Are you looking for ways to reduce waste in your home? Many families want to lessen their carbon footprint and save money by reducing household waste. If you’re looking for ways to reduce waste, you’ll probably find that most of the information published about moving towards a “zero waste home” is written by people that live in large metropolitan areas with a lot of resources, or, it’s written by people who live on their own farms.
What about those of us who are somewhere in between? Many of us live in communities with just a few stores to choose from. While more and more communities are implementing recycling programs, there are still many communities that don’t have that option.
Fortunately, reducing waste in your home doesn’t have to be an all or nothing pursuit. Every little thing you do to reduce waste helps.
As you begin to look for ways to reduce waste in your home, take small steps towards reducing waste so you don’t get overwhelmed.
Ways to Reduce Waste in Your Home
- Bring reusable shopping bags with you to the store. Ask the cashier to put your items in the reusable bags instead of in plastic bags.
- If you don’t need the receipt from a purchase you make, don’t take one.
- Buy things from bulk bins at the store if possible.
- If you must use plastic bags from the store for produce purchases, rinse them out at home and reuse them if you think it’s safe to do so.
- Cut down on paper towel use by using old rags instead. Keep them in a bowl or basket in your kitchen for easy access. Every time you can use the reusable towel over a paper towel, you’re reducing waste and saving money!
- Sign up for paperless billing.
- Opt out of catalogs and phone books through Catalog Choice.
- Become a leftover-using expert!
- Opt out of junk mail. Here are some ways to get yourself off the mailing lists.
- When choosing between products to purchase, choose the one with less packaging.
- When choosing what to purchase, opt for things that are reusable or compostable.
- Consider buying meat in bulk from a local butcher.
- Use both sides of paper when printing, making lists, writing notes, etc.
- Bring your own coffee cup to be refilled at the coffee shop instead of taking a disposable one. I like ceramic commuter mugs because they fit in the drink holder in our car.
- Use cloth napkins. Hold onto disposable ones you might get from takeout orders to use for gross spills.
- Buy your eggs from local farmers. Bring your own egg container each time.
- Grow your own food – even if it’s just a small pot of herbs on your windowsill.
- Get rid of your clutter via Freecycle or local Facebook groups. Search for a “Buy Nothing” Facebook group in your community.
- Sell your junk at a garage sale.
- As you declutter, donate what you don’t need or want.
- Stop buying disposable food storage containers. Opt for glass jars or containers instead.
- Re-purpose stuff. The Tightwad Gazette is full of creative ideas for repurposing things you have around the house.
- Consider canceling magazine and newspaper subscriptions if you’re not using them.
- If you have to purchase something with a lot of packaging, opt for a bigger size. That way, it will last longer, and you won’t have to replace it as soon as you would with the smaller sizes.
- Forego plastic drinking straws.
Don’t underestimate the impact that your small steps can make over time. Even though we might not have access to health food stores, bulk bins, and recycling programs, there are still things we can do to lower our carbon footprints, save money, and make our homes healthier.
Ready to try going zero waste? Check out this 30-Day Zero Waste Challenge on Green Oklahoma!
These books are both written by people who live in the Bay Area, but they are still full of great ideas, suggestions, and inspiration.
Zero Waste Home: The Ultimate Guide to Simplifying Your Life by Reducing Your Waste
The Zero Waste Lifestyle: Live Well By Throwing Away Less – I just started reading this one, and it’s really helpful. The author lives in Oregon.