According to The World Counts, humans throw out over 50 tons of household waste every second. By 2030, the amount of household waste will double to 3,000 million tons annually. To minimize waste you create at home, here are six simple tips to follow.
How to Minimize Waste At Home
Creating a compost bin is one of the best things you can do for the environment. Not only does compost enrich the soil, but it also increases water retention, deters pests, and reduces the need for pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Another bonus: it limits the amount of food waste you create.
To start composting, you can use food scraps (like banana peels and eggshells), yard trimmings (cut grass and leaves), and other organic waste. Once you’ve gathered your materials, add everything to a metal bin in a shady spot in your backyard. When the material at the bottom of the bin gets dark and rich in color, your compost is ready to use. Composting is one of the easiest ways to minimize waste around your homestead.
Create a meal plan each week
By planning out your meals each week, you’ll minimize waste and save money. Sit down at the beginning of each week and make a list of all the meals you’ll be cooking. Go to the grocery store and buy just the ingredients you need. You’ll be able to use leftovers more efficiently and stockpile your fridge with your bulk buys. Another benefit to meal planning is that you’ll reduce the number of times you eat out each week. This will reduce plastic takeout waste.
Invest in reusable products
Another great way to minimize waste is to stick with reusable items. Paper towels, plastic water bottles, and even plastic toothbrushes can all be swapped out for reusable alternatives. In the kitchen, stop buying plastic water bottles. Instead, replace them with a reusable metal canister and metal drinking straws. Use cloth towels instead of paper towels. Opt for natural beeswax wrap or reusable glass containers instead of plastic wrap. In the bathroom, buy toilet paper wrapped in paper, reusable razors, and a bamboo toothbrush.
Repair items instead of replacing them
If you have an appliance that starts to break down, try to make repairs before throwing the appliance away and getting a replacement. Making repairs may be more time-consuming, but electronic waste (e-waste) can have negative impacts on the environment and your health when improperly disposed in regular landfills or illegally dumped. In fact, e-waste can affect nearly every system in the human body because most electronic items contain toxic elements like mercury, lead, barium, and lithium.
If you really need to get rid of your appliance, check to see if it’s covered by a product insurance plan. Most product warranties will cover repairs for appliances that have broken down due to normal wear and tear—if this is the situation you find yourself in, you’ll be able to fix your appliance, minimize waste, and save hundreds of dollars in the process.
Stop junk mail and cancel paper subscriptions
You can cancel junk mail online and stop other subscriptions that you don’t use anymore. If you still want to keep your favorite magazine and newspaper subscriptions, opt for an online subscription—this will minimize waste by using less paper. Yet, you can still enjoy your reading.
Make your own cleaning products
Another way to minimize waste at home is to avoid buying commercial cleaners. A great alternative is to make your own natural cleaners. Try these natural solutions for all-around home cleaning:
- Baking soda—Trusted for over a century, baking soda cleans, deodorizes, and softens water. Mix a teaspoon of baking soda with warm water to remove surface grease from stove tops and counters.
- Hydrogen peroxide—This can be used for disinfecting the kitchen or bathroom. It’s also an excellent stain remover for fabrics and grout.
- Tea tree oil—This natural fungicide can get rid of mold and mildew in your home. Mix one teaspoon of tea tree oil with one cup of water and apply the solution to affected areas. Let it sit for several minutes and wipe it away with a microfiber towel.
- Lemon juice—As one of the strongest food acids, lemon juice can get rid of most household bacteria. Just make sure not to use it on marble or delicate surfaces, as the acid can eat away at the surface.
If you follow these 6 tips in your home, you will soon minimize waste and make for a cleaner environment. Remember, every little bit helps.