Pre-cycling – Reduce before use

We all know that to cut the volume of trash we send to the landfill each of us needs to re-use or re-cycle items that we would normally discard.  Another question is….. How would we cut down on the amount of materials that we need to re-cycle?  

I have noticed when looking in my re-cycle bin that most if not all of the items are some sort of packaging.  To cut down on packaging we do have options but they require us changing our behavior.  Consider….

1) If I take a ceramic coffee cup or water glass to work then I won’t need to use a new styrofoam cup each time I need a drink.  I bet most of us have been doing this for a long time.

2) Another easy one is carrying cloth bags to the store to avoid needing disposable plastic bags to carry our stuff home.   I bet many of us are trying to make this a habit and feel bad when we arrive at the check-out and realize our cloth bags were left in the car or at home.

By planning ahead we can avoid the need to use a new styrofoam cup or new plastic grocery bag.  We are already pre-cycling these items by never using them in the first place.

Now for xtreme pre-cycling…

1) Have you ever day dreamed that when you pull up to the ocassional fast food place you could hand them a plate and a cup and avoid using their excessive wasteful packaging?  Of course another pre-cycle solution to this problem is too plan ahead and take a picnic meal with you instead of needing the fast food at all.  I am a pro-picnic kind of guy!!!

2) How about shopping at farmer’s markets where items aren’t overly packaged in the 1st place? Or joining ( or starting) a food / supplies co-op so you can buy in bulk (less packaging) and break it into smaller amounts for each member’s use. 

3) Ever consider making a really big serving of your favorite food and packing it into meal sized portions for freezing, sharing with friends or supporting an elderly or hungry neighbor?  I cringe at how much leftover food we throw. 

What other ways can we avoid wasted packaging by planning ahead?

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