THE FIVE R's
Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and restore!
When dining out, decline the plastic straw or carry a reusable metal one. Take along a reusable container for leftovers; you'll avoid over-eating and have lunch for tomorrow. Pack school/work lunches in reusable containers.
Carry a reusable water bottle. Take a ceramic coffee mug to work or the coffee shop.
Avoid individual servings -- since even recyclable items smaller than 2" by 2" fall through screens at recycling-sorting plants and end up in the landfill.
Buy as little plastic and Styrofoam packaging as you can. Some plastic gets recycled, but the fossil fuel products used to make plastic are so cheap and plentiful, they're undercutting plastics recycling markets.
Store cloth shopping bags next to your grocery list.
When choosing clothes and shoes, avoid fads and flimsy fabrics. Choose comfortable clothes and shoes that fit well and are made to last to get plenty of wear from them. Don't forget second-hand and consignment shops.
Before tossing something you no longer need, consider whether anyone else could use it. Could you donate it to a friend or a local charity, such as clothes to Goodwill, furnishings to Habitat ReStore or shoes to Water Step?
Composting is a great way to turn food scraps into a valuable soil amendment. Learn more about DIY backyard composting here. Or sign up for composting services from LCAN member Louisville Compost Co-op.
Metro Louisville has lots of recycling opportunities for everyone, including homeowners, renters, and small businesses. Learn more here, where you'll find information on composting and household hazardous materials, too.
If you put recyclables in a plastic bag, make sure it's transparent. Workers aren't allowed to handle bags if they can't see through them. Don't let yours end up in the landfill for safety concerns.
Restore & Close the Loop
Plant a tree. Print only what you need, but do so on paper with at least 30% post-consumer recycled content. Buy packaged groceries in boxes made of recycled paper. Choose office and school supplies made of recycled content.
If a product you like is over-packaged, isn't made or recycled content and/or can't be recycled readily, call the manufacturer's toll-free number on its package and tell them you want them to help close the recycling loop. If you're considering switching to another product, tell them politely.