So, say you’ve already tried Marie Kondo-ing to #sparkjoy, but you are wanting to learn more on how to reduce the trash at home.
That is a great idea as not only will this endeavor give you less to throw away, but you’ll also greatly reduce your carbon footprint and help simplify your life.
Wondering how to reduce the amount of waste at home? Check out these 41 simple ways to clean out excess trash in your home or apartment.
41 Ways to Reduce Waste at Home
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- Use reusable towels instead of paper towels
- Invest in reusable cups like travel mugs
- Use reusable shopping bags
- Bring mesh bags for your produce
- Composte your food scraps
- Steep tea in infusers or tea balls
- Wash, dry, and reuse sandwich bags
- Make your own dish soap
- Install a water filter
- Use reuseable coffee filters
- Trade lunch bags for lunch boxes
- Join a CSA
- Shop at farmers markets
- Store food in glass containers
- Cook more often
- DIY more often
- Grow a fruit and vegetable garden
- Use dish cloths instead of sponges
- Avoid buying single-serving products
- Replace plastic straws with reusable straws
- Switch from tissues to handkerchiefs
- Instead of toilet paper, try the family cloth
- Use reusable menstrual cups
- Ditch disposable razors and choose safety razor
- Make your own cleaning products
- Use cloth diapers
- Wash your hair with bar soap shampoo
- Skip dryer sheets and use wool dryer balls instead
- Make your own zero-waste laundry detergent
- Donate pillows and blankets instead of tossing them
- Donate clothes and accessories to charities
- Stream movies instead of buying printed versions
- Stream audio instead of collecting printed copies
- Get paperless billing
- Check out more books from the library
Ways to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen
So much of the waste we produce comes right out of our kitchen, whether it’s plastic and paper bags from the grocery store or food containers from restaurant takeout, there are better ways to reduce the amount of trash in your kitchen. Let’s take a look at how to reduce waste at home in 41 different ways.
1. Use reusable towels instead of paper towels
Instead of using paper towels every time you have a spill in the kitchen, try buying small reusable towels or cloth pads. You’ll find they are equally absorbent and can easily be tossed in the laundry. Cloth napkins are a good choice too.
2. Invest in reusable cups like travel mugs
Instead of buying and throwing away disposable cups, invest in a good travel mug. You’ll find these are also remarkably good at keeping your coffee hot on the road, and they come in various shapes and sizes.
3. Use reusable shopping bags
If you’ve been to a grocery store, you likely already know that many customers these days bring their own reusable bags. If you’re taking home paper bags every time you buy groceries, you’re definitely making more trash for yourself. There are cloth bags and nylon bags that will help you from filling up that waste container with unneeded plastic bags.
4. Bring mesh bags for your produce
Along the same lines, it’s easy to bring mesh produce bags to the grocery store and use these instead of the little plastic bags they provide. Simply wash and dry these occasionally, and they will hold up for a very long time.
5. Composte your food scraps
So much of the food scraps you throw away can easily be composted. All you need is a small composting container, and you can start throwing away food waste like veggie peels, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Then throw in the worms 🪱.
Related Blog: How Long Does it Take Everyday Garbage to Decompose in Landfills?
6. Steep tea in infusers or tea balls
Why keep buying individual teabags when you can instead buy fresh tea and steep it in a tea ball or other kind of infuser? Yes, tea bags are small, but little things add up to make a big difference.
7. Wash, dry, and reuse sandwich bags
If you’re giving your kids brand new sandwich bags every day for school, you’re missing out on the opportunity to give them a reusable option. Just wash and dry after use, and they will be ready for use again the next day.
8. Make your own dish soap
Not only can the cost of dish soap add up, but also these plastic bottles just create more waste. Make your own dish soap mix in a reusable container and try adding your favorite essential oils to customize the scent.
