How to Reduce Your Household Waste

The waste from your household does not just contribute to the increasing size of the nation’s landfills but could indicate you are wasting your household budget.

The items you throw away daily can often be reused for another purpose. There may be many items you could do without entirely, reducing the amount of household waste you deal with each week.

Some steps to reducing your waste are easy, such as replacing the purchase of one type of product with another. Other ideas require adjusting household habits, such as the way you prepare your meals. You may find some of the measures designed to decrease your household waste could save you money long-term. Even if you make one change at a time, every reduction in household waste can help. The methods you use to reduce waste can vary depending on your lifestyle, but there are several general tips you can follow.

Reduce

Much of the waste of an average household is the result of buying too many items or items not designed to be thrown away. By reducing the number of these types of products in your home, you can reduce your overall waste:

  • Packaging accounts for a large amount of the waste thrown out every year. Try not to buy items with excess packaging and try to avoid buying individually packaged items. Instead, portion out the individual servings you want in reusable containers.
  • Paper mail may not be read before it is thrown away. Try to reduce the number of papers and subscriptions sent to your home. Use electronic means of communication whenever possible instead. If you have the option, then go paperless with bank statements or credit card bills.
  • Bags from stores are often thrown away, adding to your household waste. Some states have mandated a cost for any bag from a store, which can help act as an incentive to bring your own. If you do not have a bag with you, then consider carrying your items if you only have a few purchases.
  • Disposable items of any kind must be avoided when possible. If you can afford to, then try to buy items with greater durability or ones designed to last longer, such as high-quality razors and pens.

Reuse

Before throwing anything away, consider whether it might be used for some other purpose. For example, paper and packaging can often be repurposed for home projects. Reusable containers, such as glass bottles and jars, are often useful to have around the home, and you can use these items to cut down on your food packaging waste as well.

There may be some items you can donate to charity, such as old clothing or home goods. Unless the item is damaged beyond repair, consider setting a box or bag aside to gradually fill, then take to a local charity organization. Some items might even be in good enough condition to sell online or at a thrift store.

Long-Lasting

Whenever possible, look for opportunities to purchase items you either do not have to throw away or can use for extended periods of time before throwing it away. Generally, the long-lasting item may be preferable to the disposable option.

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Grocery bags are a good example of this, as plastic and paper bags are often quite small and easily torn. Longer lasting fabric bags are usually larger, allowing you to carry more. They may be more comfortable if you use one you can carry on your shoulder.

Other examples include food storage. Glass jars and containers last far longer than plastic ones. You can save money by reusing jars you have bought other products in and cleaning them out. Glass can be sterilized and used over and over. It can prevent odors from spreading in a fridge and protect food from pests.

You can save money and reduce waste by using cloth dish towels instead of paper ones and using rechargeable batteries. When buying take-out coffee, try bringing a reusable cup. By making an investment and purchasing a long-lasting item whenever possible, you can save a great deal of waste and expense.

Food

Food contributes significantly to the nation’s household waste. If you frequently throw out leftover food or spoiled food items, then you are most likely wasting plenty of money as well as increasing your household waste. Consider taking the following steps:

  • Take note of how much food you throw away every week.
  • Plan your weekly meals ahead of time, and which ingredients are required to make them.
  • Check your fridge and pantry before going shopping so you know what you already have on hand.
  • Store food carefully to prevent it from spoiling. Use the freezer for any perishable food you do not plan on eating soon.
  • Do not throw away items just because they have reached their sell-by date. You must not eat spoiled food, but many items remain edible past their sell-by dates.

Consider composting your food waste instead of throwing it out. You can compost your garden waste, such as grass clippings.  You can help your garden grow better and retain water and nutrients as well as limiting your household waste.

If you can, then consider starting a home food garden. The food you grow involves minimum waste, as it is not packaged, processed or transported in any way. Using compost from your kitchen and garden, as well as other methods such as vermiculture, can help your food garden thrive.

Recycle

If you have any items in your home you can recycle, then make sure to recycle them appropriately. This includes glass, plastics, paper, tires, batteries and many more items. As well as recycling your own items, try to purchase items with recycled content, such as cardboard made from recycled card and paper.

It might take some effort to find out where your local recycling centers are. You may need to come up with a household system to deal with recycling, such as setting aside containers to fill and scheduling when you take them to be recycled. This can be relatively easy to accomplish and can make a big difference in reducing waste.

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