4 Effective Ways to Reduce Waste: Homeowner Edition

Any conversation about environmentalism needs to include being less wasteful. Thankfully the internet is full of tips for zero-waste recipes these days, and companies starting to step up to the plate and offer reusables and minimal packaging solutions. But what about bigger projects for homeowners? Here are four very effective ideas, so see if one of these can apply to you!

Effective Heating and Cooling

First up on our list is making sure your home stays at a comfortable temperature without cooking the planet. For getting ready for the winter, installing geothermal heating or solar power would be ideal, but if not then pellet stoves offer a much more sustainable heating system than some traditional ones. Pellet stoves use scrap wood that would otherwise be thrown out and throw out quite a bit of heat up to 1500 square feet. Making sure your place has new insulation is a great way to make sure you don’t lose heat unnecessarily, and sheep’s wool can get you that higher quality insulation without the nastiness of fiberglass. And while many of our readers might not be worrying about AC for the next few months, cooling systems are massively wasteful and dangerous to the environment. That said, seeing that tens of millions of A/C units are a decade old or more, a simple easy fix is to upgrade your A/C to a new one, as it’ll just be that much more efficient, as well as conform to modern environmental standards.

Build Greener

Next up is carefully choosing what to build. Building materials are one of the biggest considerations in any construction project, and some are easily better than others. Bamboo is easily one of the most eco-friendly plants out there, as it requires little pesticides, fertilizers, and regrows very easily. There are also plenty of recycled building materials out there such as recycled metals and reclaimed woods, saving a huge amount of production to making the materials. There is also green cement production in the works, so make sure to be on the lookout for that.

Use Water More Efficiently

We all know that taking shorter showers, only using the laundry when the load is full, and turning off the faucet as we brush our teeth will help us conserve water, but what about using water more efficiently overall? First up is making sure your appliances are up to date. Energy star products will help save water and electricity, and dual flush toilets are also in-vogue for a good reason.. Consider also getting an aerator for your faucet, which mixes air into the water so you need less water to maintain the water pressure. Finally but most importantly, check for leaks regularly. Repairing a leak can be as simple as buying a $5 replacement part but can save thousands and thousands of gallons of water over time (not to mention helping out with the utilities bill). 

Be Better Recyclers 

Finally, be better recyclers and upcyclers. Recycling is actually a little than it’s made out to be, especially if you’re living with single stream recycling like the majority of American households. Recently, China changed it's recycling policy to only accept recyclables that are uncontaminated and can be easily recyclable, setting off a chain reaction of similar policies across Southeast Asia. This caused a crisis in the west, as before then western countries were not processing the recycling much at all, meaning that much of the waste that was clogging the Yangtze and other Asian rivers was coming from abroad. So as western nations struggle to update their recycling systems to handle all this trash, we as consumers can help by making sure as much of the recycling on our end is actually recyclable. 

Glass containers and aluminum cans (that didn’t once contain hazardous waste) can be recycled indefinitely, so always recycle them when you can. Just make sure to clean them so that the recycling plant workers don’t have to deal with rotten food. Similarly, cardboard can be recycled but cardboard contaminated with food cannot, so while your Amazon boxes are fine to recycle, your chinese food take and pizza boxes are not. Most recycling plants do not accept plastic bags as they are too thin, but many grocery stores are able to recycle them so be sure to take any that you use there. Batteries and electronics are much more difficult to recycle so be sure to know the location of your electronics recycling facilities. Finally remember that the best way to recycle is to not need the object in the first place, so remember to reduce and reuse first.


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