Reduce Household Waste

Tips on Reducing Waste in Your Home

As the first line of defense against unnecessary waste, reducing trash is the most effective way to turn around your rubbish problem. Better than reusing because it means fewer resources consumed in the first place. Reducing minimizes waste at the source of the waste stream; essentially it’s a way to limit the size of your trash bin and how much you leave at the curb for the garbage truck every week. Here are some ideas for reducing household waste:

  • Conduct a household waste audit: Determining what kinds of waste you produce in your home and in what quantities is the first step to reducing how much rubbish you send to the landfill. Using this residential waste audit guide, you’ll collect, weigh, and record the waste you produce over a period of time (a week or two should do), after which you categorize in order to determine your biggest waste problems. You’ll then have the information you need to move onto the next steps.
  • Get into precycling: Stopping waste before it starts is the best way to reduce your waste. Precycling is your key to reducing waste at the source. Whether it’s reducing your packaging waste or choosing not to buy something, precycling is certainly a way to limit your trash.
  • Buy only what you need: Bulk prices may make for tempting offers, but too many shoe laces are just a waste if you’re never going to use them. This is especially true for products that have a limited shelf life, such as food, cleaning products, or personal care products. So rather than stocking up for a rainy day, buy only what you need.
  • Start recycling: The variety of waste you produce in your home can be quite vast, possibly requiring several different recycling methods. The types of recycling programs available in your community, to a large extent will determine how much you can recycle. Where curbside recycling programs are lacking, you may have to get creative to find ways to recycle your waste. Then, if you haven’t already, start a household recycling program so reduce your waste by diverting materials from the waste bin to the recycling bin.
  • Limit toxics: Many conventional cleaning products, home repair and improvement products, and gardening products come with hazardous poisons that are potentially harmful to your family, your pets, and the environment. Sure, you may just need one tiny application of a particular pesticide or bleaching agent, but what then do you do with the leftovers? By limiting how much of them you purchase, you reduce how much you have to store and/or later dispose of through household hazardous waste facilities. 

Find out more about where garbage comes from and how to reduce it by watching the very informative and entertaining Story of Stuff


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