Is your trash consumption out of hand? Could you possibly reduce your waste a bit?
These are some of the questions I have concerned myself with lately. A couple of months ago I was just looking at the garbage that I was taking out daily and had a bit of an epiphany. There just seemed to be more than I wished to produce. I needed to minimize.
In 2013, it was reported that Americans generated about 254 million tons of trash. Eighty-seven million of that was either recycled or composted. This means that only about 34.3 percent was recycled. Those aren’t the best numbers. Individually we generate about 4.40 pounds of trash a day. That’s insane. So a family of four that is 6, 424 lbs generated in a years time.
That’s a LOT of trash.
It’s recommended on epa.gov that we should do our best to minimize waste, make sure to recycle and compost our organic waste.
Is it easier said than done?
Well, we recycle in our house and have been for years. But it was reported in 2017, that over 90% of plastic is still trashed, which many of that just ends up in our oceans. This is all creating lasting effects and got me feeling like I need to minimize my trash game a bit more.
While there are people out there that have this method on point, coming up with very minimal amounts of trash per day, I have to think realistically in terms of my family.
We are going to produce trash, it’s inevitable but I can apply some SIMPLE actions everyday to lessen the impact our trash is making on the environment.
So, because we like simple solutions on this site, here we go…
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13 Simple Ways to Minimize Waste in Your Home
Stop buying bottled water
While people buy bottled water for convenience it can be avoided.
Replace bottled water with filtered
This is such a simple way to eliminate bottle waste and have clean water at your fingertips. We like this filtered canister and you just have to replace the filters every couple of months. Thinking long-term this will definitely save you money.
Carry a reusable bottle
Missing the convenience of a water bottle for on the go? Purchase a reusable bottle like this. There are so many great options now you can’t go wrong.
Make your own coffee
We all like on the go coffee. Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts have made a pretty penny because of our love for said coffee. But making your own can be just as satisfying. Take it from me, I can’t live without my coffee pot.
Now, if you can’t live without that freshly brewed soy latte from your fave cafe, bring your own coffee mug to eliminate some waste.
Use a lunchbox
No more brown bagging it. My daughter has a lunchbox as well as my husband (more like a cooler) for snacks at lunch. Also, find some reusable containers for your food storage.
Check your local grocer for products with reusable containers
Some grocers will take back glass jars and give you cash in return. We have done that a few times with certain brands.
Empty egg cartons are a great way for seedling. This is also a fun thing to do with the kiddos. (We did have a bit of fail with this just recently, ha but it was still fun to do with my daughter.)
Use reusable bags when shopping
I try to do this everywhere. I am at a point where I don’t want extra grocery bags in the house. Many stores offer a reusable bag for purchase but I am sure you have got something lying around that’s perfect for a grocery trip.
If you happen to have extra plastic bags in your home check with your local grocer and see if they take used plastic bags back if you don’t have a way to repurpose them.
Make your own cleaning products
I am still playing around with my favorite recipes on this one. I am quite particular on how I want my cleaning solutions to work for me. But I do have some favorites:
- baking soda is amazing for scrubbing, this is an awesome diy oven cleaner I have used a few times from Dr. Axe
- vinegar is great for mildew (it’s a great rinsing agent for the coffee maker), cleaning windows, killing weeds in the garden or lawn and I often use it in the rinse cycle of a clothes wash
- borax is great as a laundry booster and cleaning agent to loosen grime and help with stains
Minimize the purchase of single serve food items
This is meant to be a realistic list and as a mom it can be so convenient to buy easy single serve snacks. But making little changes here and there can work well too.
Some homemade snack ideas:
- fruit snacks
- granola bars
These can be made to accommodate your families palette and are great substitutes for single serving packaged snacks. Also, try meal planning on a weekly or monthly basis to minimize food waste. This way you’ll be more likely to eat what you have.
Use towels instead of paper towels
This is a recent change we made in the home and it works wonderfully. I found that we were flying through packs of paper towels and I had to find a better way. Kids are gonna make messes. I am constantly cleaning up after my children and this method helps with that while minimizing waste.
We just purchased some micro-fiber towels like these and keep them on the counter in a basket. Instead of reaching for a paper towel I grab a towel for cooking or cleaning a mess and when they get low do a quick wash and start over.
While shopping look for recyclable, reusable or biodegradable materials.
I have to admit I need to get better at this. As a consumer I find myself shifting in the way I purchase. But if you can avoid potential trash by buying in a conscious way this will help tremendously. The less that needs to go to the landfill, the better.
A wonderful company for this is an e-commerce site called Thrive Market. I started purchasing with them in the beginning of 2016. They provide healthy living options in the way of food and natural products at wholesale cost. You can shop by diet, health & ingredients and yes, you guessed it, by environmental and social values. It is truly a great company.
To learn more about Thrive Market go here and save 25% off your first order!
Try to repurpose excess when decluttering
When decluttering always try to repurpose stuff instead of trashing them. Old clothes can become rags. Sell and donate stuff that still has life left. Utilize social media, Craigslist or apps that allow you to post stuff that you may want to give away for free.
Eliminate the purchase of dryer sheets
These are full of chemicals and can add to your trash bin fairly quickly. Substitute wool dryer balls for fabric softener in your laundry. We like this brand. They are economical in that they will last well over a year. Also, they can be scented with your favorite essential oil when drying. They have been a favorite purchase in this house.
There you have it!
Super simple ways to slowly minimize excess waste in your home. We all have a choice in how we make simple changes. The idea is to transition in a way that is seamless while also having some impact.
Good luck to you!
Any suggestions I may have missed? Please share below.
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