Minimize your household waste
Do you want to minimize your household waste?
Did you know the average person generates 4.3 pounds of waste per day? Over 50% of 220 million tons of waste we create each year in the US ends up in landfills. Solid-waste landfills are the second largest source of methane emissions. Landfill methane is created when materials decompose. Methane is a greenhouse gas and greenhouse gasses are said to be the leading cause of global warming. Landfills also contribute to the contamination of soil and groundwater. Okay enough depressing facts and sorry for the science lesson. But, in a nutshell, our trash in contributing to killing our home. What’s your contribution?
I never realized how much trash my home produced until we moved to a house that didn’t have a trash pick up service. We make a weekly trip to the dump to take our trash ourselves. This made me totally aware of how much trash we create and made me want to do something about it. I’ve never considered my husband or I wasteful people but there had to be ways we could cut down even more. I began trying to watch what was taking up all the room in our trash bags and trying to find ways to eliminate it. Afterall we all have to do our part to make any impact on the waste our country produces.
Here are some great ways we minimize our waste that you can maybe implement into your household as well.
This is a big one in our house. Anything we can’t find an alternative use for goes in the recycling bin. As much as I’d love to go completely green and have a zero waste household, I know the struggle it would come with for us. More power to you folks that do! I still buy boxes of pasta a and jars of applesauce and I probably always will. So, when those packages don’t have another use I don’t throw them out, I recycle them. This still requires it go to to the dump but I feel much better putting them in the recycling bin rather than bagging them to sit in a landfill for years to come.
This one is my favorite because you get to be a little creative on how to give things a second life! This can also cut down on the cost of buying things new that you can make yourself by reusing something you already have for that purpose!
- Use old sauce jars as drinking glasses or storage containers
- Deli meat and cool whip containers make great food storage bowls and can even go in the dishwasher
- Old worn out or ripped clothing can make great cleaning rags
- Clothes that are outgrown but in great condition can be donated or save the sentimental ones for a diy t-shirt blanket
- If you have a fireplace/wood stove/fire pit, save junk mail or scrap paper for fire tender
- Small bottles or containers may be perfect for soap and such when traveling(this eliminates the need to buy travel sized bottles as well)
- My husband uses juice and soda bottles filled with water for target practice, saves us money on targets too!
- I’m using old yogurt containers to start my seedling for the garden this year instead of purchasing a seed tray
Things like paper towel, zip lock bags and disposable cups were taking up a lot of room in our trash can. I have tried to cut out as many disposables as I can. There are some things I struggle with(like my ziplocks, sigh) but I am working to find alternative methods that are just as convenient.
- Use cleaning cloths or dish cloths instead of of paper towels
- Use real plates and utensils instead of disposable ones
- Store leftovers in washable containers instead of ziplock bags
- Invest in a to-go cup you like to avoid purchasing a disposable one while you’re out(saves money as well!)
- There are great plastic and stainless straws out there now for the straw user in your home
- Get some cloth napkins you love. This is also a great way to add style to you tablescape!
- Get reusable shopping bags to avoid all the disposable ones that pile up at home
Don’t throw out food
This is an important one in my house and surprisingly easier than I thought it would be. We have chickens as well so we put our fruit and veggie scraps to good use by feeding them. Here’s some other ways you can avoid throwing food away as well.
- Have leftovers for lunch. Make this a habit so preparing and grabbing that lunch plate comes natural.
- Cook the right size portions for your household. Don’t fix a recipe that feeds 8 for just 2 people.
- Cook from scratch. This allows you to customizes portions and prevent over cooking that leads to food waste.
- Freeze what you know won’t get eaten if you do cook too much
- Start a compost bin
- Prepare things you love and you won’t want to waste a bite!
- Make leftovers soup!
- Katie for Premeditated Leftovers has some amazing was to avoid wasting food and how to make something new from what you already have here! Check them out!
Minimize baby trash
Our little one seems like he created so much waste sometimes for such a little person! Here are some ways you can minimize waste with a little one.
- Cloth diaper and wipes are awesome! The initial investment may seem substantial but it’s nothing compared to the cost of disposable diapers over time.
- Make your own baby food to avoid all those wasteful containers. It truly is quick and easy, check out how I make mine here!
- Use a wet washcloth instead of wipes for wiping hands and face throughout the day. You can even stick one in the diaper bag for this purpose. Plus you don’t have any chemicals going on your little ones skin.
- Use small containers for baby sized portions so you can take them on the go or to day care.
- Making your own baby/toddler snacks will eliminate extra packaging plus you know exactly what your little one is eating
- Breastfeeding if possible will eliminate countless formula containers. You can check out my breastfeeding and pumping experience too!
Take the ideas that work for you and run with them!
Minimizing your household waste is not only better for your wallet but is essential to insure our environment is healthy for years to come. I hope you can use some of these ideas to make some changes in your own home. Once you make a habit of recycling, reusing, avoiding disposables, not wasting food and minimizing baby trash you will be well on your way to having a home with minimal waste! Good luck!