10 Ways to Reduce Your Household’s Monthly Waste Production
by Cora Gold
Many environmental problems are making headlines in the news. If you’ve been concerned about the water you drink or the air you breathe, you can help preserve the environment at home by moderating the waste your household produces. Here are some ideas to help you.
1. Carry Reusable Shopping Bags
Remember to bring reusable bags when you need to drop by the farmers market or grocery store. This way, you don’t collect plastics from every shop you buy items from. Some sellers may offer a few cents of a bag refund, saving you a small amount. Carrying a bag is a minor switch to your shopping routine that can reduce plastics in landfills.
2. Opt for Zero-Waste Products
Another easy method to scale down household waste is by intentionally choosing zero-waste products. Audit your personal care products and find out if you could replace them with items from sustainable brands. From shampoo and deodorant to skincare staples, the green market is full of affordable and high-quality products you can use without harming the planet.
3. Ditch Single-Use Plastics
Every year, 400 million tons of plastic waste are generated. Packaging and single-use plastics account for approximately 36% of these, and are mostly dumped in landfills or become unregulated waste that penetrates water systems. Limit waste at home by bringing your own reusable straw or water bottle, and choosing products with minimal plastic packaging.
4. Buy Loose Goods
Instead of buying products pre-packed in plastic bags, opt for loose items whenever possible. Buy in bulk and store those with longer shelf life in reusable jars at home. Some examples of loose goods you can buy in high quantities are:
- Tea leaves
- Baking ingredients
- Dried nuts, fruits and beans
- Some fresh root vegetables like potatoes
5. Improve Energy Efficiency
Appliances are some of the biggest contributors to emissions. By boosting your home’s energy efficiency, you can save on utility bills and advocate for a healthy planet. There are several ways to approach this goal, such as turning off appliances when not in use or upgrading to green windows and doors. Green windows feature multiple panes, low-E coatings, and eco-friendly frames to make your home 30% more energy efficient, which translates to monthly savings and high indoor air quality.
6. Purchase From Local Farmers
There are several benefits to buying local produce. Fruits and vegetables are fresh and more affordable, but sustainability is their best advantage. Local produce is more environmentally friendly, as farmers don’t have to transport the goods long distances, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from travel.
You can bring this merit to your home and lifestyle. Get your fruits and vegetables from local sources to drive down your household waste contribution.
7. Create a Meal Plan
The U.S. disposes of nearly 60 million tons of food waste annually — the highest worldwide. A straightforward solution to trim this number is by creating a meal plan.
Planning your meals weekly or monthly can streamline your grocery trips and ensure you use all the ingredients you buy. You can get creative when cooking your meals — plus, it makes preparation simpler. Create a FIFO system — or first in, first out — by labeling your food to know what you should eat first to avoid spoilage.
8. Compost Kitchen Waste
You can build fertile ground in your backyard for your flowering plants by tossing kitchen waste into a hole, which is low-effort. Composting is a great way to recycle food scraps, leftover vegetables, peels, and dry leaves. Doing this can help you manage waste and save money from buying fertilizer.
9. Green Up Your Wardrobe
The fashion industry accounts for at least 10% of global carbon dioxide output. By converting to a green wardrobe, you can be part of the solution to environmental problems.
Donate or sell your used clothes you haven’t worn in years. Upcycle and recycle garments, buy organic clothes from sustainable brands, or hit a consignment shop. Textile waste is a massive global problem and can make you feel like your efforts to reduce waste are meaningless. However, small steps like this done collectively make a genuine difference.
10. Make Your Own Cleaning Solutions
Home cleaning products use plastic packaging and are full of chemicals that degrade indoor air quality. They’re another opportunity to roll back on household waste by substituting them with natural cleaning solutions concocted right in your kitchen using vinegar, baking soda, and other items. With natural cleaning ingredients, you can make a green solution to disinfect kitchen surfaces, remove stains on the floor, and get rid of foul odors.
Reduce Household Waste in Your Own Ways
Environmental problems have reached a scale where they impact human health and cause various types of pollution. But these problems can be reversed if everyone works together, starting by being more conscious of the effect their actions or purchase decisions have.
Collective efforts can trigger a positive change. By reducing your household waste, you can set a good example for kids and other family members to care for the Earth.