In 2012 it was estimated that the amount of garbage generated around the world would be in the ballpark of about 2.6 trillion pounds, and over half of this garbage goes to landfills.
At least 36% of this amount could have been recycled.
Those are some pretty disturbing figures. When we think about trash on a global level like this it can be pretty overwhelming.
But if we just think about what we can do today to decrease the amount of garbage going to landfills, that’s something we can manage.
When my husband and I first became homeowners we were fairly young and not really aware of our impact on the environment. We would bring two full trash cans to the curb every week! And it was just the two of us!! That really blows my mind.
When I started to really look at how much we were throwing out, that’s when I decided something had to give. So we started doing things a little different, and little by little our weekly trash became less and less and now we only bring one can to the curb and its almost always only half full.
Since then our family has grown and if any of you are parents you know how much extra stuff comes with babies! And a heck of a lot more garbage! Again we had to do things a little different, but I’m happy to say that we are down to even less than before, even with our daughter.
So I wanted to share with you the top 4 ways we reduce waste in our home (in the hopes that you would tell me your top 4!) and we can go down this greener path together.
Reduce Your Household Waste
This is obviously the number one way that you can reduce waste in your home. It is a bit of a pain to do but it is amazing the difference it will make in the amount of waste you have.
We started recycling in our first home of only 700sf (2 bedrooms, 3 adults), so if you’re going to tell me you don’t have room, I’m calling your bluff. We didn’t have room, but you find it. A closet, the pantry, your garage, a container on your deck, anywhere!
Now that we have moved into a bigger house, I have expanded what I am recycling; before I had room for cans (on the deck), cardboard and plastic bags (in a kitchen cupboard).
Now I recycle cardboard, plastic bags, paper (in a closet), cans, plastic containers and tin cans (on the deck). This is what works for us, find what works for you.
Before you throw out something that can be recycled, think about how long it would take in a landfill to decompose.
For example, aluminum cans would take 200-500 years to decompose in a landfill, but if recycled they can be reused in as little as 6 weeks!
Plastic is the same, averaging 450 years to decompose! This is what keeps me motivated to recycle.
Sell it or give it away
This is another big one for me. Every couple months I will go through different parts of my house and purge unwanted or unused items.
Most of the time, what I am getting rid of is in good condition, and would still serve a purpose, just not for me anymore.
If it’s something that is still pretty new, or that is in good condition that is worth a few bucks, I will try to sell it. Most of the time I don’t have the patience for this, so most of my things end up getting donated.
The Salvation Army is where I donate most of my things, they are a charitable organization that takes clothes and other household items and sells them at a very low cost for those less fortunate in the community.
I have always donated my clothes to the Salvation Army, but just last year I found out you can donate much more than clothes.
Now this is where most of my household items end up. Check out your local community to find where you could be donating your stuff to.
If you would rather sell your things, Facebook buy and sell pages are a good place to start, or a thrift store may buy your things off you as well.
This is another great way to reduce your waste. Think about how much food you throw out that could be composted. And the best part is it makes the best fertilizer for your gardens! That’s a win!
Small changes = Big payoff
This is something new I started last year on my “green” journey. Think about things in your home that produce waste that can easily be avoided.
For example, we have a Keurig coffee maker that takes pods. This is a very convenient way to make a single cup of coffee, but imagine how many of these pods end up in our landfills. Quite a bit!
We go through multiple cups of coffee per day in our household and that equals a lot of waste.
So instead we buy refillable pods, they fit in your coffee maker and can be refilled with coffee grounds again and again and again! And no paper filters either! If you used refillable pods and composted your used grounds, there would be no waste at all!
In my house, we used to go through paper towel like crazy! This is a major contributor to the amount of garbage that goes through our house. Then I found the Norwex enviro cloth.
This cloth is pretty amazing! It has silver weaved in that acts as a disinfectant. That means after you wipe something up, instead of getting smelly on your counter (like a regular cloth would) it actually disinfects itself!
I am absolutely obsessed with these cloths, and all the other Norwex products!
Another example is buying a filter instead of using bottled water. I talked about my Santevia water filter in a previous post, How about using a travel mug instead of a disposable cup every time you went out for coffee? I like to keep my favorite Starbucks tumbler in my car, that way it’s always on hand when I’m making a coffee run!
If you have small children, or are pregnant, consider cloth diapering. I am very passionate about my cloth diapers! There are no chemicals touching your baby’s sensitive skin, and almost no waste!
And the cost of cloth diapering is actually cheaper than disposables! (see my post on cloth diapering so you can see what I’m taking about! )
I hope this has inspired you to reduce the waste in your home, and please comment below and tell me how you’re going greener!
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