Waste Not, Want Not: Tips to Cut Down on Household Waste

There are many pieces of the going green puzzle: reducing energy use, switching to local groceries, and using less gasoline, to name a few. But one of the biggest ways we can reduce our carbon footprint is by cutting down on waste in our homes. The average American produces 4.4 pounds of garbage a day—that’s 1,600 pounds a year!

Make fewer trips to the garbage bin! Image via clker.com.

Try utilizing these tips to go greener in your home, and make the world a kinder, less wasteful place for the future.

Pack a green lunch. How many times do you pack a lunch for school (or do you pack a lunch for your kids) that has much more food than will probably be eaten? Try to truly consider what you’ll want to eat that day, and don’t pack perishables that you’ll have to throw away when you get home.

Use a refillable water bottle. Instead of buying weekly hauls of water bottles, which can usually be recycled but still contain various unhealthy chemicals, buy each family member one reusable, BPA-free water bottle to cut back on plastic waste.

Recycle your old electronics. Turn your old Blackberry into a DIY remote control, or sell your old iPhone to a company that will purchase it for cash. There are tons of resources available to recycle your old electronics, which will cut back on the proverbial junk drawer filled with phones and calculators of years gone by.

Repurpose old catalogs and newspapers. Instead of tossing out old magazines, newspapers, cards, and junk mail, find ways to upcycle paper goods and cut down on the paper waste! A few ideas to upcycle paper: use it for creative gift-wrap, packing material, homemade cards, and countless other DIY projects (especially if you look on Pinterest!).

Take your own bags to the store. Reusable grocery bags have a bad reputation of being burlap-esque and unattractive. To ensure that you’ll actually use your reusable grocery bags, choose some that you find particularly attractive, and you’ll be that much more likely to use them.

Say goodbye to dental-hygiene waste. Buy toothpaste in an aluminum dispenser so it can be recycled—and use your old toothbrushes for household cleaning. The garbage bin will thank you.

Cutting down on household waste at home takes a little extra thought and planning, but it’s well worth the effort. Next time you throw something away at home, consider if it’s recyclable, and teach the rest of your house-mates to do the same.

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