Our family has had a long-term goal to reduce waste at home in whatever ways we can. Sometimes it has seemed daunting — like when we first tried and tackle cloth diapering or cloth diapering two kids! Needless to say, when our family has tried to bite off more than we can chew our efforts have been unsustainable.
Still, a handful of daily practices have been consistent. I think this is because they’re easy, small tasks that have become habits over several years. If you’re looking for ways to reduce waste at home and join the greater efforts to make your footprint smaller, here are a few tried and true ways to make a difference and have a more eco-friendly home.
You can also find ways to cut your water bill as well!
One of the first changes we made early on in our marriage was to use cloth napkins instead of paper and rags in place of paper towels. We purchased our cloth napkins from a local consignment shop and continue to add to our collection as time goes by. We now have a hodge-podge of colored and patterned cotton napkins that are durable and fun to look at.
To keep from buying paper towels, I purchased a few stacks of white hand cloths and dish cloths from Target that could be bleached again and again. We use these to clean the floor, bathrooms, for dusting, and a variety of other household needs. I suggest having a selected drawer or basket to store your non-paper products. We keep all of our rags in a basket under our sink for easy access and our napkins in out buffet drawer near the dining table.
Tip: If you have a towel or shirt that has holes or is badly stained, cut it into squares and add it to your rag basket. This cuts on waste and saves you a few bucks.3 Easy & Eco-Friendly Ways To Reduce Waste At Home Click To Tweet
For a while, I wasn’t concerned about putting compostable food in my trash. It would just decompose right? True it will decompose but when your garbage bag is shipped away to the dump, it is buried to hasten decomposition. Unfortunately, as a result, methane gas is released which is a leading concern for global warming.
Instead, collect scraps of fruits and veggies in a recycled container or colander near your sink. When it is full, toss the scraps in a pile in a far corner of your yard or in a composting container. These scraps can later be used to nourish a spring or winter garden. Hey, you may even get a few “volunteer” tomato plants out of the deal and there’s nothing better than home grown tomatoes in the summer!
Depending on where you live, you may be able to easily recycle a wide array of reusable items. This varies from county to county. In some cities, you may even be lucky enough to have a center for difficult to recycle materials that may not be accepted by your neighborhood recycling carrier. Some of these centers will take things like broken toys, unwearable clothing, broken appliances, tents, etc. Making the extra stop every quarter to six months is a small way to cut down on household waste.
While the work that we have to do to care for our planet can be daunting, the things that we do on a small scale, within our families, don’t have to be. Try one or two of these ways to reduce waste at home and you’ll be on your way to making the world better for your kids and their kids to come!