Recycle Your Way Through the New Year

We’re almost through the first month of the new year and hopefully you’ve been hot and heavy working on your eco-New Year’s resolutions. Maybe you’ve even been working on making some biofriendly changes in the way you live. Or maybe you started off with the best of intentions, but haven’t really gotten anywhere yet. Whatever situation fits you best, I wanted to give you a simple tip to help you recycle, or actually precycle, your way into the new year.

Image by loop_oh

Now I could tell you to recycle your bottles, cans, newspapers, plastics, etc. I could also say to get a separate recycling bin in your house to make it easy to recycle. I could say compost leftover foods rather than putting them in the trash, etc.

However, recycling your way into the new year starts way before all those steps. It starts back around the point of purchase. Deciding what items to purchase can go a long way in terms of reducing waste, reusing materials and recycling. For example, rather than buying plastic water bottles, invest in a reusable drink container.

Image by peyri

Rather than buying pre-cut vegetables packaged in a container with plastic wrap on them, buy fresh fruit and vegetables or grow your own. No wrapping required. Local growers or Farmer’s Markets are great places to get fresh fruits and vegetables. You support your local community and get fresh food without the need for additional packaging. Don’t forget to bring your re-usable bags.

Recycle or reuse any uneaten food. Here’s another place where many people forget to recycle or reuse items. Of course it’s common sense to save leftovers and/or reuse them in later meals. However, you should also work on portion control. By correctly portioning out your meals you can actually end up with less waste and less uneaten food.

Image by cathyse97

When it comes to buying items, such as toys for your kids, be aware of how much packaging is being used. Most packaging is completely unnecessary. If you are the kind of person who does a lot of their shopping online, Amazon has a whole section dedicated to items that come with “frustration-free packaging” (i.e. they are easy to open, come in recyclable packaging and ship in their own packaging without the need for an extra box). Simple and smart.

I guess when it all comes down to it, the key is really in the precycling. Precycle whenever and wherever you can and you’ll be rapidly recycling, or precycling, your way into the new year. Here are some tips that can help you even further.


  • nan

    Tara, when I had kids and watched them play with toys for a day then toss them aside, I thought a toy lending library would be a great idea. Just like books, you could borrow toys, and bring them back. It would save on toys manufacture, recycle them over and over, and satisfy a child’s instant gratification and be-here-now way of living. Then one winter I went to Tucson, I noticed someone started one! People should look into starting one in their community if there isn’t one.

  • ines

    Even if it sound very easy to have an eco-friendly life, it is in fact very difficult to follow all the rules and to take care of each detail.

    Anyway, I’m glad to learn that I was already doing some of the things you have mentioned.

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