It is heartening to note that several communities across the United States are taking it upon themselves to reduce the amount of waste they produce. This, in turn, is helping them reduce the number of resources they require on an annual basis.
Through this brief guide, we hope to help individuals planning on setting up a group to tackle waste reduction in their communities. The guide is also focused on helping communities that are already environmentally-aware to help them continue educating families in matters of waste reduction and recycling. We also wish to benefit groups that wish to expand to other energy saving areas.
Benefits of waste reduction and recycling go beyond the environment
Did you know that the advantages of standing up as a community to reduce and recycle actually go beyond the environment? Some examples include:
- Community gardening-This brings people together, helps form friendships, and also lets communities get fresh fruit and vegetables.
- Composting- Composting and creating rich manure for landscaping has actually helped provide employment to many individuals.
- Recycling – This has not only helped clean up the environment; it has also boosted entire community’s self esteem.
Some recycling activities for community based waste reduction
- Nappy drives- Cloth/ reusable nappies help reduce the waste created by diapers. Nappies can be made from manmade materials and are cheaper, more versatile and quicker in drying (apart from being reusable) as compared to store brought diapers. Nappies can also be lined with a flushable, disposable wraps. They are equally comfortable in fit and provide excellent absorbency. Families, especially new mothers, must be educated about using these for better environmental protection.
- Refurbishing of old computers, bikes etc- Old laptops and bikes can actually be sold (on many online trading places including eBay.com). Many people are willing to purchase such older/broken laptops in order to practice repairing them.
- Composting- Community recycling groups can provide containers to every household which homeowners can use for collecting organic waste. This waste may then be used for creating community compost. A bag of composted soil can be distributed to every household for gardening.
- Recycling- “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Through community garage sales and flea markets, people can sell and buy furniture items and low costs. This can help prevent the waste from going into our already strained landfills. Socially disadvantaged groups also get volunteering opportunities through such projects
Tips for reducing electricity wastage
Community environmental groups can also educate homeowners to reduce electricity wastage and lower the bills. No matter if you are a tenant or a homeowner, electricity is one area where everyone can save. These Groups could also set up a local forum to educate people continually through mails and newsletters. They can also liaise with stakeholders and organizations for added support. They can read up on wind power projects and, if possible, keep a community energy diary. Local energy champions can also be appointed to balance the community’s carbon footprint. For tips on saving electricity, click here.
Hosting Community Energy Fairs
Nothing gets a better response and reaches a wider audience than an energy saving fair. Naturally, a good hosting venue would be needed for this purpose; the local church or parish would be more than willing to help in this matter. It is vital to determine the target audiences for such fairs; people who would actually benefit from them. Once the goals of the fair have been determined, Green companies, electric retailers, as well as renewable energy installers could be invited to provide the audience with educational aspects and, where possible, supply freebies for demonstration. It also helps if the press, the radio or local TV stations come in to help spread the word about what the community is trying to achieve.
These are a few tips to help communities recycle and reduce their carbon footprint.