Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. This is the chant that we were all taught as kids. Let’s be real: the only one of these most of us are doing consistently is the recycle and friends, that isn’t enough. Now I’m not saying that recycling isn’t great–it is. What I’m saying is we all need to do a better job to reduce waste.

Why Recycling Isn’t Enough

I remember when we moved to our most recent house and a recycling bin wasn’t automatically given to us. I scoffed and thought it was preposterous how long it took for me to get my bin so I could do my civic duty and put my plastics in the recycling bin. Friends, did you know that in 2017 it was estimated that 91% of plastic is NOT recycled?

Say what?!!

I know. That was my reaction too. So that means that only 9% of all the plastic we’re recycling is being, well, recycled. In 2015, the National Geographic reported that 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean each year. If you think this is insane, that’s because it is. And most of this plastic was recycled.

38 million pieces of plastic cover this island. Video courtesy of the National Geographic

Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. These were indoctrinated in us as kids but we focused on recyling a little too much. It's time reduce waste and reuse. Here's why.

Don’t Freak Out Just Yet

I looked at those numbers and got scared. The amount of plastic that we have used as a family of five whose mother loves spring water is insane. When I see numbers like I referenced above, I freak out and I’m like, “OMG the world is ending tomorrow because I used plastic water bottles and recycled them and they didn’t end up being recycled AT ALL!!!!”


Drama. I know. So what’s the solution? How do we handle this?

Reuse The Plastic That’s Wading In the Water

Yes. This is an option. In fact, this is something that big sneaker company adidas is already doing. adidas has partnered with Parley to created a line of athletic wear that has been made from plastic bottles found in the ocean. Not only are they reusing the plastics that have NOT been recycled, they’ve made some rather big changes in their business practices as well.

They aren’t the only brand that’s out here reusing plastic bottles that could potentially harm animals. Doris Sleep makes pillows that are super comfortable (yes, I own them) made from recycled plastic fill. I never would have known it just by laying on the pillows.


We Need To Focus On How To Reduce Waste We Produce

Reduce waste: this right here is going to be what makes the biggest impact in the world. I don’t have a solution for this right here and now outside of the really small changes I’ve started to make myself. The first is that I started using bar shampoo and conditioner to replace the plastic bottles I normally would have. I’ll be sharing more about how my family and I are doing this and will come back to update this page frequently to link to those posts.

Do you have any go-to tips and tricks for waste reduction?