It’s the beginning of a whole new year! For me, this means a fresh start to my own recycling and waste reduction efforts because the sad truth of the matter is that I can do better.
Yes, yes. I know. I’m the Green Girl. I am supposed to be effortlessly turning everything I discard into new flowers and pristine meadows. But I’ll tell you a little secret: I have to work hard at it, same as everybody else.
Plus there is the little detail that I have children. For those of you who run multi-person households, you know that it is not always easy to have control of everything that comes into or out of your house. People give gifts, family members make independent decisions about purchases (the nerve!), and then there is the factor of “convenience” which sometimes holds sway over what the most earth-sensible purchase might have been. Believe me, I get it.
But here’s the cool part. Because we have put our heads to it, every year gets a little better. When Matt and I first got married pre-recycling days, we were producing a bag of trash about every three days. Now, through a series of tweaks to my own habits over the years, my entire family of four is now tossing only one bag of trash every ten days. I mean, it’s not quite like this guy who only produced one bag IN AN ENTIRE YEAR, but still. I feel pleased that it’s progress in the right direction.
A lot of this, of course, is because I have gotten better at recycling. Through the years I have kept track of the amount my family recycles and it has been exciting to watch the number rise. All of those materials that would have been thrown in the landfill are going back to good use. (New flowers – check! Pristine meadows – check!) That makes me feel great. Having a measure of past habits gives me something to work towards and surpass. It gives me that extra motivation to not throw recyclable materials in the trash at the gas station (even though it would be a whole lot easier sometimes) and drives my decision behind which consumables to buy or not (like not buying fish on Styrofoam, for example).
And…this is the driving factor behind why Green Girl Recycling issues customized reports for each of our residential and commercial customers: so you can track your own improvements, too! Not only can you keep track of all of those extra efforts you made this year, but you can use the information to help motivate yourself to do even better the next time around. Businesses can even use the information on their web sites to let their customers and employees know about their commitment to going green. It’s a way they can advertise to the world: Hey, guess what, our company saved 1 ton of materials from the landfill by recycling last year!
I believe in constantly improving my own efforts toward zero waste and it is my pleasure to be able to help others do the same. Together, let’s make 2013 the greenest ever!