Trash Talk – 5 Ways to Reduce Your Trash and Help the Environment

Photo by Andrew Measham on Unsplash

It’s unlikely that you live a zero-waste lifestyle, so there’s always room for improvement when it comes to helping the planet. While the very idea of reducing your trash can be a little overwhelming, a perfect place to begin is right in the comfort of your own home.

Small changes such as recycling glass and plastic or using cloth bags instead of plastic ones when you go shopping make a big difference in the amount of trash you throw out. Below are several ways you can do your part to reduce waste to help the environment.

1. Use Reusable Containers

If you buy food in bulk, storing extra in reusable, airtight containers keeps it fresh longer and cuts down on waste. If you drink coffee every morning, consider using reusable coffee cups rather than the Styrofoam ones provided at the office. Styrofoam cups and other Styrofoam products take up about a third of the landfill space in the United States. Aside from its non-biodegradable nature, Styrofoam is toxic to both humans and the planet.

2. Start Composting

Composting is not a new concept, and many people reap the benefits of this highly beneficial activity. The most efficient form of composting these days is called vermicomposting. Vermicomposting uses worms to break down biodegradable waste into a hearty fertilizer that’s perfect for use in flower beds and gardens. Don’t throw your food waste away. Feed it to the worms to reduce your trash output.

3. Repair Rather than Replace

When’s the last time you tried to fix something instead of just throwing it out to buy a new one? Can’t remember? In a world full of “cheap and disposable” stuff, it’s a common practice to simply get rid of what’s broken and buy a new replacement. However, this creates an over-abundance of garbage in landfills and costs consumers more. Save yourself some money and save the planet by buying better quality items to start with and fix them as needed instead of throwing them away.

4. Opt Out of Unnecessary Mailings

If you’re like most people, your mailbox overflows with junk mail. From flyers for things about which you have no interest to catalogs you hardly look at, much less order from, you most likely throw it all away to eventually end up in a landfill. It might be somewhat inconvenient, but all it takes is a few simple phone calls or online forms to opt out of subscriptions and unsolicited junk mail. The effort is worth it since you’ll significantly reduce the amount of paper waste you produce.

5. Plan Meals and Shop Accordingly

Americans waste an astronomical amount of food each year. It’s a real problem for the environment because food waste creates harmful greenhouse gases and takes up more than a quarter of the earth’s available farmland. From an economic standpoint, food waste costs a whopping $750 billion a year.

By planning meals ahead of time and making a shopping list of just the ingredients you need, you avoid purchasing more food than you can eat. In addition to helping the environment, you’ll be helping yourself, too, because you’re more apt to make healthier food choices when you cook meals at home.

The average person puts out about 5 pounds of trash every single day. At such a high rate, tips fill up quickly. You can do your part to reduce trash and help the environment by implementing one or all of these suggestions in your household today.