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9. Install a water filter
Yes, some people are still buying plastic bottles of water. You can get clean and purified water through a water filter and skip the BPA concerns associated with plastic bottles. There are so many attractive reusable water bottles, there’s no need to buy plastic water bottles ever again.
10. Use reusable coffee filters
No need to skip your coffee every morning but you can still divert K-cup pods and other filters from landfills. There are plenty of good coffee filters, like the K-cup reusable coffee filter, that are made out of materials like hemp and stainless steel.
11. Trade lunch bags for lunch boxes
Once you’ve ditched the plastic sandwich bag, the next thing on your list should be the bags you put kids’ lunches in. A lunchbox is reusable and also can be a lot of fun for kids to use.
12. Join a CSA
When you join a community-supported agriculture (CSA), you’ll subscribe to a system that brings you closer to farmers in your community. This also skips the need to use plastic bags or any packaging materials for fruits and veggies since they’re fresh from the farm.
13. Shop at farmers markets
Along the same lines, when you buy your produce at farmer’s markets you will cut down on packaging and support your local farmers in the process.
14. Store food in glass containers
If you’re still using Tupperware to store your uneaten food, you haven’t gotten the memo that glass containers are the perfect solution. Glass lasts forever and will not begin to absorb scents and stains that make it a candidate for the trash.
15. Cook more often
Cook more meals using whole ingredients and minimally processed foods. When you skip fast food and takeout, your family gets fresh, healthier meals infused with vitamins and minerals.
🙃 Frustrated by your kitchen? Make it better with these 4 easy steps to decluttering your kitchen!
16. DIY more often
Go DIY and learn to make new delicious foods like yogurt and seltzer water. This will translate to less plastic and glass to worry about throwing away or recycling.
17. Grow a fruit and vegetable garden
Grow your own fruits and vegetables and avoid the store altogether!
18. Use dishcloths instead of sponges
Sponges get dirty and constantly need to be thrown away and replaced. When you switch to dishcloths, you’ll be able to save a great deal of money, too.
19. Avoid buying single-serving products
Look around at the food you regularly buy and note how many items have wrappers that turns into packaging waste. Ask yourself if there is an alternative food you could buy instead. Could you make it yourself?
20. Replace plastic straws with reusable straws
Some states and cities have already banned the use of plastic straws in restaurants. It’s easy to replace them in your home with stainless steel reusable straws.
♻️ It’s not hard to shop eco-friendly and cut down on your carbon footprint! Check out these practical, sustainable, and environmentally responsible ways to shop sustainably today.
Ways to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom
The bathroom is another room in our homes where we end up unnecessarily generating a lot of trash. It’s possible to still have all the shampoo, soap, and other toiletries we need while greatly reducing what we throw away.
21. Switch from tissues to handkerchiefs
If you catch a lot of colds, you are constantly generating waste throwing away tissues. When you switch to handkerchiefs, you’ll find it’s easy to just wash them and keep a fresh supply.
22. Instead of toilet paper, try the family cloth
While many aren’t quite daring enough to try this, if you want to be truly sustainable, the family cloth should be considered. Put a small hamper and several strips of clean cloth by each toilet so (despite how the name sounds) each person has their own cloth. Once you’re in the habit, you might never go back to toilet paper.
23. Use reusable menstrual cups
Let’s face it, when women throw away tampons and pads every month, it adds a lot of waste to your home. Many women have switched to menstrual cups with great success and save a lot of money as well.
24. Ditch disposable razors and choose safety razor
Safety razors work even better than disposables and don’t need to be constantly thrown away.
25. Make your own cleaning products
Most bathroom cleaning products come in plastic containers and generate a lot of waste. When you start making your own, you’ll save money and conserve resources.
26. Use cloth diapers
Babies are perfectly happy with cloth diapers. It’s easy to either hire a service to wash and resupply them or clean them yourself.
27. Wash your hair with bar soap shampoo
Shampoo bottles are something we throw away without a second thought. Try shampoo that comes in bar soap form and over the course of a year you’ll dramatically reduce your carbon footprint. It’s even possible to make them yourself.
