San Diego

Reusing v. Recycling: Tips to Reduce Your Waste

Recycling is not the only way to protect the Earth, and many environmentalists say it’s actually far from the best option.

Reusable water bottles and drawstring bags are typically the first entry steps into reducing your waste, said Becca Kuntz, a worker with I Love a Clean San Diego (ILACSD).

ILACSD is an environmental group whose goal is creating a zero-waste, litter-free, and environmentally-engaged San Diego region, according to its website.

Kuntz told NBC 7 about the importance of “storing and buying your food in reusable options.”

She utilizes reusable containers whenever possible, including jars to store rice and grains, forgoing cardboard boxes and plastic bags.

As for sanitary products, Kuntz uses bars of shampoo, reusable makeup wipes, and toothpaste tablets.

“Really awesome alternative to having those toothpaste containers,” she said.

Though, Kuntz isn’t perfect. She points out a plastic conditioner bottle in her shower.

“I'm planning on switching over to a bar conditioner as well,” Kuntz told NBC 7.

According to Kuntz, the market isn’t good for large amounts of recycled material and people aren’t recycling as much as they should. She opts to, instead, reuse or not use at all.

“There's so many steps you can take to reduce your waste output before (recycling),” she said. “It sounds like a lot of work because it's things I've done over the years but really it's just small, little behavioral changes.”

ILACSD is hosting a Creek to Bay Cleanup Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon. Those interested can sign up to volunteer on the group’s website to beautify more than 100 sites across the county.

In 2018, 6,464 volunteers came out to 116 sites and removed nearly 73 tons of litter and debris.

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