Disclosure: These tips on how to reduce waste at home are part of a sponsored conversation with Tom’s of Maine. All opinions are my own.
Did you know that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average person in the United generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day? This is 2.6 pounds more than most produced back in 1960 and 1.5 more pounds generated than a mere decade ago.
So you may wonder, where does all of this trash go? Approximately 55% of the 220 million tons of waste generated each year in the United States ends up in one of the over 3,500 landfills. With the growing amount of trash filling up our landfills, learning how to live a more sustainable lifestyle is paramount for green living in our communities.
In my own home, we are a zero-waste family. We start the ball rolling by decluttering our home and eliminating excess purchases from our home, life, and business. We also began to phasing our plastics and single-use products for more sustainable options, including glass, metal, and bamboo products. We refuse single use items at grocery stores and when dining out as well. We also upcycle products, compost, and for all other items, we recycle, or as it’s more properly known, downcycle, just about everything else we can. Particularly through curbside recycling.
While we make every effort to recycle most items we purchase, there is always a myriad of items that my community recycling center will not accept. This is especially true for common plastic household items including used and broken toys, which as most parents can attest, always seem to accumulate before your eyes, making toys one of the harder items to declutter on an occurring basis at home.
While it’s easy to assume that toys are not a great environmental blight, consider this: Only 4% of the world’s children live in the US, but Americans buy and throw away 40% percent of the world’s toys each year. So even if you opt for more sustainable toys, purchase second-hand versions, and pass down the toys you do purchase to others there will probably still be a great deal of currently broken toys in your home that need proper recycling.
Currently, Tom’s of Maine is partnering with the recycling experts at TerraCycle, the world’s leader in the collection and repurposing of hard-to-recycle post-consumer waste, to offer the #LessWasteChallenge toy recycling program, a program which allows families to recycle toys and keep additional plastics out of landfills, all for free!
When I was asked to join the Toms of Maine to offer the #LessWasteChallenge toy recycling program, a program which allows families to recycle toys and keep additional plastics out of landfills, all for free! So when I was asked to join the Toms of Maine #LessWasteChallenge, I jumped at the chance as Tom’s of Maine is a company with more than 45 years developing natural personal care products with a focus on natural, responsible and sustainable practices, while giving 10% of its profits back to helping people and the planet. Products that I buy for my own family at home since beginning our zero-waste lifestyle.
Families can send in their broken toys directly to TerraCycle by following four simple steps:
- Visit Tom’s of Maine Challenge Site.
- Enter contact information to receive a free UPS shipping label via email, printed at home.
- Fill an old box with up to ten pounds of broken toys.
- Attach the free shipping label to the box and drop it off at any UPS location nationally.
- Collected broken toys are broken down, turned into new consumer goods or donated to charity.
Beyond toys, families can also help their communities and the environment by taking the #LessWasteChallenge pledge, which asks families to reduce their household waste by one pound per week and lead healthier, more zero-waste lives at home. To date, American families have pledged to keep more than 200,000 pounds out of landfills since 2016 as over 8,590 participating locations nationwide.
Moreover, Tom’s of Maine has a goal of zero waste to landfills by 2020 at its manufacturing facility in Maine. It’s a lofty goal and I applaud their efforts! And like Tom’s of Maine, I encourage you to get involved, get your children involved, by recycling your used and broken toys at home as part of the #LessWasteChallenge, and to take the pledge as well!
Here’s to reducing our waste at home, one toy at a time,