"Reduce, Reuse, Recycle" has become a mantra around the country, and most cities have instituted curbside pickup for plastics, cardboard, and other recyclables.
But an alarming article recently published in The Atlantic explains how recycling facilities are having a hard time keeping up with the amount of waste they receive--China no longer accepts America's waste, recycled or not. Even eco-cities like San Francisco are having a problem with what to do with waste.
The ultimate answer is to reduce the amount of waste you produce by buying less--way less.
In response to this problem, zero-waste communities have sprung up around the U.S. According to National Geographic, there are uber-conscious citizens producing just ONE JAR of unrecyclable waste per year--even every two years! Individuals and families alike have demonstrated it's possible to reduce their annual trash pile to fit in one eight-ounce Mason jar, compared to the average American's yearly trash pile weighing 1,500 pounds.
With Americans producing the most trash of all countries - it is time tostart thinking about getting longer use out of what we already have. Do we really need a new phone every year? Do we need to buy that new car, a new television? Can we not take a little glassware to a restaurant for leftovers?
Everyone can play a significant role in eliminating garbage from ever reaching the ocean by adopting the motto, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle--and REFUSE. Refuse to buy, and use what you have.
Reduce your plastic footprint by cutting down on your use of goods that come in excessive plastic;
Reuse plastics, bags, and other items that you have, and when you can, reuse materials like glass, stainless steel, and wood that have longer lifetimes for use.
Lastly, properly recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce, and reuse.