It may be unfair to put everyone in the same basket, but Americans as a whole are huge consumers. Some say that with our consumption comes industry and prosperity. However, if everyone on earth consumed food and material goods at the same rate as Americans, we would need four earths worth of natural resources to sustain that consumption.
You can personally reduce your dependence on limited natural resources such as oil, clean water and minerals, by considering the hierarchy of Reduce ~ Reuse ~ Recycle. Reducing what you buy and reusing what you have will ultimately save more natural resources, create less pollution and consume less energy than recycling alone. Here are some tips for reducing and reusing.
Buy in Bulk – Reduce the packaging you throw away or recycle.
Buy Less Stuff – If you can buy less stuff you will benefit enjoying a cleaner environment and reducing your expenses.
Buy More Durable – When you buy quality stuff that is less likely to break or that lasts longer you may end up buying less and saving money in the long-term; consider how you will use those things you purchase.
Durable Goods – Use durable cups, dishes, silverware and cloth napkins rather than disposable paper and plastic goods.
Household Items – Check secondhand and consignment stores for items you need like furniture or kitchen appliances.
Electronic Items – Non-profit organizations and retailers/manufacturers may offer special programs that enable consumers to pass their used equipment along to others when they upgrade.
Reuse Resources – Click here to identify local options for reusing a variety of waste items/materials (including recycling options if the item is past its useful life).