Did you know that the average American generates about 66 pounds of landfill waste each month? For a family of four, that 264 pounds a month, or 3168 pounds a year. Disgusting, yes? Last week a friend of mine yesterday turned me onto a website by one of her neighbors who is trying to do something about it.
This nuclear family of two working parents, two children, and two pets is challenging itself--and its website readers--not just to follow the three R's of reduce, reuse, recycle, but to keep a chart. Weigh the garbage and the recycling. Continuously seek ways to reduce waste.
"Just like going on a food diet, you'll have more success if you can adopt a diet change you can live with for a lifetime," explains the author of the website, titled The Waste Diet. "So that has become our goal to create a lifetime plan to reduce waste without changing our lives (too much)."
Their experiment is entering its third month. In February, they cut their landfill waste by almost 12 pounds (to 27 pounds below the national average) and recycling waste by 27 pounds--all through relatively simple steps like buying larger quantities to reduce packaging, repairing items rather than throwing them away, shopping at thrift stores, and avoiding excess paper products.
Other steps, like composting and becoming a vegetarian, require more of a commitment. But as the website's author advises, "Make a goal how to improve, even if it’s just one thing at a time. Doing something is better than doing nothing at all. "