Are you looking for ways to reduce waste in your home? There is a lot that can be done if you are willing to make a few swaps. Here are some tips for how you can reduce waste in your home.
America is in the midst of a trash crisis. We lead the way with China, Brazil, Japan, and Germany falling in line as the leading trash generators. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American person produces 5.91 pounds of daily trash with 1.51 being recycled, leaving 4.40 pounds daily. Waste generated by Americans alone each year covers about 365,000 acres! That is quite a bit of trash!
With landfills overspilling you may feel compelled to do all that you can do minimize waste within your home. The good news is, there is a lot that can be done. If each person does their part to reduce trash, it can make a tremendous difference to this mounding problem.
5 Ways To Reduce Waste In Your Home
1) Change the way that you store things
Take an inventory in your kitchen of how you store things. Do you use plastic baggies or plastic storage containers? Did you know that it takes between 10 and 1000 years for plastic bags to decompose in landfills?
Do this: Make the switch to reusable baggies and mason jars which can be recycled.
2) Minimize your paper use
There are many ways that you can cut down on the number of paper products that you use in the home. Make a list of everything that you use that is paper and start making more sustainable choices. No need to do it all at once – pick one thing a month or so and commit to replacing it with something reusable.
Do this: Switch paper napkins for cloth and paper diapers for cloth. If you are a woman, consider switching paper menstrual products for cloth pads or a moon cup. If you are up for it, research and switch to a “family cloth” style of wiping material instead of toilet paper. Granted, this one may take a little more oomph to put into action and to get the whole family on board.
3) Do takeouts and “doggie bags” differently
How often do you eat out each week and bring home the infamous “doggie bag” or box? Did you know that the typical styrofoam container used to pack restaurant leftovers can take thousands of years to decompose – depending on environmental conditions?
Do this: Bring your own reycled storage containers when you go out to eat.
4) Rethink kitchen scraps
The first step in rethinking kitchen scraps is to think about how often you have food go bad in your fridge. If you find yourself throwing away leftovers or food that you didn’t get a chance to eat before it went bad, regularly, it may be time to come up with a new shopping and meal plan structure. Think about scaling down on how much you are buying and making and take some time to put together a meal plan that will help you reduce your waste.
Do this: If you do find yourself with some waste keep it for your backyard chickens ( if you have them) or your neighbor’s chickens. Chickens love scraps! If you don’t have any nearby chickens, consider composting. There are numerous ways to compost, even if you live in an urban area or apartment. Purchase a small kitchen composter that will breakdown food scraps to make a rich additive for your container gardens or indoor plants. Not sure what you can and can’t compost? Check out this list from Dawn of Small Footprint Family.
5) Look closer at your beauty and cleaning routines
If you aren’t making your beauty and cleaning products, it is time. The packages that all these commercial products come from are often made of hard plastic and other materials that don’t easily break down.
Do this: There are loads of great homemade recipes for personal care products – everything from toothpaste to deodorant and moisturizer. Also, you can find an equal number of easy-to-make cleaning product recipes (check out this all-purpose house cleaner recipe), many of which use vinegar and essential oils as well as lemon so your whole house will smell fantastic. Take some time to research some opportunities for products you can make yourself. You will not only be doing the earth a big favor but your health also. It is much better for you to cleanse your body and your home with nontoxic products.
More ideas to reduce waste in your home
- Install a whole house water filter or use a Berkey instead of buying bottled water
- Shop at consignment stores and yard sales
- Upcycle things you already own to give them new meaning and life
- Cancel all unnecessary mail
- Stop using plastic grocery bags
- Know the rules of recycling and do it
- Return egg cartons for reuse
- Reduce or eliminate packaged and processed food in your home
- Purchase e-books instead of print books
- Donate your old clothes
Start teaching your children when they are very young about the importance of recycling and reducing waste, they will catch on quicker than you may think. Get the whole family involved and make a commitment to reducing the trash in your home. Before long, it will become second nature, and you will be slimming down your carbon footprint a little at a time!