Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Reducing your rubbish: 8 ways to cut back on your trash

Image by Maita Ru
Yesterday was garbage day in our neighborhood. I must say I'm pleased at the little amount of trash my husband and I throw out each week. Our garbage men know how easy it will be to pick up our can each week, versus our recycling container, which tends to be pretty full. Between recycling, donating, and composting, we just don't have much trash.

What about you? Have you been trying to find ways to cut back on your contribution to the landfills? Here are tips you might find helpful:

1.  This probably goes without saying, but carry reusable bags with you wherever you go. I have some that fold up or roll up nicely and slip into my purse. It's rare that I don't have 2 or 3 with me at any given time. Then there is the countless assortment in my trunk. It's worth the investment to be stocked up. 

2.  Skip the small plastic bags at the grocery store when you buy produce. Most produce can be placed loose in your cart or basket. Why bother putting two onions in a bag? Green beans? Well that's different. But you could get buy some reusable produce bags and avoid having even more plastic bags heading for the dump.

3.  Take up darning. Darning? Yes, darning. Who here simply throws away socks and other clothing when they tear? In the old days, people just didn't waste things like that. They fixed them; whether we're talking socks or appliances. Throwing things away was always a last resort. Now, admittedly, I don't darn. I rarely sew. But as I challenge you, I'm challenging me as well. NEW is not always better. And generally, it's not the green way to go.

4.  Opt for non-packaged food. Buy things in bulk or shop for fresh meat and produce, thus avoiding the styrofoam or plastic packaging. If you must buy something pre-packaged, stick to recyclable plastic and toss the container into the recycling bin. 

5.  Shop for quality items that won't wear out so quickly. Yes, you can find bargains at Walmart, but ask yourself how long they're likely to last. Paying more upfront can save you more in the long run. And it will prevent more waste in the landfill.

6.  Use things until they wear out. For us, that means we're still watching TV on big ol' 27" tube televisions. They still work, so why replace them? And do you seriously need a new cell phone?

7.  Find your local recycling centers that will take all the recyclables your refuse company won't. Nearly all paper and cardboard is recyclable. So why are you throwing it out? There is next to no reason whatsoever for you to be tossing your plastics and aluminum cans in the trash, right? 

8.  Stop using, or seriously limit the use of, disposable products! This includes:
  • diapers
  • wipes
  • napkins
  • paper towels
  • feminine products
  • Keurig (and similar) one-cup beverages
  • paper plates
  • plastic cups
  • plastic flatware
  • tissues
  • makeup remover cloths 
These are just some suggestions to help you live a more earth-friendly life by reducing your contribution to the growing landfill problem. Of course, I don't expect you'll do everything on the list. I'm guilty of violating some of these "rules" myself. But if we all do our part, believe me, it will make a difference. 
So did I miss anything? Let me know what suggestions you have for reducing your rubbish. That's the thing I love about community... we can all learn from each other.

Keeping it green on trash day,

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