Biggest Way to Reduce Waste at Home
If you’re reading this you most likely are interested in zero waste movements, or at least are looking for ways to be less wasteful. And with climate change, the various crises around ocean waste, and a growing sense of frustration with how our global environmental crisis is being handled, it’s not surprising to hear the zero waste movement is rapidly picking up steam. Now, as always, we have to caution that reducing waste at home, while important, is one part of a larger movement for change, and we’ve detailed what we believe needs to happen overall here. But reducing what we can reduce immediately is still very important to be individually more environmental and to build pressure for the overall movement. So let’s look at the biggest ways to reduce waste, based on what the biggest sources of household waste are.
Yup, paper is the number one source of household waste. Thousands of trees are being cut down to make things we often look at once then forget. So what do we do about it?
Make as much needed paperwork done electronically
Switch to cloth napkins, reusable plates, and reusable coffee filters
Print everything double sided, and use as much of scrap paper as possible
Learn to say no to fliers, business cards, and other giveaways.
Do your writing online if you can still be creative that way (don’t forget to save your files in multiple locations though)
Second highest on the list is food scraps. According to the Guardian, 150,000 tons of food are thrown out each day in America (disturbingly, the people eating healthy greens throw out more), which is a big part of a larger food waste problem. So what can we do?
Cook soups, stews, scrambles, and other recipes that’ll use your scraps.
Eat the ugly looking fruits and veggies, they taste just as good
Pickle your leftovers and extra home grown foods to make them last longer
The third biggest source of waste is yard trimmings, nearly tied with food waste. This might be surprising, but considering the American obsession with suburban yards it does make sense. So what can you do?
Grow veggies in your yard to reduce the amount of lawn space you need to mow while also making your yard save you money.
Try xeriscaping to make yard maintenance become almost nothing (while also saving on your water bill)
Finally we get to plastic, which is probably what most people think about when talking about unnecessary waste. Now, it is probably the most harmful waste on the list because it never breaks down, and this figure is about household waste so “on the go” plastic isn’t here, but plastic still represents a huge amount of household waste. So what are some quick solutions?
Don’t use plastic utensils, and switch to reusable food storage
Switch to bar soap, bar shampoo, and bar conditioners.
Buy bulk whenever possible
Avoid sodas, water bottles, and tea bags (yes, those have plastics, go loose leaf instead)Switch to bamboo toothbrushes and safety razors.
We hope you enjoyed this article, and got a better handling of what American household waste looks like. If you’d like to keep up with articles like this, follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or our Journal page.