Every household creates a lot of waste every day. Each person creates about 5 pounds of trash every day. Households on average have two to four people, which equates to 10 to 20 pounds of trash every day. All of this trash, if just thrown in a garbage can, is land-fill bound. Landfills are so numerous and large that there are areas of the United States that use old landfill hills as ski slopes. Could you imagine? This is a very real issue, but becoming conscious of what you consume and what you throw away can be an important step in creating a lighter, leaner impact from your household. On this page, we are going to discuss the basics to creating a zero waste household.
An important step in creating a zero waste household is understanding and using the three Rs in your everyday life. What are the three Rs you ask? Well, that would be Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Though they would seem pretty self-explanatory to some people we are going to go into detail about each.
Reduce: This refers to all waste. Becoming conscious of the amount of waste you produce and make moves to reduce that amount is a vital step in improving your environmental footprint. You can reduce the amount of trash or waste you produce by thinking about the products you buy with a “zero-waste” mindset. If one product has more excess packaging than the other, choose the one with less packaging. This is only the beginning.
Reuse: This is where Pinterest comes in handy. A lot of the paper, plastic and glass products that you throw away can be reused, whether that be for crafting or for something more practical for everyday use it doesn’t matter. The more your reuse the less your throw away. Another way to look at the concept of reuse is reusable. When you go to buy an 18 pack of water bottles, stop yourself and reach for the reusable water bottle instead. Reducing the amount of water bottles you drink will not only help save the planet, but it will help you save money.
Recycle: Pretty much speaks for itself. Everything can be recycled, from plastics to papers to natural food waste it doesn’t matter. It is important to note, however, that there are effects that can cause a product to no longer be recyclable. For example; pizza boxes, cardboard, it can be recycled, right? Wrong, the grease inside the box from the pizza can actually damage a whole group of paper recycling. The oil will not mix with the water, which is how paper becomes pulp and is in turn reformed. Be cautious of things like this and do your research.
Now that you now the basic information, what are the basics that you need in your home?
Recycling bin: How are you going to recycle without a bin? There are multiple ways to go about this. You can get multiple different bins for different recyclables such as plastic, paper, aluminum, glass, etc. Another option is the companies that will just give you are the large bin to put all of your recyclables in and they pick it up and that is all you have to worry about. Do research on which companies service your area.
Kitchen Composter: Basically this is recycling for your food wastes. Collect all your food waste and then transfer it to an outdoor compost heap or to a municipal composting program, if available in your area.
Trash Compactor: For all those testy items that for whatever reason will not, or cannot be recycled, compact them. How does this help? Compacting your trash allows for it to take up less room on trucks. The more people that use trash compactors the fewer garbage trucks it will take to transport this trash which will help reduce our carbon footprint and CO2 emissions.
Storage: Seems simple enough, but storage is actually very important to having a zero waste home. By having a place to store all those items you plan to reuse, you are less likely to throw things away just out of convenience. Storage can also help you reduce your seasonal waste. As people constantly have to clear out their homes and restock for the changing of the season, you are all set because you have everything in storage ready to be changed out.
Just taking these smalls steps will make a great impact on reducing the waste of your household. However, this is no small journey, do not lose hope and keep making changes to improve your waste production. Slowly you will see great changes and before you know it your home could become a zero waste household.