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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Motivating Reasons to Reduce Garbage

This Thursday is Earth Day. In an effort to help all of us be more sustainable and earth-friendly we will be sharing some ideas on ways to reduce garbage and conserve energy and natural resources.

Before you toss–think about where the garbage will wind up. Maybe you can come up with a better alternative than trashing it.

Here are some motivating reasons why we should all try to cut down on garbage:

  • Americans’ total yearly waste would fill a convoy of garbage trucks long enough to wrap around the Earth six times or reach halfway to the moon. It is estimated that this year Americans will generate 222 million tons of waste.
  • Since 1950, people in the United States have used more resources than any generation that lived before them. Each individual American uses up 20 tons of basic raw materials annually.
  • At the consumption level of the average American, at least four additional planets worth of resources would be needed to support the planet’s six billion inhabitants.
  • By comparison, the average North American consumes ten times as much as the average person living in China and thirty times as much as the average person living in India.
  • On average, according to 2001 statistics, each person in America generates 4.4 lbs of waste a day.

How can you reduce your waste?

Composting: Composting really isn’t that hard. Find a plastic container you can start collecting food scraps in and watch and see how much garbage you can compost rather than throw out in a plastic bag. Things that can be composted include: Coffee grounds and filters, egg shells, salad scraps, and vegetable peelings. Stay away from dairy or meat.

Recycle: It may seem like a chore, but recycling does make a difference and is worth the extra attention. Here are a few other ways you can use reuse empty tin cans:

  • Wash them out thoroughly. Cut out both the top and bottom ends and use to protect young seedlings from critters.
  • Paint and hang in trees to discourage birds from eating your ripening fruit.
  • Punch them with designs and set candles in the middle of each. Use as lanterns to line sidewalks, steps, and gardens. (Do not cut out both ends. To punch, fillwith water and freeze. Mark a pattern on the outside of each can, get a nail and a hammer, and hammer out the designs. Let the water thaw, then put tea lights in each for lanterns.)
  • Junk Mail: Instead of tossing coupons, letters, and envelopes from your mail, use them as scrap paper instead. They’re really great for notes, grocery lists, ordrawing paper for kids.

How do you cut down on garbage? Share your ideas here

1 comment

1 Dean { 04.19.10 at 11:39 am }

Brilliant idea for repurposing steel cans! I (re)use them as inserts in my (honeybee) hive smoker and have already been to the ER once for stitches while punching holes in them without using the frozen water method! Wish I’d read this a week ago. . .

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If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1910, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.