and composting. Even if a plastic bottle is recycled, for instance, it still takes energy and resources to produce that product in the first place. Reduce countless plastic bottles, grocery bags and other single-use items by opting for reusable products.
Cheers to a healthier, greener planet in 2022 and beyond.
Karissa Jones is Waste Management’s recycling education and outreach manager. Learn more about waste reduction at wmnorthwest.com.