Let’s face it: we throw away too much stuff. I don’t think I’ll get any argument there. Disposable products, packaging, electronics that seem to define planned obsolescence, it all ends up in the landfill.
The first and most obvious way to reduce household waste is to stop bringing it into your house in the first place. If it has a package, consider other alternatives. Can you make it yourself (bread, ice)? Can you choose a different product with better packaging (loose tomatoes instead of those in plastic packages or spaghetti sauce in glass rather than plastic)? Can you do without or get it second hand?
If you’re not composting yet, consider this the nudge you need to do so. Divert your kitchen scraps from the landfill and make garden gold. You can compost if you’re lazy. You can compost with worms. You can compost with your blender. Figure out what works and do it.
Donate items you don’t need
I once worked for a woman who threw her toddler daughter’s outgrown clothes away. Like, in the garbage. I doubt anyone here is doing that, but think about what you toss. The local preschool might be able to use some of those obscure packages in craft projects. Your friend with chickens might appreciate your egg cartons. A local business might like that bubble wrap that your birthday gift came in.
Cook from scratch
Buying a pre-made salad at the deli counter is fast, but leaves you with the hard plastic clam shell packaging to throw away. Instead, buy a head of lettuce, use your cloth produce bags, and top with whatever veggies are in season. Skip the canned soups and make your own. Or learn to replace one of your favorite supermarket “cheat foods” with a homemade version.
In my mind, it’s more important to reduce the amount of recyclable items that we use first, but if you must use them then please recycle.
In this household, we fill about one kitchen trash can every two weeks. It’s primarily filled with plastic: Toilet paper wrappers, the plastic safety bands from supplement bottles, tortilla packages. I’m sure that’s a lot less than some of you, and more than others. In any case, it makes me cringe every time we fling our trash over the edge at the transfer station. I’m certainly not aspiring to zero-waste like this family, but less trash? Absolutely.
So. Will you come clean and tell us how many bags of trash you go through a week? And what are you willing to do to reduce that amount?