Start your waste reduction journey | Guest editorial

Waste Management’s Hannah Scholes offers tips on how we can reduce waste.

Most Americans throw away about 4.5 gallons of stuff every single day. That’s a whole lot of garbage.

The good news is, we’re taking notice. Communities, businesses and local governments across Puget Sound recognize the problem and are implementing waste reduction strategies. For example, a King County coalition of 10 local governments has released a year-long assessment and is advancing strategies to reduce waste and achieve a regional approach to responsible recycling.

One key finding is that meaningful waste reduction requires behavior change — including better purchasing decisions and lifestyle choices. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your waste reduction journey.

Tip 1: Reduce! You’ve heard it before and it’s truly the best way to decrease your environmental footprint (as well as the strain on your wallet). Before buying something, ask yourself: Do I really need this? If the answer is yes, ask yourself again. When you do buy a product, think about each purchase thoroughly to ensure your new addition will be long-lasting and as low-impact as possible. Shopping at second-hand stores is a great start!

Tip 2: Quit the single-use habit. There are products we use regularly because they are convenient, but many have environmentally friendly, reusable alternatives. Next time, choose reusable coffee cups, napkins, utensils and more. Each individual item can really add up. If every American used one less roll of paper towels per year, we could save more than 550,000 trees.

Tip 3: Adjust your shopping habits to decrease packaging waste. Many grocery stores offer a bulk section where shoppers can minimize packaging and fill up on everything from dried fruit and nuts to flour, coffee and peanut butter. Some specialty stores offer an even wider selection including teas and materials to help you make your own soaps, toothpaste and deodorant. It’s simpler than you think! You can even make a green kitchen cleaner with just three ingredients: vinegar, water and scented oil.

Remember, behavior change starts with small actions, and a green lifestyle may be more attainable than you think. Keep these tips in mind on your next shopping trip and you’ll be reducing waste like a pro in no time!

Hannah Scholes is Waste Management’s education and outreach manager. Learn more about plastic recycling at RecycleOftenRecycleRight.com.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@kirklandreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kirklandreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Opinion

Thank you grocery store clerks

Recognizing the sacrifices of our unsung essential workforce.

To our elected officials: Be bold, be consistent, be honest, be helpful

By Patrick Grubb, Washington Newspaper Publishers Association Governor Jay Inslee has been… Continue reading

Libraries are the place to go according to poll

Library will host short film festival on March 20.

A way to keep us healthy | Letter

A problem has occurred recently that I would like to address. On… Continue reading

Events and new resources blossom for older adults this spring | Coming of age…again

While we may work out, run, walk or bicycle to exercise and stay “fit,” exercising our brain is a bit more complex.

We need to think before we act | Windows and Mirrors

As coronavirus has led to xenophobia and racism against Asians, we should all stop and think before acting on our biases.

Protecting our community from COVID-19 | Guest editorial

A message from Kirkland’s mayor and city manager following coronavirus-related deaths.

Gov. Inslee is cordially invited to Kirkland, Eastside

We need the governor here to know we’re a priority, not in Olympia or on cable news channels.

This Boeing deal could have ‘clawbacks’ in the ‘snap-back’

The company wants a tax break temporarily repealed. Some don’t want to give it back without new conditions.

The state has too much money and it’s a problem

With revenues rising, budget writers are going to get lots of requests on how to spend it

Bike lanes are foofoo and ageist | Letter

In “‘It’s about to get real’: Construction on Totem Lake Connector Bridge… Continue reading

The continuing disgrace of Trump | Letter

I can’t believe that President Donald Trump can really ever look at… Continue reading