One of the biggest ways to live sustainably is to follow the urban metabolism method. It is basically mimicking an ecosystem where everything is utilized so there is no waste, i.e. the circle of life. It is obtaining resources, using them, producing waste, utilizing that waste to obtain more resources. 

Instead of relying on the “big guys” to worry about our trash and how to dispose of it properly once it leaves our homes, we should instead take responsibility for our own trash by taking action. We can decrease the amount we produce by being conscious consumers, recycling, composting and reusing everything possible.

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Before walking out your door to go shopping, make sure you bring your reusable bag. This cuts down on the use of plastic bags or paper bags substantially. Paper bag production cut down a significant amount of trees each year and a large amount of water is used to produce these bags. With Christmas shopping alone, reusable bags can have a huge impact on reducing waste. When making purchases, look for companies that are taking the lead to provide less packaging for their products.

Reduce, reuse, recycle! We see the three Rs everywhere, but how many people actually follow them? We need to take more initiative towards recycling in order to decrease the amount of trash we put on this earth and to help save energy used to make new products from raw materials. Enforce a stern recycling policy within the house so it becomes routine after a few weeks. Recycling aluminum cans alone can save a substantial amount of energy that would otherwise be needed to make aluminum from bauxite ore.

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There are many cities that are already taking the initiative to get their residents on board with a Zero Waste program. However, we should not need a city’s initiative to push ourselves towards living a more sustainable lifestyle. We produce a large amount of trash that the planet only has so much space to store. Be conscious of your actions today so future generations can enjoy a beautiful earth tomorrow.

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Stephanie Siemek is a freelance writer whose work can be found on