On average, people produce 4 pounds of trash every day, which adds up to 1.5 tons a year! Most of this trash goes to landfills, which have serious negative effects on the environment. But fear not- there are many easy ways to reduce the amount of trash you generate in your home.
Everybody knows that recycling is great way to reduce trash and in turn benefit the environment, but there is more you can do than just separating out cans and newspapers. Cardboard boxes, plastic milk jugs, glass, and aluminum foil can all be recycled. Just make sure to wipe or wash them to get rid of leftover food particles.
Often, apartment buildings will offer recycling along with the trash service. Sometimes, though, you may find that your apartment building does not have a recycling service. If this is the case, try asking your landlord or building supervisor if you can start a recycling program. This will encourage all your neighbors to recycle too. If that doesn’t work then you can always drop off your recyclables at a recycling center.
You can also upcycle things yourself. Instead of throwing away glass jar or coffee cans, repurpose them to make storage containers for your bathroom, kitchen or living area. When at the store, try to buy things in glass jars or containers instead of plastic so reusing will be possible. This is even better for the environment than recycling because no energy needs to be expended, like is necessary for recycled goods to be transferred turned into something new.[ Search: Find Apartments for Rent in Fairfax County ]
Reusable bags are not just useful for grocery shopping, but also when shopping for clothes, shoes, jewelry, etc. Also, bring small bags or reusable containers to the grocery store for packaging stuff like produce. Or, better yet, don’t buy produce at the store- grow your own! No space? Community gardens are a great tool for those without the ability to have their own.
Reusable Water Bottles
Water bottle waste is a serious problem, so get a reusable water bottle to bring with you on the go. The same goes for coffee- instead of paper or styrofoam cups get a nice travel mug. Even if you go out for coffee at a place like Starbucks, you can bring a reusable cup for them to fill instead of using their paper ones.
Despite the ease of paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware, not using them will greatly reduce your trash output. Use regular dishware and reusable napkins instead.[ Related: Alter Eco: Tips for Turning Your Apartment Into a Green Space ]
Buying in Bulk
Instead of buying individually packaged snacks, buy in bulk. This will reduce the amount of trash from food packaging. Buy soap, laundry detergent, and things like that in bulk too. You can keep one small bottle to have in the bathroom or laundry room to take up less space, but pour from the bulk bottle into the smaller one.
Instead of throwing away leftover food, compost it (and there are no worms necessary!). This can then be used to benefit your home or community garden.
Instead of using garbage bags, just place trash right into the bin. This will require washing the garbage can every so often, but it’s worth it to reduce waste. Plus, with these trash reduction techniques, there should be less trash anyway.
Reducing trash is a great way to start shrinking your carbon footprint, so get started today!
Jamie Schoshinski is a writer for Apartment Showcase, the leading apartment search resource for the greater Washington DC, Metropolitan Maryland, and Northern Virginia area.