As college students, being responsible about recycling is a task in and of itself. There is a ten-page paper due tomorrow, you really want to take a four hour nap, there are half-priced margaritas at Salsa’s, another award show is on TV, etc. With everything that goes on, most of us just try to remember to eat! (Just kidding. I never forget to eat, and I know you probably don’t either.)
What if I told you that you don’t need to remember to recycle? What if I told you there is an even better way to take care of trash and it is easier for you? Well here it is: you can’t recycle or throw anything away if you don’t even have anything to throw away. Crazy, isn’t it? Actually, there are so many creative ways that we can reduce the amount of trash we produce every day.
Before we recycle, we can 1) think about if we really need what we are about to purchase covered in packaging or 2) find different uses for things we might first think to throw out. For example, instead of buying the pack of a bunch of yogurt cups, by the big tubs in bulk and reuse them to store food. In my house we reuse glass mason jars for storing food and organizing makeup brushes and other cosmetics. When you go to the grocery store, bring a big reusable bag so that you don’t go home with 15 plastic bags. You could also bring your own Tupperware to your favorite restaurants in Dubuque or in your hometown for the leftovers instead of bringing home the styrofoam take-out box.
Even if we can’t find a use for something anymore, someone else might. If you don’t already know about it, I would like to introduce you to Freecycle. Freecycle is a website where people advertise their items they no longer use. It is all free! Surf the site to see what people want to give away in our area, or even put up your own stuff. For more information on how you can reduce your trash or reuse items, contact your student Solid Waste Educator Haley O’Brien at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also like our Facebook page, “Dubuque Metropolitan Area Solid Waste Agency,” or the “Sustainable Loras” page. Let’s talk trash.