Have you ever stopped to wonder how much you throw out every year? I know in my house we used to fill up two trash cans every single week. That is a lot of trash! I really needed to find ways to waste less.
Did you know the average U.S. family produces 124 pounds of garbage each week? That means the average family produces 6,448 pounds of garbage per year. This is quiet literally a ton of trash, well, actually 3.22 tons of trash! As a whole the U.S. generate about 254 million tons of garbage each year.
I don’t know about y’all but I think I’d like to actually leave my children with a planet and not a trash heap. Maybe this sounds a bit extreme to you and I bet some of y’all are thinking ‘gah environmentalist BS.’ Well maybe it is a bit exaggerated, it will probably take a few more generations to get to this state but….
Did You Know?
It takes Aluminum cans 80-200 years to decompose.
It takes glass millions of years to decompose.
Disposable Diapers 250-500 years to decompose.
Sanitary pads 500-800 years to decompose
Aluminum foil takes up to 500 years to decompose.
Styrofoam NEVER biodegrades.
Batteries 100 years to decompose.
Plywood 1-3 years to decompose.
When you look at things this way I think it is pretty easy to how, overtime, trash will continue to accumulate, eventually covering the majority of the land on this planet unless we find ways to reduce our waste or have waste the decomposes much faster. So here are some ways I have found to reduce my waste everyday.
15 Ways To Waste Less
- Lets start with the easiest one of all….recycle anything and everything you can!
- Get a reusable coffee filter like this one.
- For all of you Keurig users learn how to waste less here.
- Reuse coffee grounds in the garden.
- If you are like me and have a couple of little munchkins (kids) running around you probably have a hearty supply of glass baby food jars. I like to reuse them as containers for my Cuticle and Nail Cream, Flax Seed Hair Gel, and DIY Beeswax Candles. Here are 8 other ways you can reuse baby food jars.
- For all those kitchen scraps you can start a compost pile to fertilize you garden with.
- Replace aluminum foil in your kitchen.
- Use reusable menstrual products like cloth pads and menstrual cups. This may seem like a big and gross step, but honestly it is not that bad. If it is too much for you then look into cotton tampons and cotton pads.
- Replace paper towels in your kitchen. Cloth towels absorb more and save money!
- Ditch the plastic grocery bags. Us reusable cgrocery bags and produce bags. You can even get insulated bags for all your cold and frozen groceries! You can even get a 5 piece kit to get you started!
- Pay your bills online! The internet is a great resource that can help you save money in lots of unique ways. For example, my neighbours recently found that comparing energy plans online helped them to save money on their electricity and utility bills. There are a variety of affordable options out there such as Gexa Energy plans that can be discovered online, so if you are thinking of changing energy provider, take a look on the internet first to see if you could be entitled to any deals or savings.
- Buy used furniture and upcycle old furniture in your home. In case you have got really old furniture that needs to be disposed off then you could also contact companies who possess recycling and metal processing equipment as an alternative to just throwing them away. These companies like Doyle Machinery also provide recycling solutions for different kinds of domestic waste including green waste, wood, plastics, paper, and biomass. Talking about used furniture, I also love going to antique shops and yard sales. You never know what you will find there. If you are on Facebook chances are there is a Buy/Sell/Trade or Yard Sale group for people in your area, check it out! Pinterest is full of unique ways to upcycle old items so be sure to check it out for some inspiration!
- Mason Jars for everything! I use my mason jars to store dry foods, preserve fruits and vegetables, to drink from (they make these awesome lids with steel straws for mason jars), make overnight oats, store soups and stews in the fridge or freezer, storing change and other loose items, for liquid soap, and soooo much more! Seriously go buy yourself some mason jars, the possibilities are endless!
- Cloth diapers. I absolutely loooove cloth diapers. They are super easy to use and look adorable on babies.
- Buy what you can in bulk. I absolutely love Costco because I can get many things like flour, sugar, cereals, and more in bulk, and they cary a bunch of organic options. Even though it produces some waste it is much less because you get more volume of product per package.
- Use wool dryer balls instead of dryer sheets.
- Drop the air fresheners. Not only are they waste full they are also full of all kinds of toxic chemicals and have been banned in many European countries. Diffuse essential oils instead!
- Use family cloth instead of toilet paper. We haven’t tried this one yet, I am still trying to convince Hubs it is a good idea. But for those of you ready to take the plunge in to a zero waste lifestyle do it!
- Drop the paper plates and get real dishes. For those with kids stainless steel dishes and Corelle Dinnerware are a great option. While Corelle is still breakable it is actually pretty hard to do, I drop mine on tile and concrete all the time and have not lost 1 dish yet (BONUS: it is also pretty cheap!).
- Start your own garden and preserve what you can. Don’t have a lot of space, look into container gardening! From flowers to fresh herbs, to bigger projects like starting a veg patch, there’s bound to be something you’ve always wanted to have a go at. When you do decide what you want to do, you can check online for any home depot promo code that may be around to save you some money and get your gardener on! You can even get your children involved and get them something like speedway express wagons so that they can help transport all of the veggies!
Doing all of these things we have greatly reduced the amount of trash in our house. Instead of 2 full trash cans every week we are down to 1/2 trash can. I am continuing trying to reduce what we use and hopefully be completely waste free one day! We also save on average $1,000+ reusing and re-purposing items, that is like a nice vacation for us, or money to put away for our future farm!