Trash Reduction: A 30-Day Plan for Every Homeowner
Do some necessary homework.
Before you can start to reduce the amount of garbage you send to a landfill each week, you need to figure out how much garbage you currently produce and what it consists of. Next, you need to figure out what you can and cannot recycle in your town or city, and what your options are for composting (some cities will pick up your compost each week; in others, it falls on you to make use of it).
If you can, start composting.
Obtain a clean, reusable, sealed container (you don't want molds, the stench, or fruit flies in your kitchen) to store your food waste in. You've instantly kept all your compostable food waste out of a landfill. If your city doesn't have weekly composting pick-ups, you can use the compost yourself for gardening and/or landscaping purposes (See Day 20).
Ask yourself what kinds of containers your products come in.
Start changing them where necessary.
Many very similar products come in plastic containers, metal containers, and other similar boxes. Choose your products based on what you can recycle, or at least reuse. If you buy dairy products each week, choose reusable bottles or purchase yogurt in plastic containers that can be reused around your house. Purchase vegetables in plastic bags, then reuse those bags when you go back to your store or greenmarket instead of purchasing your produce in another plastic carton every week. If you can recycle paper, break down and remove all of your cardboard boxes, and if glass is an option, do that as well.
Conduct a mid-month analysis.
Go back to your calculations from the beginning of the month and see how much your garbage output has gone down. If it hasn't decreased as much as you'd like, ask yourself why. Take a closer look at the things you throw away each week and figure out what's making up most of the waste your household produces; then find ways to either reuse or stop purchasing these things. In the event that you find something that you simply cannot do without, find ways to make that product last longer, or even better, make it yourself. Be resourceful.
Look for other ways to consolidate.
If things are still going to plan, try to move further. If you can, start growing and producing some of your food, which will make use of compost, cut costs, and help you better understand the things you eat and consume.
Enjoy your considerably less garbage-filled lifestyle!
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