February 25th, 2011

20 Quick Ways to Reduce What’s in Your Trash

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Photo used under Creative Commons from Ace Solid Waste

Every year people get rid of billions of tons of trash. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds (2 kg) of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds (13 kg) per week and 1,600 pounds (726 kg) a year.  All of this garbage has to go somewhere and that somewhere is usually a landfill. We are running out of space!

Where does all this garbage come from? Most of the stuff that we send off to landfills comes from single-use products and product packaging.  Our society is all about disposability- “use-and-toss” products are filling our garbage cans.  Let’s face it, we are a trash culture. The only way to reduce the amount of garbage we contribute to landfills is to learn how to reduce our consumption of use-and-toss products. 

Check out these 20 things you can do to reduce your trash:

Let me know which are keepers……..

  1. Paper towels-try out a cloth that can be washed.
  2. Paper plates and cups-use the real deal whenever possible or opt for reusable.
  3. Silverware-metal is the way to go.
  4. Plastic grocery bags-reusable bags are a great alternative.
  5. Bottled water-reusable bottles will hold all sorts of drinks.
  6. Individually packaged snacks-buy snacks in a regular sized bag and put single servings in reusable bags.
  7. Disposable Napkins-try reusable.
  8. Plastic baggies-replace with reusable bags that can be washed.
  9. Garbage bags– try to reuse bags that are not messy inside by emptying the garbage out and reusing the bag.
  10. Cotton balls-try using a cloth instead.
  11. Printer cartridges-get the old ones refilled rather than buying new cartridges.
  12. Batteries-invest in rechargeable batteries instead of disposable batteries.
  13. Mail-opt to receive statements and bills electronically when possible.
  14. Bubble wrapBeth at Fake Plastic Fish suggests trying to reuse something you already have for packaging-try newspaper or old rags.
  15. Plastic wrap and foil-use a container with a cover instead for food storage.
  16. Aluminum foil-use a pot with a cover or for storage, use a glass container.
  17. Razors-get reusable instead of single-use razors.
  18. Liquid hand soaps in plastic containers-get a few reusable, decorative containers and refill them.
  19. Disposable diapers-consider changing to cloth.
  20. Juice boxes– although easy and convenient these boxes could take 300-400 years to decompose in landfills and they are not recyclable. Reusable bottles are the way to go.

Don’t forget to recycle. Such simple ways to make every day earth day!


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