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SUSTAINABILITY

CALCULATOR GUIDE

How can you become more sustainable in your everyday life? Click on any section to find out how you can be more sustainable in that category.

LANDFILL WASTE

Waste produces 3% of the world's greenhouse gas emissions. This section assists you in looking at your personal habits regarding recycling, trash production, textiles, and other items that are often thrown away, and helps you to find solutions to reducing your emissions from waste with small changes.

1. Know Your Recycling Requirements

Know what type of recycling your center collects. Sending extra material to a recycling center can bog down the sorting process. Be Recycled (https://berecycled.org) provides information about every recyclable material and can provide you with your local authorities' recycling requirements using your zip code. You can also call or email your local authorities for more information. It also helps to make sure your recyclables are clean of oil and grease and certain labels, which contaminate the materials.

2. Take Advantage of Take Back Programs

If you are disposing of pharmaceuticals, try to participate in giving back programs. You can often take them back to your local pharmacy or police station. These programs prevent pharmaceuticals from falling into the wrong hands, polluting waterways, and cut back on plastic waste.

3. Reduce Your Yard Scraps

Composting yard waste helps enrich the soil and reduces water run-off. Here is EPA’s Composting at Home guide to learn more: https://www.epa.gov/recycle/composting-home. Oklahoma State University has a similar resource with a handy troubleshooting guide to navigate through any composting challenges you may face: https://extension.okstate.edu/fact-sheets/recycling-yard-waste-dont-bag-it.html. In addition to composting, make sure to properly dispose of any litter that you may find in your yard.

4. Get Creative

When it's time to get rid of old clothes, towels, sheets, and other fabric, try to give them an extra life by selling, donating, trading, repurposing, or sending them to a textile recycling plant. Get creative and try to repurpose or upcycle some of your trash. Pinterest has upcycled tips for just about any material.

5. Make it Virtual

Use electronic media instead of paper. Switch to online newspapers, books, textbooks, mailing advertisements, bills, and more. This saves paper, as well as time and postage.

6. Consider a Reusable Option

Single-use items have become wildly popular in modern times, meaning they are also quite popular in our landfills. Consider switching to reusable options for items you use often. But also consider the footprint of manufacturing a reusable option may be higher than manufacturing and using single-use. It takes a reusable cotton bag 131 uses to break even to the manufacturing footprint of a single-use plastic grocery bag.