BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO REDUCING WASTE
The average American sends more than 1,000 lbs of household refuse each year to incinerators and landfills. Incinerators and landfills emit harmful toxins into the environment and destroy wildlife habitats. They also pose a serious threat to human health. The Implications of Municipal Solid Waste. Trash is also a wasteful of the natural resources, energy and labor used to make the items and materials. A 2014 study estimated that electronic waste was worth approximately $50 billion in precious metals, and other resources.
We have the power to change this. There are many ways you can reduce your household waste. You can reduce your environmental impact and your wallet with a little creativity, planning, thought and creativity. Reduce your trash consumption.
Are you looking for ways to reduce waste? We’ve compiled a list with 11 simple ways to reduce your household waste.
1. Reduce food waste.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, (EPA) states that is the most significant component of municipal solid waste sent for landfill. Reduce and divert food scraps is the best way to reduce household waste. These tips will help you save money on food waste. Planning is important. Make sure you have a list of items to buy, keep track of what’s in your fridge, and properly store your food. You can also eat food scraps! You can learn more cooking using food scraps.
There are many ways to divert food scraps after you have made efforts to reduce food waste. You can feed food scraps on animals such as chickens, or compost indoors using a worm bin. Contact your trash and recycling hauler for curbside collection of food scraps, or bring food scraps directly to the town drop-off. We also accept food scraps free of charge at the District Transfer Station. For more information on disposing of food scraps, please call us at 388-2333
2. Plastic or paper? Neither.
Reusable bags are a better option for shopping. This doesn’t only apply to grocery shopping. You can also use reusable bags for shopping for clothes, books and household goods. To purchase loose food items, such as fruits and vegetables, you can use reusable produce bag.
You can store bags in your car if you forget your bags at home. You can also fold reusable bags and carry them around with you, such as in your wallet, keychain or pocket. You can also make your bag your own by making your purchases at the store without carrying it. You will likely remember the unpleasant experience and be less likely to forget your bag next time.
3. Say no to bottled waters.
Instead, use a reusable water container. There is no way to tell if bottled water is better than tap water. Although both tap and bottled water in the U.S. are federally controlled, tap water has higher quality standards and is more health-conscious than bottled water. You can help the environment, your health and your finances by using tap water and making it reusable.
4. For cleaning, use reusable rags or cloths.
Reusable towels and napkins are a better alternative to paper towels, tissues, and napkins. To wipe up spillages and clean surfaces in your home, use handkerchiefs, washcloths, cloth napkins and towels. Toss the laundry in the wash after use. To disinfect, wash in hot water. Dry in the sun.
5. You can opt out of receiving paper mail, bills, advertisements, junk mail, or phone books.
Check out our fighting junk mail page. Or, start with these tips: Contact your bank or utility company to ask about electronic statements and payments. Check out Direct Marketing Association Choice to stop receiving most junk mail, go to optoutprescreen.com to stop receiving pre-approved offers from credit bureaus, and visit yellowpagesoptout.com to opt out of phone books. You can also contact the company to request removal from their mailing list for any other unwanted mailings.
6. Foods with minimal packaging or none.
You can find fresh fruits and vegetables in grocery stores’ produce sections. Many dry foods are also available in bulk. Use your own produce bags, containers, and flour bags to buy bulk items or produce, instead of using the plastic bags provided at the shops. To learn more, visit our Package Free Grocery Shopping Guide.
7. Rethink food storage.
Reusable containers and reusable wrap are better than plastic bags, aluminum foil and cling wrap. Side note: A reusable silicone baking mat can be used in place of aluminum foil/parchment papers for baking. More kitchen waste minimization tips.
8. Use reusable cutlery.
If you plan to eat out, bring real silverware and cloth napkins. You can reuse the silverware that you already have, buy silverware at a discount store, or get a set of travel silverware with a case.
9. Go straw-les.
Disposable straws are a waste of money! Drink your beverage without a straw. Ask for a straw when ordering a drink. You can buy a reusable straw if you don’t want straws.
10. Refrain from using paper cups.
Plastic linings can’t be recycled in paper cups and other liquid-holding containers made of paper. You can reduce your use of paper cups by buying coffee in a travel cup. Many coffee shops allow you to bring your own cup and they will fill it for you. Some even offer discounts! You can also make your own coffee by using reusable k cups, reusable coffee filters or a French Press. Don’t forget to compost your coffee grounds.
11. Recycle right.
Repurposing old materials into new products can help keep materials out of landfills. Recycling correctly will keep material out of landfill and reduce contamination in the recycling stream. To learn more about recycling, and how to recycle materials that aren’t allowed to go in your recycling bin, please visit our Mini Disposal Guide .