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Ways to Reduce Waste in the Laundry Room
There are definitely a few ways people generate waste in their laundry room. If you’re not careful you will go throw a lot of laundry detergent containers and dryer sheets each month.
28. Skip dryer sheets and use wool dryer balls instead
Instead of dryer sheets use wool dryer balls. You’ll find they make clothes soft and fragrant.
29. Make your own zero-waste laundry detergent
It’s simple to make eco-friendly laundry soap and put it in reusable containers. Plus, making your own zero-waste laundry detergent, fabric softener, and dryer balls saves money and gives you control over allergens that might affect your families skin.
30. Donate pillows and blankets instead of tossing them
Old pillows and blankets don’t need to be thrown away. In fact, they could really benefit someone who might lack these necessary items. These are great items to donate to charities like Goodwill.
31. Donate clothes and accessories to charities
If you’ve been following Marie Kondo’s advice, you have a lot of clothes and shoes to donate. These items should rarely be thrown away unless they are in truly poor shape. Consider giving these items to charity or organize a clothing swap with your friends.
Ways to Reduce Waste in the Family Room
Some ways we throw away items in the entertainment rooms at home slip under the radar.
32. Stream movies instead of buying printed versions
Back before streaming video was popular, people bought a lot of VHS tapes, DVDs, and Blu-ray. Today, assuming you have an internet connection, it is easy to stream almost any television show or movie you might want to watch or own.
33. Stream audio instead of collecting printed copies
Along the same regards, increasingly CDs are becoming history. You’ll likely even find that streaming audio services offer an excellent level of audio quality.
34. Get paperless billing
Who likes getting bills in the mail anyhow? Save some paper every month by opting in for online bill delivery.
35. Check out more books from the library
Many people value their prized book collections. But do you really need to own every book? If it’s something that you don’t think you’ll be looking at time and time again, consider just checking the book out of your local library.
Ways to Reduce Waste in the Office
Your home office is not one of the main places where waste originates, but e-waste dumping tends to be among the most hazardous due to the various toxic chemicals that can leach into the land over time. Here are some ways to do better in your office.
36. Borrow tools you rarely use
If you only occasionally use a printer or fax machine, maybe you don’t actually need the machine. The same could be said for household tools that you will only use once or twice. Create relationships with neighbors where you get in the habit of borrowing from one another.
37. Extend the life of your technology
It’s frustrating when a computer that it seems you just bought needs to be replaced due to a virus or decreased speed. The good news is that when you’re properly updating and scanning your computers and phones, they will last longer.
When you have an electronic that stops working for your needs and you have to get rid of it, recycle your e-waste responsibly.
Need easy electronics recycling? LEARN MORE ❯
38. Skip the plastic liner on trash cans
Do you really need to use garbage bags in your office waste can? Probably not. In fact, most trash cans in your home probably don’t need a plastic liner.
39. Refill your printer ink cartridges
Printer cartridges definitely leave a big imprint in the landfills. Instead of throwing them away and buying new cartridges, simply start refilling them with ink. You’ll save money this way, too.
40. Use refillable pens instead of disposable pens
Instead of buying and throwing out cheap pens, buy a high-quality refillable pen that you can proudly use for many years. You’ll never have to throw away another pen again.
41. Recycle your paper waste
Many different kinds of paper can be recycled in bulk bins, including white office paper, newspaper, colored office paper, cardboard, white computer paper, magazines, catalogs, junk mail and phone books.
Make an Impact By Reducing the Trash in Your Home
These 41 ideas only scratch the surface of all the different ways you can make a difference when it comes to your household’s production of trash. If everyone tried to send less to the landfills, it would greatly benefit our planet.
While you might not be able to tackle everything on this list, committing to just 5 or 10 is a definite step in the right direction to reducing waste at home.
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