10 Tips to Reduce Waste
Start Reducing Your Household Waste
Do you send five bags of garbage to the corner every week? Are you looking for ways to reduce waste as an eco-conscious citizen? If so, then these 10 tips for reducing household waste will start you off on the right foot.
- Buy less: Start at the root of the problem by consuming fewer products. This means holding off on buying a new sweater if you’ve got a perfectly good one, forgoing a new set of sheets when yours have no holes, or choosing to wait on a home improvement project that involves ripping out your entire kitchen. In any case, you’ll be saving money and consuming less, thereby cutting your environmental impact. Get even more precycling ideas by reading out Precycle Tips article.
- Reuse existing items: Often the simplest solution to a problem is to just reuse an item you already own for a new purpose. Whether it’s turning old T-shirts into rags, old Christmas cards as holiday garland, or leftover wall paint for finishing that rocking chair, finding uses for items already in your home is better than throwing them away.
- Buy reusables: Just like reusing existing items, have reuse in mind when you’re in need of something new. Forgo one-use items like bottled water, disposable napkins, and paper coffee cups and go for reusable items instead. This is especially important for daily habits like taking your lunch to work.
- Repair rather than replace: Even when an item breaks, it may still have a lot of life left in it. Could you put a patch on the hole in your jeans or repair the air conditioner rather than replacing it? Though repairing can involve an investment of time and money, it will minimize your physical waste and can often mean long-term money savings as well.
- Make your own: When possible, you can make your own consumable products. We’ve got all kinds of recipes for making face wash, all purpose cleaner, and homemade laundry soaps. In many cases, DIY options require much fewer ingredients and result in lower toxicity which is a fantastic way to reduce overall waste.
- Sell or give old items away: You may not have a use for your old stereo or the afghan from your great aunt, but more than likely someone else can make use of it. If you need a little extra cash, find a way to sell your things in a garage sale or online. If not, look for charities and nonprofits that will take your old things rather than kicking them to the curb.
- Choose secondhand: When you do need flooring for your new home or a suit for the office, why not try out secondhand or consignment stores. Buying used items means you’re not consuming virgin resources, minimizing energy needed to create and ship new products, and cutting your bills in the meantime.
- Cut packaging waste: Packaging can make up nearly 30% of your trash bin. So when faced with a choice between two similar products, choose the one with the least total packaging.
- Start recycling: Though not the most effective choice for reducing waste (see all preceding tips here for better ideas), having a home recycling program is extremely important. It is the eco-friendly way to handle all of the waste that you can’t prevent.
- Compost organics: Waste that easily biodegrades - food scraps, yard clippings, and the like - are bad for climate change when they head to the landfill. To deal with this organic waste, you can either start an indoor compost bin or a vermiculture container or look into backyard composting options depending on your available space and the amount of organics you produce in an average week. Learn more by reading our composting section.