How much trash do you accumulate in a day? Surprisingly, Americans individually produce over four pounds of trash per day. If that seems like a lot, it is. Now, multiply that by the American population and that’s about 728,000 tons of household waste heading to landfills every day. Mind boggling, isn’t it?
According to data collected by SaveOnEnergy, there are over 2,000 active landfills across the country, and you may be closer to one than you may think. As these landfills fill to capacity, it is our duty as citizens to make an effort to reduce what we throw away. Trash reduction starts at home. Think about what you throw away in just one day, can you improve? Of course you can!
Here are 10 easy ways to reduce waste at home, starting today:
Refuse plastic bags at retailers. Instead, bring your own reusable shopping bags. This growing trend is the easiest and most effective way to reduce plastic waste at home. This one gesture can eliminate over 1.8 billion plastic bags from entering landfills or waterways on a weekly basis. Make it a habit to always carry reusable bags or containers in your car.
First, locate recycle centers in your area and inquire what standards and rules they have in place. In your home, create recycle containers for cans, glass, and paper. As a family, sit down and establish clear guidelines on items for recycling and make sure everyone is on board.
Convenience often persuades us to take a “one and done attitude” for the sake of time. However, disposable items that make our life easy also create tons of unnecessary trash. The next time you reach for a pack of paper plates or plastic cutlery, think about where it ends up.
Junk mail is a nuisance and an evil culprit to unnecessary trash. If you want to stop unsolicited mail, start with your local bank or financial institution as they often partner with third-party vendors who will add you to the marketing mailing list when you open an account. It is the burden of the account holder to opt-out, but when you do, you will see an immediate decrease in unsolicited mail.
When things stop working, take a shot at fixing it. Channel your YouTube skills and find the How-To videos to repair just about anything. From small appliances to sewing on a button, maintain what you have rather than dispose of it. If it can’t be fixed, donate it and maybe someone else can find a use for it.
Each day, food items are thrown away that can be returned to the earth via a compost pile. This pile of nutrient rich dirt is a gardener’s delight. Most all organic material is suitable for composting. With a simple compost pile, you support and encourage sustainability.
Never buy bottled water, it only contributes to the problem. Instead, use a reusable water bottle or even a mason jar for a good healthy drink of tap water. Same with coffee, skip the Styrofoam cup and use a travel mug when getting coffee to go. Go a step further and avoid single-serve coffee creamers and plastic stirring straws.
Instead of a fast food meal, bring your own packed lunch. Fast food trash makes up 49 percent of what ends up in the ocean. When you pack a lunch, use reusable containers, cloth napkins, and silverware from home. Ultimately, you save money, time, and eliminate unwanted trash.
Everyone has an old t-shirt that has seen better days. Instead of tossing it to the landfill, cut it up for cleaning cloths to replace paper towels. In addition, old t-shirts make excellent polishing cloths for wood, enamel, and silver.
Newspapers and magazines are obsolete by the time they make it to newsstands or to your front door. With the digital age of constant news, print media does not hold the clout it once did. Skip the hardcopy subscription and go for the online version, for the same great news, minus the paper package.
Now that over 34 percent of Americans are recycling, last year 87 million tons of trash was saved from landfills. Be part of a trash transformation and challenge yourself to reduce what you throw away. If you want to learn more ways to reduce trash, visit us for a tour at Blue Moon Rising Resort, an eco-friendly event venue with a conscience.