Photo by Jon Dawson / Flickr

Simple actions add up.

Our friends at the Pennsylvania Resources Council are offering five ways you can commit to a greener 2020. Their message is to make a New Year’s resolution to care for the environment – with a reminder that the average American produces 4.4 pounds of waste each day.

“While most people have heard the phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle,’ we’re suggesting everyone up their game in the coming year to incorporate into their everyday activities the “five Rs” of zero waste principles,” says Justin Stockdale, managing director of the PRC.

Stockdale encourages everyone to imagine a brighter future and to eliminate tons of clutter and waste in our lives.

“It’s easy to remember the principles of ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ and then add a new one at the beginning and another at the end to become a commitment to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot,” he says.

With that, here are 5 easy ways to lessen your environmental impact throughout the coming year:


Learn to say “no” and refuse products that can harm you, your family or the environment.  Refuse to use plastic bags and plastic straws. Sign up to stop receiving junk mail.


Declutter your home and donate items to a local thrift shop. Reduce shopping trips and use a shopping list. The less you bring home, the less waste you’ll dispose of later.


Reuse as many items as possible, including handkerchiefs, refillable bottles, shopping totes, cloth napkins, etc.  Attend PRC’s annual ReuseFest.


Know your municipality’s recycling policies and locations. Learn to recycle items not accepted in curbside pick up, such as electronics, light bulbs, batteries, household chemicals and other potentially harmful products. Attend PRC hard-to-recycle and/or household chemical collections.


Compost! Learn how to turn kitchen, garden and yard scraps into natural, homemade compost for your lawn and garden.  Attend a PRC composting workshop.

Read online! 

Ok, that’s our suggestion, another R to live by. Publications such as NEXTpittsburgh are as environmentally friendly as you can get. No trees were killed in the creation of this story.

To help you throughout the year, PRC offers a variety of collection events, workshops and online resources to help you properly dispose of waste.

“Changing habits to include more thought about what we purchase, how we use things and how we dispose of materials can truly eliminate clutter in our lives and protect the environment at the same time – an admirable goal for the coming year,” they suggest.

To learn more, visit the Pennsylvania Resources Council website or call 412-488-7490.

NEXT staff

The staff at NEXTpittsburgh writes about the people driving change in the region and the innovative and cool things happening here.