4 Easy Ways To Reduce Trash At Home. I am just a little passionate about this issue. I mean, c’mon, in my retail store I sell other people’s things to save them from going into their trash and then the landfill. My store walls are adorned with banners about the sad facts and they are sobering: sooooo much goes to waste. According to the EPA, the average American person will produce about 5.91 pounds of trash per day and only about 1.51 pounds is recycled – that’s 4.40 pounds/per/day! On a worldwide scale, we produce 2.6 trillion pounds of trash per year! That number looks like this: 2,600,000,000,000 – it barely fits on the line in 14 point type!
“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.”Robert Swan
We are, as a nation, concerned about this issue, but not concerned enough to make a real impact – at least not yet. Consider this, according to the U.S. Government, every year the average American trashes:
- 38 pounds of newspapers
- 48 pounds of books
- 25 pounds of office papers
- 22 pounds of paper plates or cups
- 28 pounds of aluminum beer and soda cans
- 77 pounds of plastic bottles and jars
- 90 pounds of tossed-out clothes and shoes
- 77 pounds of cardboard boxes
That’s for EACH of us! Yikes! But you, my dear friends, can start a small-but-mighty revolution with a few tricks at home. These easy steps can make a difference, so consider the following…
Eat and Re-Imagine Leftovers: 4 Easy Ways To Reduce Trash At Home
Did you know that food accounts for about one-fifth of what goes into municipal landfills. You read that right – food. So one easy thing you can do to reduce trash at home is to use some of those leftovers instead of throwing them out. There are so many creative ideas to, in effect, repurpose food. For example, I recently published a recipe for reusing vegetables: Quick and Easy Recipe For Left-Over Vegetables: Frittata, Anyone? in case you missed it. The internet is a great resource here too; simply type in what you have leftover and ask for recipe ideas. It’s that simple. Need further inspiration? Check out another blog of mine: What To Do With Those Food Leftovers: Three Recipe Ideas.
Another way to limit food waste is to compost. Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter, such as leaves and food scraps, into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and plants. You can create compost, that farmers refer to as “black gold,” inexpensively and easily in your own backyard. For a great How-To Guide To Composting at home, check out the EPA’s page on the same, and start putting that food waste to good use.
No room for backyard composting? Did you know that you can compost on your counter-top and use it for your house plants? Yup. It’s super easy. Check out The Family Handy Man’s Guide To Countertop Composting.
Get A Travel Mug and Use It: 4 Easy Ways To Reduce Trash At Home
According to the website eCo2greetings.com, 50 billion paper coffee cups are being thrown away by Americans every year. OMG! I knew that Americans loved their Dunkin’ and their Starbucks, but 50 billion cups! One thing you can do to help reduce that mountain is to grab yourself a reusable travel mug for all your coffee needs. Whether you make it at home and take it to work (thereby saving that additional money) or get it from your favorite coffee spot, (where they are more-than-likely to be willing to use your cup), using a refillable is an easy way to do something about trash. INSIDER TIP: The customers at my retail store, Consignments Ltd., bring travel water bottles and mugs into my store on the daily. They want to sell them because they aren’t using them. UGH. Resale shops, therefor, are a great source for refillable mugs and bottles. Buying them at places like this is a double-savings – you’re eliminating the waste of disposable coffee cups and water bottles AND you’re buying them second-hand, thereby eliminating new plastic production. What’s better than that?
Get Reusable Bags and Use Them
I readily admit to being that person: the one driving around with reusable bags in the car and then forgetting them when going into the store. I hate when that happens. What’s a person to do about this dilemma? Well, if you’ve got reusable bags, put them on your front seat (I mean, don’t make your Mom sit on them when she comes in the car with you, but put them in an obvious place so that it’s hard to forget them). When you can, go without a bag. If you’re bagless in the grocery store and you must take bags for your items, find another source to move them along after you use them. My store, for example, accepts used paper bags from our customers, and you bet-your-bottom-dollar we use them again.
Buy Second-Hand and Sell Second-Hand
Full disclosure, I make the majority of my income from selling other people’s stuff, so I definitely have a vest-interest in this suggestion. However, when you consider some of these facts:
- Nine million tons of furniture go to landfills every year
- 240,000 tons of sheets, towels and table linens go to the landfill every year (this figure jumps to 16 million tons when you include clothing)
- Glassware cannot be recycled with glass bottles and jars. Its melting temperature is different, so it can contaminate an entire batch of recycled glass and therefor most municipal recycling facilities will not recycle it. (The same is true of most china dishes)
So how about the next time you’re in the market for a couch, a pair of drapes or even a pie plate, you check with your local, second-hand or thrift store first. Or the next time you’re getting rid of the same, you drop off a donation or make an appointment? It will only take a minute, and who knows what treasures you will find…
Hungry For More?
Learn some more great ideas in my previous blog: Save Those Containers! Creative Uses For Things You Ordinarily Trash or Recycle.
An Now For A Little Music Before We Go…
“We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”Albert Einstein