Changing Your Habits
Autumn Is Change
Changing Your Habits
As the seasons shift into Autumn, the leaves begin to fall, and the temperature drops, we at EcoVessel would like to provide our customers some simple and easy tips to help you save money and minimize your usage of single-use plastics in order to make living a sustainable life more approachable.
Wish-cycling is the practice of “wishing” for the best when you discard items into recycling bins when you’re not actually sure they are recyclable. While you might think that you are doing your part to live sustainably and be eco-conscious by doing this, you probably aren’t doing as much good as you might hope.
Recycling is a tricky process, and not everything can be recycled. In 2018, the recycling rate in the US was only 32.1 percent. In 2021, 68% of reclaimed paper was recycled, 91.4% of corrugated cardboard was recycled, and nearly half of all recycled paper was used to make cardboard boxes. Aluminum accounts for only 1% of the waste stream in the US, however, 7 million tons of aluminum are still not recycled each year. Glass is cheap and efficient to recycle without any loss of quality or purity, although only about one-third of glass bottles that get discarded in the US actually get recycled.
Many items frequently contaminate recycling machines and slow down the recycling process. Most frequently causing problems are plastic bags, which jam equipment and can cause entire recycling facilities to shut down. Shredded paper can also not be recycled because it is too small to sort and can get into the cracks of sorting machines. Additionally, depending on how your local recycling facility processes materials, flattened plastic containers may cause problems. “Single-stream” facilities use equipment to separate materials. When you flatten plastic containers the equipment may sort them incorrectly and contaminate paper materials. Also, although frozen food boxes are made from paper, they are coated in a plastic coating that recycling facilities are not able to separate from the paper.
While there are a number of ways for recycling facilities to become burdened and overwhelmed with the waste they receive, here are some helpful recycling tips that you as the consumer can do to prepare your recycling in a way that leads to efficiency in a recycling facility:
- Empty and rinse out your containers to remove liquids and food. Dirty recyclables cannot be recycled.
- Place recyclable materials into your recycling bin loosely. Stacking or sorting items into boxes or bags makes them difficult to separate on the sorting line.
- Don’t flatten containers. Recycling equipment can mistake flattened containers with paper on the sorting line.
- Alternatively, do flatten cardboard. Flattening cardboard boxes saves space, and saves time at the recycling facility.
Buy Things That Will Last
While high-quality, durable items may feel more costly upfront, they can actually result in cost savings and sustainability down the line.
The average American spends nearly $1,500 each year on clothes. However, given that most people only wear about 20% of the clothes they own, we encourage you to buy higher quality pieces of clothing in smaller quantities that will last longer. While it might seem counterintuitive, it often saves money to spend more on an item you'll wear over the course of years rather than spend less on something you'll only wear a handful of times before discarding it.
Reusable Water Bottles & Tumblers
The same is true about the quality and durability of other items, such as tumblers and water bottles. Cheap reusable bottles and tumblers aren’t built to last. They break easily and, when discarded, can contribute to plastic pollution.
Rather than continuously purchase cheap reusable bottles and tumblers, invest in a durable, high quality option. At EcoVessel, we offer great options for insulated water bottles, such as:
- The Boulder, our flagship vacuum insulated water bottle that will keep your drinks hot or cold all day long.
- The Metro, a vacuum insulated stainless steel tumbler mug, which will keep your drinks cold for 24 hours and hot up to 6.
- The Frost, our reusable water bottle for kids which will keep their favorite drink cold and fresh for hours.
Support Local Producers
It’s also important, and cost effective, to buy locally. Purchasing coffee from local roasters, buying beer from hometown breweries and shopping for nearby artisanal goods can impact your community for the better. Not only does patronizing local businesses help your community, it also provides you with high quality goods.
Making small changes in your lifestyle and spending patterns can make a huge difference in cost savings and living sustainably. Whether you’re switching to a durable tumbler for your pumpkin spice latte, flattening your recyclable cardboard, or buying higher quality clothes to last you longer, as the seasons change, try changing a few of your own habits to help the environment and your wallet!