Skip Navigation or Skip to Content

The Batavia Spectator

Skip to Article or Skip Sidebar
Skip to Comments or Skip Article
Easy ways to reduce the amount of trash you create

By Salome Fogleman

The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash every day, determined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Most people do not even think about how their daily choices impact the Earth daily. Often, people throw away their plastic, and it goes to a landfill. The problem with this is that the trash could blow away from the landfill, and into oceans and rivers, as stated by Greenpeace. According to National Geographic, “91 percent of plastic isn’t recycled.” Since people aren’t recycling their plastic, one way to reduce plastic trash is to use less.


Ditch the straws

Most people are accustomed to taking a plastic straw whenever they buy something to drink, but most people do not need one in the first place. Lots of plastic, including straws, that are in the ocean pose a risk for marine life. Biological Diversity stated that, “Fish in the North Pacific ingest 12,000 to 24,000 tons of plastic each year.” They also stated that, “Sea turtles can mistake floating plastic garbage for food…research indicates that half of sea turtles worldwide have ingested plastic.” Unless you have some sort of disability that prevents you from drinking directly from your cup, you don’t need a straw.


Use your own containers

If you pack your own school lunch, try using a bento box, Tupperware, or any other reusable container you already have instead of single-use plastic bags or a paper sack. If you like having a water bottle with you, try bringing a reusable one from home instead of buying a disposable plastic one. The U.S. National Park Service wrote that plastic bottles take 450 years to decompose, which means they will continue to pile up unless people start using reusable ones.


Reuse clothing

If you have clothes that you do not like or don’t fit anymore, bring them to consignment or second-hand stores such as Goodwill or Plato’s Closet. Learning how to sew will also benefit you. Next time a button falls off or something rips, just fix it yourself instead of buying something new. If you like to go shopping, try going to more second-hand stores; you will be able to find some neat things for cheaper prices, and you will experience the thrill of finding something unexpected.


Refuse bags

You will also save a lot of plastic bags if you bring your own. Make it a habit to have a reusable bag when you buy something. If you are only buying something small, refuse the plastic bag they offer you at the cash register, and just carry the item you bought or put it in your pocket or purse.


Be mindful of advertisements

Know that advertisements are there to get you to buy something. There are plenty of tricks and illusions advertisers use to get you to spend your money on things you do not need or already have. What is sold as a good deal, is actually there to get you to buy it. Stores might ask you for your phone number or to subscribe to their rewards program. If you subscribe to their program, they can track your purchases, and show you personalized ads to get you to buy more from their store. When you are buying something, think, “Do I really need this?” Try to avoid buying unnecessary items just because it looks appealing, or is on sale.


Reuse your school supplies

New school supplies are expensive, and while they might look nice, they come with a cost. Lots of school supplies are made of plastic, such as folders or binders. A lot of half-used pencils and erasers land in the trash just because the school year has ended. If you already have a folder or binder from last year, reuse it! It will be cheaper and less wasteful.


Learn how to cook

Lots of ready-to-eat food comes in plastic packages. It may be convenient, but it is not a sustainable practice. Knowing how to cook is an essential life skill that will benefit you in college and for the rest of your life. If you are nervous about starting to cook, try getting recipes from blogs because they have lots of pictures and descriptions of how to cook a meal. You could also try to find recipes that come with a video to show you how to prepare it. The easiest way to start is to learn how to prepare simple meals such as pasta, rice, or salad.


If you and other high school students start reducing the amount of trash they produce, you will make a big impact, and your habits will spread to others. You will feel better about yourself, and you will feel more powerful and in control because you are making your own choices rather than following society’s customs without questioning them.

Comments will have to be appoved before being posted