Each of us in the U.S. creates more than four pounds of garbage every day! And with today’s packaging and portions, it’s difficult to cut back on waste. But all that trash has to go somewhere. Either it is burned and we breathe in the consequences, or we live among growing disposal dumps. But, there is hope! Here’s a list of 10 quick and simple ways to make less trash, which may not have crossed your mind:
1. Reduce all that junk mail. Spend a few minutes requesting to be taken off mailing lists can save time that you would spend shredding and sorting mail. Going paperless with your bills is also a great way to keep receipts and records without ever losing them.
2. Buy in bulk. Not only do you cut a lot of plastic packaging by buying your food, cleaning and other necessities in bulk, but you can save tons of money. By avoiding small stores and individual sized goods, you can stretch your dollar a lot farther than you think.
3. Compost. Composting sounds complicated but it’s actually available in many major cities as a tax paid service or a pretty cheap fee from private companies. They will come right to your door and pick up your compostable trash, which includes all of those leftovers that seem to always go to waste.
4. Bring your own big bag shopping. Not only will you cut down on tons of plastic, but you can reduce the clutter of all those plastic bags in your house.
5. Replace alkaline batteries with rechargeable batteries. Our electronic waste has nowhere to call home and it continues to accumulate as the newest gadgets become more irresistible. By using rechargeable batteries, you’ll never be stuck without batteries for the TV remote and you can help reduce your carbon footprint.
6. Buy reusable cups. Even cardboard cups have an inner lining of plastic that will not decompose. Think of how many cups you will keep out of the trash if you bring a reuseable for your coffee every morning.
7. Buy more recycled products. Many products are available that are recycled for repeated use—from ink and toner cartridges to coffee filters. Plus, these items often cost less.
8. Don’t trash your Christmas tree! You can actually recycle, rather than trash it. Call your town’s waste department to find out how.
9. Opt for more organic exfoliators. The tiny beads you find in your facial exfoliators are actually microplastics, which besides being harsh on your skin, actually clog recycling filters and build up in our oceans. Organic types contain apricot shells or other natural exfoliants. Check the organic aisles.
10. Using ceramic or glass containers. Most of us store our leftovers in plastic food containers, but these actually aren’t the healthiest or most environmentally friendly way to store food. Ceramic or glass will actually keep your food fresher longer—and are also microwave safe.