Easy Ways to Minimize Your Daily Trash

photos courtesy of Dr. Bronner’s, Semilla, Cal Pacific Orchids

We heard a statistic on Public Radio the other day that the average American produces more than 4 pounds of trash each day – Holy Moly! After the initial shock and horror, we were inspired to write a post on simple ways to reduce your daily trash. By simple, we mean things that we already incorporate into our lives that don’t cost tons of money, time or effort. Hopefully this list will inspire you to reduce your waste – while still maximizing health and style!

Reusable Snack and Food Bags / Reusable Grocery Bags – many of us already use re-usable grocery bags, so take it one step further and use them for all of your shopping, not just groceries. In addition, there are tons of adorable companies that make re-usable snack, sandwich and lunch baggies so you never have to buy ziplock again. Need storage for leftovers? Use glass containers – they will last longer, can be safely microwaved and are super affordable!

Refillable Water Bottles – choose from a water delivery company, water faucet filters, or a water store to refill non-leaching containers and take a refillable water bottle (we love these) to work or the gym instead of buying plastic water bottles. This will lower your plastic waste, as well as lower your BPA exposure.

Dr. Bronner’s Soap Refills – Haven’t used this soap yet – you are missing out! Its relatively inexpensive, super gentle (no harmful synthetics or surfactants) and biodegradable. We were also able to find a local eco-friendly shop that offers refills for half the cost of purchasing a new bottle. This soap has so many uses, from the shower to the kitchen. Our personal favorites are this one for the shower, and this one for cleaning the floors.

No Paper Receipts – unless paying cash, there’s no need for receipts because you have your bank and credit card statements to keep things organized. Let the cashier know ahead of time if you don’t need a receipt – in most cases they can override printing it. If you don’t ask, the customer receipt is automatically printed and usually goes in the trash.

Don’t Throw Out, Donate – donating old clothes and household items instead of trashing them saves landfills and can help out others in need. It can also be a tax deduction for those interested.

Recycle Your Ink and Batteries – most of the local office supply stores will offer ink and battery recycling so you can drop off your used, old ones while picking up the new – as a bonus, some stores offer money back and extra bonus cash for recycling – win win!

Buy Second Hand – Scour the High End or Specialized Resale Shops. You can find really terrific deals on used furniture, artwork, baby clothes, and more – all at a lower cost and usually higher value (since most high end resale shops are pretty picky on what they buy.)

Plan Your Meals Ahead of Time, then shop with a list – this was especially helpful for us when we implemented it in our house after discovering just how much food we were throwing out every week.

Upgrade your cut flowers – choose potted orchids or succulents instead of cut flower, they are about the same price and will last much longer, eliminating waste. We actually found a local orchid farm that will baby sit your orchids in between blooming times for under two dollars a month – which is perfect for black-thumbed flower lovers!

Use Biodegradable Cleansers – there are so many options for responsible companies that dont test on animals, use recycled materials, biodegradable ingredients and natural fragrances. Think you need to pay a ton or sacrifice convenience and quality for “green” cleansers? Not true. Here’s an example: During a recent shopping trip, we found biodegradable dishwasher tablets for less than the price of Cascade’s tablets – and they work just as well!

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