We are creating a lot of trash and it’s creating big problems. We can all help by finding easy ways to reduce waste. Even small reductions can make a difference.
We throw away a lot of stuff. The average American throws away about 4.6 pounds of trash a day! That’s a lot of trash and it adds up very fast.
My own town is dealing with an almost full landfill which means they are paying a company to haul our trash to another landfill. That meant we had increased trash costs and it will only get worse as more landfills fill up.
Thankfully there are a lot of easy ways we can all help. If we each just did a few things it would really add up. Don’t feel like you need to become zero waste overnight, pick a couple of things to try at a time and just keep working at it. These are 10 easy ways you can get started.
Easy Ways to Reduce
Stop using paper towels.
Even just slightly reducing your use of paper towels can have a big impact. 544,000 trees could be saved each year if each US household used just one less roll of paper towels. You could also save $1,000 in five years by ditching paper towels.
Start using rags instead of paper towels. The amount you will use should fit into a load of laundry you are already doing so there will be no increase in laundry.
I keep paper towels on hand for rare occasions but I keep it under the sink so it’s harder to get to and keep rags easy to get to. This means I’m naturally more likely to reach for the rags.
We even keep some rags that are in bad shape just for messes that will need to be thrown away. They are rags most people would have thrown away but we keep them for one last use that helps us avoid another disposable.
Additional Resource: How to Have a Paper-Free Kitchen
We throw away a lot of food and it’s not beneficial in a landfill. When you compost food waste you create rich compost to use in gardens which is great for the soil.
Composting isn’t hard, you can get bins from a lot of home improvement and gardening stores. If you buy compost making your own will save you money.
You can even get kids involved in composting which is a great way to teach them about waste and not being wasteful.
Additional Resource: Composting Basics: What to Compost
Buy from bulk bins.
More and more stores are starting to provide bulk bins where you can buy whatever amount you actually need. This can cut down on food waste and save you money.
If you also bring your own containers to fill you can save a lot of waste. Most places will allow you to bring your own contains and weigh them before filling to avoid the extra cost.
Additional Resource: How to Shop the Bulk Bins
Buy less clothing.
We buy and waste a lot of clothing. It is filling up our landfills and the chemicals from the manufacturing are polluting our environment.
Being more mindful of what you buy can help. You can also buy second hand or even rent clothing. All options help avoid as much clothing going to the landfill.
And don’t forget to donate clothing in useable shape when you are done with it. A lot of worn-out clothing can also be made into rags to avoid it going to the trash.
Buy fewer books.
Don’t read less but do buy fewer books. We don’t tend to read books more than once so buying them is just another thing to gather dust or end up in a landfill.
Instead, visit your local library. This will save you money, space, and allow you to read even more. You can also buy digital books from Amazon.
Sell back electronics.
When you want to update your phone or other device sell it to Gazelle. You get some money back and your phone will be sold or properly recycled.
If your phone is broken be sure to dispose of it as e-waste. Electronics can cause big problems in landfills so we need to dispose of them properly.
Stop buying soda.
We know soda is bad for our health but it also creates a lot of plastic waste. It’s best to just stop drinking it but if you want it as a rare treat choose glass bottles which are easier to recycle or make your own at home using reusable bottles.
Avoid single serving food.
Single servings can be convenient and keep us from overeating but they also mean a lot of extra waste. If you need things in serving sizes get some reusable containers to fill yourself.
It will take a few extra minutes but if you prep them ahead it won’t be a big deal and you can still grab them and go. There are many container options everything from glass to silicone bags.
Bring your own bag to all stores.
Bringing your own bag to the grocery store is becoming more and more common. Many stores even give you a discount for doing so and some make you buy disposable bags.
However, do you remember to bring your own bag when shopping for things other than groceries? Those bags from clothes shopping and other fun shopping also adds up. Put a couple of bags in your car, purse, or anywhere else that will help you remember them in all stores.
Use dryer balls.
Dryer sheets are often full of chemicals that are bad for us and the environment and they also cause a lot of waste. They aren’t even good for our clothes or dryer.
These are just ten small ways to reduce your waste. Start with this list and then look at what you are throwing away still and find ways to reduce that waste.
There are so many reusable products out there to help us avoid waste it’s getting a lot easier to be eco-friendly. Just take it slow and remember every step counts!
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