- Borrow instead of buy. Ask a friend to borrow a dress for a formal occasion. Borrow that tool that you only need once a year from a neighbor. Borrow books from the library. Rent movies from a local video store. By buying less, you’ll have less waste coming into your home from packaging, receipts, tags, etc.
- Buy used. Check out pawn shops, consignment shops/sales, garage and yard sales, church rummage sales, etc. for things you need and will use often. Kids clothes are a great item to buy used as they out grow each size so fast that there’s usually a plethora of used kid’s clothes that are hardly worn. Check out garage sales for appliances that need replacing or for unique housewares.
- Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk can help reduce the packaging that comes into your house. Just don’t get fooled by bulk packages that are really just multiples of the normal package with extra packaging holding them together.
- Don’t buy single use items. Paper plates, napkins, and towels, plastic cups, flatware, and bags- these convenience items are a terrible drain on our resources. Whenever possible, use reusable alternatives and if you have to buy one-time use items, try to recycle or compost them afterwards. (Go the extra step and eliminate single-use diapers, toilet paper, or feminine hygiene products.)
- Bring your own packaging. Bringing your own shopping bags is becoming more and more popular, but you can also bring your own reusable produce bags or mason jars for loose items.
- Save gift bags you receive to use again when you have a gift to give.
- Rinse and reuse plastic food containers.
- Save bread and tortilla bags and reuse to hold snacks or as trash bags for road trips.
Most of us think of taking bags of plastic bottles and soda cans to big green dumpsters when we think of recycling, and while that is an awesome way to reduce your trash output, there are other ways to recycle things around the house as well. If you’re just getting started, check out these tips on recycling.
Composting is the ultimate green recycling. Home composting can take your kitchen and yard scraps and turn them into glorious dirt, perfect for growing your own organic veggies. There are plenty of ways to compost and I’m sure you can find a system that works for your household. (Foods that can’t be composted can usually be sent through the garbage disposal instead of doing in the trash bag.)
Return food packaging to the producer when appropriate. Local egg farms usually love for you to return your egg cartons as they can be pretty pricey to buy new. Some companies will take back their glass bottles to refill them (many companies stopped this program some time ago, but there are still some accepting bottles, check with any local bottling plants).
You can do it!
We just took our trash can to the curb to be picked up for the first time in over a month (maybe about six weeks). It took us that long to fill the can up. It may seem cumbersome at first and it can be trying, but if you just take it one step at a time, you can significantly reduce the amount of trash your household produces.
Here are some Pinterest boards to help you find tips and tricks to reduce your trash output:
- Tips to Reduce Waste: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/waste-less-reduce/
- Reusable items: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/reuse-no-more-disposable/
- Composting: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/compost-creation/
- General “green” tips: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/greener-life/
- Canning Info (great way to keep food from being waste!): http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/canning/
- Cloth Diapering: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/cloth-diapering-crazies/
- Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/reduce-reuse-recycle/
- Earth Day Activities for Kids: http://www.pinterest.com/OurLittleClan/earth-day-activities/