prevent waste from going to landfill, but is it possible to make your house Zero Waste? And what does that mean? Being Zero Waste is more than just consuming in the same way as before, and then recycling or composting everything when you’ve finished with it. Instead, it starts with reducing the quantity of waste that you produce in the first place, and considering the value of the products that you use.
Here are 10 easy tips that will help your household on its journey to becoming Zero Waste.
The EPA estimates that the average person throws away 70 pounds of clothing a year. Textiles are a highly valuable resource, so don’t waste it by throwing away your old clothes, even if they are tatty and worn! Textiles companies sort the clothes by quality, with the best items sent for charitable resale or reuse, either in the US or in developing countries. Poorer quality fabrics are used as industrial cleaning rags and absorption clothes, or broken into fibers for insulation and carpet padding.
Buy some reusable canvas shopping bags for all your groceries, and remember to always restock your car and backpack/handbag so that you’re never caught short when you have an emergency trip to the store. Don’t forget to take more bags if you’ve got guests coming round for dinner.
Fight back against junk mail
To reduce the amount of paper waste in your house, have a concerted effort to cancel all those junk catalogue mailings, circulars and phone directories, and put a notice on your mailbox that you don’t want junk mail.
Say no (thanks!) to receipts, flyers and freebie giveaways
When you are shopping or eating out, refuse duplicate till and credit card receipts. Not only will this reduce the amount of paper waste you take home with you, but it will also help to encourage retailers and food service outlets to change their printing policies. The same applies to free pens and other gifts that are offered out at corporate events and clog up your stationery drawer at home.
Take a reusable coffee cup to work
All the major coffee chains will happily fill up your reusable coffee cup for your morning caffeine fix. Starbucks even give a 10¢ discount on every cup you order in your reusable tumbler, so it will pay for itself in a few weeks!
Choose experience based gifts
Not only does this massively cut down on the unnecessary gadgets and toys around the house, but it also gives your family the opportunity to share special moments and create lasting memories together. And you don’t need to wrap an experience, so you’re saving on all that wrapping paper too.
Recycle everything that’s left
Once you’ve reduced the volume of waste your house produces, now is the time to turn your attention to recycling the rest. Find out what materials can be collected at the curbside and make sure that you’re putting out clean, uncontaminated materials.
Collect other recyclable items together until you have a decent load and then take them down to your local recycling center, or call a junk removal service to take them away for recycling.
Tell your friends
Let your friends and family know what your household is trying to achieve so that they don’t bring junk round when they come to visit. And who knows: you might even spread the message and help more homes to go Zero Waste.
Once you’ve started on your Zero Waste journey, you’ll find loads of ways to further reduce the amount of waste you produce. Why not share your ideas here and spread the message further still!
This is a guest post written by Evan Kaden.
Easily entertained by the simpler things in life, Evan spends most of his free time enjoying the outdoors with his Golden Retriever, Skeeter. As a freelance writer with a focus on environment-friendly lifestyle, he is thankful for the many opportunities he has had to express his passion for sustainability.