Health & Wellness Blog

    

Easy Ways to Minimize Waste Around the Home

The average household waste for a family of four is estimated by the U.S. EPA to be around 16 pounds per day.  Of this waste, 75%-85% goes to the landfill or is incinerated and only a small portion is recycled and composted.

While you may not have the time or ability to compost and recycle everything around the house, you can make a positive impact simply by reducing the amount of waste which you generate every day. Over time small changes can make a big difference.

Tips on Reducing Your Home's Waste

Plastic

Plastic, while very useful, plastic has its drawbacks. One of the biggest is its lack of bio-degradability. Considering that plastic forms the majority of landfill waste, reducing it is very important. Using the following items can help you easily reduce your plastic waste.

  • Reusable Water Bottles: Instead of purchasing disposable water bottles, buy a reusable water bottle with a built in filter. This option is environment friendly since most filters can be used around 300 times before being replaced.
  • Eco-Friendly Reusable Bags: Use reusable bags made of materials such as jute, organic cotton or paper. These reusable bags are stronger than plastic bags, and can be recycled easily when necessary. These are great for groceries, clothing and other items. Even if you just switch to reusable grocery bags vs. plastic you will make a significant impact over the year.
  • Reusable Utensils: It’s tough to risk taking your good silverware on a picnic, sending it to work or worse yet to school possibly never to be seen again. Plastic utensils have become the travel replacement in an effort to preserve our nice silverware collections, but now there are better options. You can invest in a few sets of bamboo utensils. They are hand crafted, certified organic, light, stronger than wood, stain resistant and anti-microbial.  Hands down they are cooler than plastic and if you loose a spoon it won’t break the bank to replace it.
  • Eco-Friendly Reusable Snack Bags:  Switching to reusable grocery bags may be obvious but the small plastic bags and containers you use for lunches and snacks every day add up too.  The perfect example is your child’s school lunch. Typically it may include a plastic sandwich bag, a plastic snack bag, a disposable juice container, a plastic yogurt cup and plastic spoon. Lets give this eco-friendly snack or lunch box an environmental makeover: add a reusable eco-friendly bamboo spoon, reusable metal drink bottle, reusable yogurt container and eco friendly reusable snack bags.

Paper

The amount of useful paper that is thrown out is astounding. By reducing the amount of paper that you use, not only will you lower landfill waste, you help to preserve forests and reduce pollution created during the manufacturing process. A few easy tips to reduce your paper waste:

Food

Around 30 million pounds of good food is thrown out in the United Sates each year. Take these steps to waste less food.

Hazardous Wastes

While most hazardous materials have to be discarded, you can reduce the amount of dangerous waste by taking the following steps:

A large part of landfill waste is unnecessary. By following these easy tips you can reduce the waste your family creates.  Over time the small changes that you make will create a significant difference in the world that future generations inherit. 

  • Cloth Napkins: Instead of paper napkins that you simply use and throw, switch to cloth napkins.  They are classy, have beautiful designs and will last for years. Look for organic cotton napkins to protect people and the environment from unnecessary synthetic pesticides.
  • Cloth Towels:  Much like cloth napkins, cloth towels are often a better value, do a better job at cleaning up the mess and are far more attractive. Purchase organic cotton towels whenever possible.
  • Reuse and Reduce Printing Paper: Read documents on a screen, and send them via e-mail whenever possible. When you do need to print use both sides if you can.  If you have one-sided pages, use the back as scrap paper, then shred and use in packaging or recycle.
  • Recycle Newspaper: Consider reading the newspaper online and unsubscribe to unnecessary paper mailings.  Recycle the old newspapers you receive or ask a local animal shelter if they could use them.
  • Reusable Plates: Invest in reusable plates in your picnics or outside parties instead of disposable.  Sturdy plastic or bamboo plates are great durable long lasting options.
  • Reuse Leftovers: Reuse the leftovers from dinner one night to invent a new meal for the next day. There are lots of cookbooks that specialize in showing you how to make delicious easy meals this way.
  • Buying what you need: Grocery shop with a list.  It will prevent you from buying perishable items that you already have at home and help to ensure that all of the items you buy can be used together to make great meals.
  • Composting: Since food is biodegradable, consider the use of a compost bin to create rich fertilizer to use in your garden and backyard.
  • Purchase Reusable Batteries: One single pair of rechargeable batteries can prevent you from purchasing countless new ones.
  • Give Away & Donate: Working electronic items including a used cell phone, iPad, computer, iPod, Game Boy and GPS navigation device is always appreciated at Goodwill and other non-profit organizations.  Even if your electronic device is broken you may be able to sell it online or donate it to be refurbished.
  • Recycle: If you have batteries, chemicals, ink cartridges or electronic items that cannot be reused or refurbished then please recycle them properly.

This article was contributed by the cleanly, eco-friendly house sitters at SanFranciscoHouseSitters.org. Personally known as Tyler & Paloma, these individuals provide no-trace, eco-friendly house sitting services in San Francisco.

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