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Waste Less and … Recycle Less

By Fredrica Syren:

When my family began our journey toward a zero waste life, we succeeded in reducing our waste; but, as a result, our recycling bin was fuller. We soon realized that reducing our waste and recycling more were good things; however, the next step en route to zero waste was to reduce our recycling as well. I think it’s a misconception that you go zero waste by recycling as much as possible. Now, don’t get me wrong: recycling is by far better than filling the trash bin that will fill up a landfill, but the goal of living a waste-less life should be reducing waste AND recycling.

Recycling is a great way to reduce emissions in the atmosphere. It saves lots of natural resources and reduces the amount of waste buried in landfills that creates methane gas, a potent greenhouse gas. Waste in landfills also tends to contain chemicals that might leak into the environment and water, and pollute the planet, and cause harm to both humans and wildlife.

But as good as recycling is, it still takes raw material and energy to make these items. Some of them, like plastic, tend to have a short life when recycled, so are usually downcycled instead. It still might contain chemicals and other harmful materials, plus it still requires transportation to collect and transport recycled materials.

So, one of the best ways to reduce waste AND recycling in order to practice a more zero waste life style is not to create any waste in the first place. Here are some great ways to reduce both waste and recycling:

  • Bring reusable shopping bags, produce bags and containers when shopping.
  • Pack work lunches and school lunches in reusable containers and water bottles.
  • Choose products that are returnable, reusable and refillable rather than disposable.
  • Skip individually wrapped products and single-serve containers.
  • Buy bulk items as much as possible, and use reusable cloth bags or bring glass jars instead of plastic or paper bags.
  • Buy shampoo, conditioner, lotion, dish soap and laundry detergent in bulk if possible, or buy in concentrated form.
  • Compost all food scraps and yard waste.
  • Reduce unwanted mail, and sign up for online payments and electronic bills.
  • Skip magazine and newspaper subscriptions.
  • Borrow books and movies from the library.
  • Buy secondhand or used clothes, furniture and toys.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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