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Weekly Tips | December 13, 2010

Why Reduce Waste?


Today marks the one year anniversary of the Weekly Waste Reduction Tips! Looking back at a year's worth of waste reduction ideas, and forward to the year ahead, we wanted to pause to answer the question, "Why reduce waste?" The short answer is that everything we make, buy and dispose of has an impact on the environment and, as individuals we generate a lot of waste! Whether the next stop for that waste is the landfill or a recycling or composting facility, it all requires natural resources for transportation and processing.

 

All of the natural resources used during the lifecycle of the things we buy -- from obtaining and processing raw materials (wood, minerals, water, etc. ) to the manufacture, transportation and finally, disposal of products -- add up to account for 29 percent of the anthropogenic (caused by people) greenhouse gas emissions emitted in the US. Luckily, one solution can make a big difference: reuse items as much as you can to stop waste before it happens.

 

Waste reduction alternatives like reusable bags, travel mugs and refillable reusable water bottles are easy to implement, can save money and are a simple way for each of us to help conserve natural resources. By working to reduce waste as a community, we can create a more sustainable future together. Let the new season of Tips begin!

 

Resources: Beyond Waste at Home | King County EcoComsumer Waste Calculator | Story of Stuff | CleanScapes Resources | Chris Jordan "Running the Numbers"

 

The Big Picture

How much waste do we generate? In Washington state individuals and businesses generated 16,000,000 tons of waste in 2009(1). According to the US Environmental Protection Agency Americans generated approximately 250 million tons of waste in 2008(2).

 

Sources: (1) US EPA MSW Report | NW Source 10/8/2010

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