earth day · environment · recycle

Reuse to limit your carbon footprint!

Because it is Earth Week, I have decided to write about one of the ways you can dramatically reduce your carbon print in the landfills.


Even though you can recycle all of the items shown below, and recycling should always be practiced, the best option is to reuse.

When I have an empty container that has a good lid that seals, I wash the container and save it for storage. I buy quite a bit of dry bulk items like nuts, beans, grains, and I need containers to store them all in. Sure I could have purchased nice looking containers from the store but why do that when I have FREE storage?!


I usually take a small piece of masking tape and label and date the contents of the item if I cannot see the contents. Of course you get to the point where you think, “How many containers do I need?!” but I always have uses for them. From my craft items to my office… they are also great when you have leftovers that you want to give to your dinner guests. Send them home with one of these containers and you are not out a missing piece of Tupperware.

This may seem like a small way to help but the impact is HUGE. The landfills are growing at an alarming rate; polluting the fragile soil and clean air. Do your part in preserving our Earth!

Here are some facts about waste pollution, land fills and recycling:

Waste Pollution

  • In the U.S., 4.39 pounds of trash per day and up to 56 tons of trash per year are created by the average person.
  • Only about one-tenth of all solid garbage in the United States gets recycled.
  • Each day the United States throws away enough trash to fill 63,000 garbage trucks.
  • Almost 1/3 of the waste generated the U.S. is packaging.
  • Diapers: An average child will use between 8,000 -10,000 disposable diapers ($2,000 worth) before being potty trained. Each year, parents and babysitters dispose of about 18 billion of these items. In the United States alone these single-use items consume nearly 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp. We will pay an average of $350 million annually to deal with their disposal and, to top it off, these diapers will still be in the landfill 300 years from now. Americans throw away 570 diapers per second. That’s 49 million diapers per day.
  • Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour.
  • The amount of glass bottles Americans throw away every two weeks would have filled both World Trade Center towers.
  • Americans throw away enough aluminum cans to rebuild our commercial air fleet every three months, and enough iron and steel to supply all our nation’s automakers every day.
  • Throwing away one aluminum can wastes as much energy as if that can were 1/2 full of gasoline.
  • In the U.S., an additional 5 million tons of waste is generated during the holidays. Four million tons of this is wrapping paper and shopping bags.
  • Americans receive almost 4 million tons of junk mail every year. Most of it winds up in landfills.
  • The average American uses 650 pounds of paper a year.
  • Each year, Americans trash enough office paper to build a 12-foot wall from Los Angeles to New York City.
  • Americans toss out enough paper & plastic cups, forks and spoons every year to circle the equator 300 times.
  • Nearly 44 million American workers purchase or eat lunch out every weekday.
  • Americans make nearly 400 billion photocopies a year – about 750,000 copies every minute of every day.
  • U.S. businesses now use about 21 million tons of paper every year. That’s about 175 pounds of paper for each American.
  • Enough hazardous waste is generated in one year to fill the New Orleans Superdome 1,500 times over.
  • New York City alone throws out enough garbage each day to fill the Empire State Building.
  • As of 1992, 14 billion pounds of trash were dumped into ocean annually around the world.
  • Forty-three thousand tons of food is thrown out in the United States each day.
  • Sixty-five billion aluminum soda cans are used each year.

Recycling Works!

  • 1,500 aluminum cans are recycled every second in the U.S.
  • Recycling an aluminum soda can saves 96% of the energy used to make a can from ore, and produces 95% less air pollution and 97% less water pollution.
  • It takes the energy equivalent of half a soda can of gasoline to produce one soda can from bauxite ore.
  • In 1986, 48.7% of all aluminum cans were being recycled. In 1990, that percentage increased to 63.6% and, in 1996, 63.5% were being recycled.
  • The amount of paper recycled annually by the average American in 1995 was 301.8 lbs., increasing in 1996 to 329 lbs.
  • Recycling one ton of cardboard saves over 9 cubic yards of landfill space.
  • One ton of paper from recycled pulp saves 17 trees, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 7,000 gallons of water, 4,200 kilowatt hours (enough to heat your home for half year), 390 gallons of oil, and prevents 60 pounds of air pollutants.
  • Producing recycled white paper creates 74% less air pollutants, 35% less water pollutants, and 75% less process energy than producing paper from virgin fibers.
  • Sixty percent of the world’s lead supply comes from recycled batteries.
  • It takes 90% less energy to recycle an aluminum can than to make a new one.

 What small steps do you take to help the Earth and reducing your carbon foot print?


11 thoughts on “Reuse to limit your carbon footprint!

  1. Such a great post! Personally, I think cans, washed out, stripped of their label and covered with pretty wrapping paper or fabric make great pen/pencil cups. I'm also a huge fan of Tupperware – yep, good ole glass. Your reuse idea is fab though – frugal and earth friendly!

  2. I just dont buy things in containers anymore. I dont drink soda and eat vegetarian so everything I eat goes into the compost. Ok, yes, I do buy butter wrapped in foil and rice milk in a carton but these are minimal things I recycle 🙂 Besides, I can make my own almond milk too.

  3. I actually convinced the big company I work for to run an Earth Day promotion where we will give a discount to everyone who says no to a bag or brings in their own! I'm so excited!

  4. Great post, I re-use a lot of jars and containers, love the Trader Joe's sprout containers for lemon and avocado halves and the Himalayan salt jars are great for dressings and leftover raw sauces – or giving homemade nut butters to my grandma. 🙂 I've found I use a lot less containers in general since I started making my own nut milk, nut butters and sauces.

  5. Wow – you guys are all on top of it today!I should have mentioned that I save my plastic containers for non-food items – like J's toys, my craft supplies, or if I send food home with guests as the food will not be in them for more than an hour. And even then I tell them to transfer the food into a glass container once they arrive home. Plastic is pretty bad for food, and thank you all for sharing.

  6. Yes! I went through a plum habit a while back and while now I get them in bulk baggies at Costco I have all these wonderful, sturdy blue-and-white containers that store lots of stuff. I see your Classico jar and while I saved a peanut jar from a while back I have no idea why it didn't occur to save the spaghetti sauce jars.I'm interested about this PEA # thing that Stephanie mentioned. I didn't know some weren't okay to re-use.

  7. I totally agree. Not a good idea. The ink does rub off and they always have a lingering odour of whatever was in there previously. A few plastic containers you purchase from a store are not expensive and they are much safer.

  8. We have recently started composting in our yard, we use cloth bags for shopping and with the beautiful weather we are hanging out the laundry on the line instead of using the dryer.Great post!!

  9. It is not a good idea to re-use certain PLASTIC containers. When you look a the bottom they have a PEA #. Certain #'s are okay to re-use but most should be tossed out.

  10. Great post- I completely agree! When I want to buy something in a container, like a special nut butter or something, I buy one in glass because I love saving and reusing glass jars. I have some plastic ones as well but I find the dyes from the label eventually start to come off into the food and I'm not a fan, so I've just been avoiding purchasing products in plastics all together. My dad always says "Plastic has no soooul." (Very dramatically like that. LoL)

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