THE FIVE R's
Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and restore!
Decline plastic straws or carry a reusable metal one. Take a reusable container for leftovers to avoid over-eating and have lunch for tomorrow. Pack "brown bag" lunches in reusable containers. Carry a reusable water bottle. Take a ceramic mug to work or the coffee shop. Avoid individual servings (items smaller than 2"x2" fall through sorting-plant screens and end up in the landfill. Decline junk mail. Ask charities not to sell your contact info. (LCAN never shares your info.) Register with DMAchoice.org to notify honest mass mailers that you don't unsolicited mailings.
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. Donate old mobile phones to the Louisville Zoo for recycling.
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.
It's best to use rechargeable batteries whenever you can, but they, too, wear out eventually. Before tossing any battery, rechargeable or not, into the trash or recycling bin, please review the guidance at https://louisvilleky.gov/government/public-works/disposing-batteries or use the Recycle Coach app, referenced above.