Reduce the Garbage you bring in:
- Pay attention to packaging.
- Buy products that are packaged minimally, or that use packaging that can be reused or recycled.
- Buy larger packages when possible. Buying one giant bottle of laundry detergent, for example, creates less waste than buying three small bottles.
- Buy concentrated products if you can. For example, we use one particular cleaner that we dilute 1:10 in a separate (reusable) bottle before we use it.
- Buy used (garage sales, Craig’s List, Freecycle, Secondhand Stores)
- Don’t buy single-serving foods. Instead of small bottles of juice for lunchboxes, for example, purchase a larger bottle and then divide it among smaller, reusable bottles.
- Reduce the number of things you bring into your house:
- Borrow, rent, or share things you don’t use often. (For example, Randy’s family all shares a carpet shampooer. That means they only threw away the box/packaging from ONE carpet shampooer instead of four.) Saves money, too!
- Resist consumerism! Do you really need it?
- Make your own food at home instead of eating take-out in all those disposable packages.
- Buy milk in glass bottles that can be washed and reused by the dairy.
- Buy and use reusable goods.
- Use reusable shopping bags.
- Purchase reusable products (cloth diapers, cloth napkins, reusable water bottles).
- Buy rechargeable batteries.
- Fight Junk Mail!
- This site has good suggestions.
- Call the 800 numbers for catalogs you no longer wish to receive.
Reduce the Garbage you put out:
- Recycle as much as you can.
- Choose Durability:
- Buy quality products.
- Maintain your things. Take good care of your clothes, your appliances, everything.
- Repair items that can be repaired, rather than replacing them.
- Sell, donate, give away, or freecycle things you don’t want. (I freecycle my fabric scraps to quilters who make charity quilts.)
- Compost yard waste and food scraps, instead of putting them in the garbage. (In Des Moines, you can also choose to use the Compost It! program.)
- Plan meals wisely to cut down on food waste.
- Reuse disposable shopping bags.
- Reuse other things. Turn old clothes into new clothes, let your kids make art projects from old cardboard, etc.
- Reuse paper – print on both sides of office paper, or let your kids draw on the back of used paper.
Other things that are Good to do:
- Purchase items that are recycled or made from recycled products.
- Purchase items that are recyclable, or packaged in recyclable packaging.
- Talk to others about reducing their waste.
Use Less Stuff has a fun survey at their website to help you see if you’re a waste-wise wonder or a waste-wise wuss.