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Reducing household waste is everyone’s responsibility. By reducing waste, you’ll reduce your environmental impact, influence the people around you to do the same and improve the planet as a whole.
Here are a few ways you can quickly cut down your household waste.
==> Compost Instead of Throwing Out Foods
Did you know that compostable foods account for as much as 25% of our solid waste?
Instead of throwing away those carrot peels and orange peels, learn to compost them. It’s not difficult. All you need to do is save up your compostable foods in a separate bin, then throw them into the dirt to compost.
It’ll enrich your soil while simultaneously reducing your waste.
==> Bring Your Own Bags and Cups
Whenever you go shopping, bring your own bag(s) to avoid having to use a plastic bag. If you get your whole family in the habit of doing this, you’ll save over a hundred plastic bags per year.
When you go out for coffee, make it a habit to bring your own cup. Often times coffee shops will even give you a discount or a larger portion if you bring your own cup.
If you swing by Starbucks every morning, that’s 30 cups a month, 365 cups a year that you’re saving the environment.
==> Buy Recyclable and Recycle
Check to see if the products you’re buying are made out of recyclable materials before you buy them. If there’s a choice between buying recyclable and non-recyclable, go with the recyclable materials every time.
Set up your own recycling bin and make sure your neighborhood recycles. If they don’t, see what you can do about getting a recycling program set up.
==> Buy Whole Foods
Instead of buying pre-packaged foods, opt to buy whole foods instead.
For example, instead of buying canned tomatoes, buy whole tomatoes. You instantly save yourself a can.
Avoid canned fish, pre-packaged mushrooms, fruit packages, etc. and opt for their whole food counterparts instead.
==> Donate or Sell Old Stuff
Instead of throwing out things that have been collecting dust, make it a habit of donating them or selling them off.
Something that you might have no interest in anymore may be worth something to someone else at a garage sale or on eBay.
If you have things that aren’t really suitable for sale, donate them to Goodwill or your local charity instead.
==> Buy in Large Quantities
A lot of things in the household will take less packaging if you buy in larger quantities.
For example, instead of buying many containers of small detergent boxes, buy one big box.
Whenever you see a choice between buying bigger or smaller, try to pick the bigger (provided that you will eventually use it all). You’ll also usually be paying less per ounce.
These are a few of the many ways you can reduce your household waste and help the environment. Remember: the environment is everyone’s responsibility. By reducing your waste, you’re doing your part to help the planet.
If you’d like to start going green, it helps to have some guidance as to where to begin. After all, people have various degrees of “green-ness” in their lives, and everyone has to begin somewhere. Here are some tips on getting started.
This basic move is a good place to start. If you’re not currently recycling – perhaps it sounds too overwhelming – you can start by contacting your local waste management/garbage collection system. There may be a program in place already, and you only have to put your recycling in a special container at the curb. Alternatively, find out if there is a recycling center nearby where you can drop off your recycling.
Give your home an energy audit. Make sure your windows and doors are insulated – use weather stripping to seal up the space between the window or door and the wall. Check your attic and make sure it’s thoroughly insulated as well.
If you haven’t done it already, change your conventional bulbs to CFLs (compact fluorescent lights), and install inexpensive timers on your lamps.
Heating and Cooling
One of the biggest energy users in the home is the heating and cooling system. If you can, install a timer on your home’s thermostat. This simple step can really save on heating and cooling bills. Another way to help preserve energy use is to keep the filter on your system clean. Change it at least every 60 days.
In the summer, try not to flip the AC on when the first warm day comes along. Use fans in open windows to draw in cool, night-time air, and then take the fans out of the windows as the day heats up. Fans, even running continually, do not use as much electricity as central air conditioning.
In the winter, take some simple steps to boost your home’s warmth. Open curtains and blinds to let warm winter sunlight into the house. Turn the thermostat down at night, use safe space heaters around the house, and close the vents in unused rooms.
Another simple step toward greening your life is to conserve water. Shorten your showers a little at a time, and if you pre-rinse your dishes before running the dishwasher, rinse the whole sink full of dishes, turn off the water, and then load the dishwasher. There are other simple water-saving tips you can implement as well, such as the installation of a rain barrel and only running the dishwasher and washing machine when they are full.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that make a difference – especially if a lot of people implement them! If you want to add in some small steps to make your life a little greener, here are some suggestions.
If you have a commute to work or school, see if you can combine vehicle use with a neighbor or friend. It’s not a huge step, but it’s one less car on the road that morning.
If you are looking for ways to go green and you are not recycling, this is the small step to start with. It is not a huge lifestyle adjustment to set up a couple of bins and plan regular trips to the recycling plant – or, hopefully, you can set your recycling out for the local waste management to pick up.
Turn off lights when you’re not in a room. When you can, use daylight for reading and eating, and when it’s dark use a single lamp – preferably with a CFL bulb.
Try to combine errands in one trip so you use less fuel. The carpool principle can be applied here, too.
While water is abundant on the planet, clean, safe drinking water is not. Try to conserve this precious resource with some small steps. For example:
* Do not flush liquid waste every time you use the toilet. Flush after two or three liquid waste toilet visits.
* Pre-rinse dishes in a pan or sink of water (rather than under running water), then load the dishwasher. Also, running the dishwasher only when it’s full can help save water as well.
* Wash your car as infrequently as you can, and when you do, turn the hose off while you soap up and scrub the car.
6. Heating and Cooling
Turn down your thermostat at night and when you leave the house. Even better, install a programmable timer – it’s simpler than you think and is still considered a small step. Make sure your furnace filters are changed regularly, and use fans as much as possible in the summer.
Cut back on meat where you can – since we’re talking small steps, maybe have one meatless meal a week or three meatless meals one day a week. Commercially-raised meat is said to have a negative impact on the environment, so the less you eat, the lower the demand, and the fewer animals raised for slaughter.
Make the switch to local and organic food. Maybe choose one food to start with, such as apples or carrots.
As you implement these small steps, you and many others like you can have a significant, positive impact on the environment.