We’ve all heard the familiar phrase; ‘reduce, reuse, recycle.’
For many of us, recycling is a habit to which we have grown accustomed. It makes sense to find ways to reuse and recycle items so that they stay out of landfills and last as long as possible. But what about reducing the amount of waste of which you dispose in the first place?
Enter ‘precycling,’ the proactive approach to the ‘reduce’ portion of our well-known saying.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Americans generated over 250 million tons of waste in 2010. Though recycling trends are on the upswing, there is something to be said for avoiding waste to begin with. While recycling is a crucial piece of the sustainability puzzle, it also requires time, energy and resources. By precycling, you are finding ways to avoid unnecessary waste so that you will be contributing less material that gets recycled or tossed out.
The precycling perk? It also saves money. Here are some wallet-friendly tips that help eliminate waste from your shopping habits.
Shopping for products that use less packaging is one of the easiest ways to precycle. Choosing items that have less packaging means less materials were created to begin with, and therefore wasted once the product is opened or used.
MOM Brands (formerly known as Malt-O-Meal) cereal is well-known for its reduced packaging. While most cereals are packed in plastic bags that are housed by cardboard boxes, MOM Brands has bagged the box and opted for lower waste, lower cost packaging.
“We have a responsibility to find ways to lessen our impact,” says Linda Fisher, Corporate Communications Manager for MOM Brands. “And the most important first step in that process is to focus on reduction, which we do by producing our cereal in a bag only and skipping the box.”
MOM Brands’ bag-only approach uses about 75 percent less packaging than boxed cereal makers, and has saved 156 million pounds of paperboard since 2001, according to the company. As a result, they see significant savings in cost, energy and resources. That savings translates into savings their customers can see, as well.
“It all comes down to being efficient,” says Fisher. “To finding ways to do what you can with less and to find ways to reduce what you use — which will not only impact the environment, but will save you money. It is a better way to do business in the long run. We’ve saved families more than $1 billion since 2005.”
Because the bags still need to be reused or recycled, MOM Brands has joined with Terracycle to help encourage proper end of life treatment for their product packaging. However, by eliminating the cardboard from the waste stream altogether, they have created a win-win for precyclers looking for low waste, low cost options.