As summer ends and students and teachers head back to school and parents get back in their school year routines, the City’s waste hauler, Waste Management of Orange County, is encouraging residents – both in and out of school – to include recycling and waste reduction habits this back-to-school season.
Waste Management offers the following tips to reduce, reuse and recycle this school year:
Pack a lunch with reusable gear: Packing a lunch is a healthy habit for both you and the planet. Eating out often means more calories, more money and more waste, whereas bringing lunch gives you an opportunity to use leftovers and save money. By utilizing reusable gear, like a cooler lunch box or even just reusing a brown paper bag, you can save on waste. Be sure to recycle any packaging, such as bottles or cans, when you are finished.
Purchase products made from recycled materials: Sure, we all need our papers, coffee mugs and printer ink, but all of these products are available with at least some recycled content. Bring your own environmentally friendly coffee mug or water bottle, use recycled paper and re-fill ink cartridges instead of buying new ones. Not only does this save on resources, it also costs less. For instance, refilling ink cartridges can save up to 40% on the price.
Utilize carpools or public transportation: While cars may be convenient, traffic and high gas prices certainly are not. Utilizing public transportation is not only cost-effective for money, it can also save you time. While on the bus or on the train, you can read, answer e-mails or take calls – all things unsafe to do while driving. Other ways to get around include organizing a carpool with others on the same schedule, walking or biking. If doing these things regularly is not feasible, consider setting up a special event, such as a “Bike to Work or School Day,” to see if you can contribute at least once while encouraging others to try it as well.
Turn off and unplug appliances when you are not using them: Computers, printers, fax machines and other wired devices save us time when we are using them, but can cost us money when we are not. In sleep mode – and even when they are off but plugged in – these appliances use power and add to your electricity bill. Help conserve energy and your bank account by turning off and unplugging these appliances when you are not using them.