Five Paths To Less Trash
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much waste my household generates, to the point where I feel a tiny twinge a guilt every time I toss something into the trash can instead of the recycling bin or the compost pile (I scored a nifty composter for just $20 through City of LA’s subsidized composting program). It probably all started with seeing Wall-E a few years ago, and I’ve become steadily more aware of the issues of trash disposal and rapidly filling landfills ever since.
My household has pretty much gotten it down to one medium-capacity bag of trash per week – not too shabby for two adults, a kid and a baby. But there are always more ways to generate less waste. I’ve also started to turn my attention to the amount of recyclable content we put in the recycling bin every week, which is quite a lot. While it’s certainly preferable to create recyclable waste than plain old garbage, I try to keep in mind that recycling requires energy, so it’s not as “green” as my husband and I like to tell ourselves it is.
With these points in mind, here is a list of five ways to reduce household waste, both recyclable and non-:
1. Reduce your junk mail by setting your preferences at DMAChoice.org.
2. Cancel the daily newspaper. As sad as it is for me to admit, our local paper (the LA Times) is a laughable shadow of what it used to be. More comprehensive, timely and hyper local news can be found online. (This may or may not hold true for your city or town. If you love getting your daily newspaper, just remember to recycle it. It also makes a nice old-school, eco-friendly gift wrap.)
3. Swap and borrow items as needed from your neighbors instead of buying everything you need at the store. The Neighborgoods site is an incredible resource.
4. If you have kids, organize regular “toy swaps” with the other families you know. Make it fun by turning it into a potluck party, either at your house or a local park. You’ll save money and keep old/rejected toys from cluttering up your house. This is also a great opportunity to show your kids that something doesn’t have to be shiny and new to have value. (This also makes a great birthday party theme.)
5. Switch from paper napkins to cloth. It’s classy AND green.
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