On May 20th, 350NJ hosted a Sustainability Sunday event at the Center for Spiritual Living North Jersey. Sarah Davie of 350NJ described the five Rs of decreasing waste in everyday life:
(1) Refuse: say ‘no’ to unneeded disposable items, such as plastic bags or plastic straws.
(2) Reduce: Use less of the items you do purchase.
(3) Reuse: Find new uses for items you may otherwise throw away.
(4) Rot: compost food waste.
(5) Recycle: This is always the last step. Consider any of the first four options before ultimately recycling an item.
The speaker and participants of the event shared ideas and resources for accomplishing the five Rs. For example, rather than buying new furniture or throwing old furniture away, exchange used items through sites like freecycle.org, craigslist, or local Facebook groups. One of the best ways to cut down on single-use plastics is to always carry around reusable bags, reusable food storage containers, and reusable utensils and straws. Chemical products that have harmful effects on the environment can also often be replaced with homemade alternatives. Baking soda can be a basis for cleaning products, toothpaste, and even shampoo. Also look out for creative ways to reuse or recycle items that would otherwise be thrown away. For example, the Appalachian Wildlife Refuge collects used mascara wands to remove parasite eggs from wildlife.
Online resources for reducing your everyday waste: