Residential Waste Reduction

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Did you know that the trash you put on the curb is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to waste generation? For every pound of waste your family generates, 71 more pounds were created upstream in the manufacturing of that product!*

Reducing waste at home means never generating all that waste in the first place. A simple change in habits can reduce the amount of trash you put to the curb.

Ten Tips for Reducing Waste at Home:

  1. Purchase products with less packaging. This could mean buying in bulk, switching to concentrated products, or choosing brands that make a point to reduce packaging.
  2. Reduce unwanted mail. Visit www.dmachoice.org to opt out of national junk mail. You may also need to contact local and regional companies sending you unwanted mail and ask to be taken off their list.
  3. Use reusable shopping bags. Paper or plastic? How about neither. Bring your own bags to the store and reduce the waste generated from your shopping trip.
  4. Start grasscycling. Instead of raking up grass clippings after you mow, leave them on your lawn. The clippings will decompose adding much needed nutrients to your grass and lightening the waste you bring to the curb. Read our Yardwaste at Home Handbook for tips.
  5. Drink from a reusable mug or water bottle. Many coffee shops will give you a discount if you use your own mug and after your caffeine fix, you have nothing to throw away.
  6. Repair furniture or list on the internet. Instead of chucking that worn out furniture and buying new, consider having the item refinished or reupholstered. When you just have to have that new item, list your old furniture on a reuse website like freecycle.org or craigslist.com or bring it to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure!
  7. Limit household hazardous waste. Buy only what you need with all purchases but especially household hazardous waste like paint, batteries, pesticides, and fertilizers. Consider alternatives like rechargeable batteries when making your purchase.
  8. Compost yardwaste. Starting a backyard compost pile means you will no longer need to throw valuable clippings, leaves, and food scraps in the trash. If your backyard space is limited, consider vermicomposting with worms. Learn more about transforming yardwaste into valuable soil amendment by reading our Yardwaste at Home Handbook.
  9. Start canning. You don’t have to live on a farm to start canning your own fruits and veggies at home. Buying produce when it is in season and abundant will save you money and reduce packaging waste.
  10. Try reusable diapers. Disposable diapers make up 5% of what goes into our landfill. That amounts to a whopping 50,000 tons of diapers every year just from Hamilton County residents! Reusable diapers have come a long way in the last few years and look nothing like the old fashioned diapers your mother used. Check out our local green general store, Park + Vine, for options.

 

*Information from: Platt, Brenda and Seldman, Neil. Wasting and Recycling in the United States 2000. Institute for Local Self Reliance, 2000.