How to Reduce the Amount of Trash You Throw Away

6 steps to make the most of your garbage and reduce what you produce

The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the average American citizen produces over 4 pounds of garbage each and every day. That rounds out to just over a ton of garbage every year created by every person. Taking a moment to absorb those facts will certainly get you thinking of ways to reduce the amount of trash you throw away in order to help the planet. Here are a few simple things you can do to reduce your daily contribution to the local landfill.

Step 1: Trade in your paper towels and napkins for cloth ones

Here’s a simple experiment to conduct. Take a bag and toss in all the paper towels and napkins you use in a week. You’ll be amazed at the amount of just this one type of trash you create. You can easily reduce trash by switching to cloth kitchen towels and napkins that can be washed and reused.

Step 2: Reuse sandwich bags and store leftovers in reusable containers

Plastic sandwich bags can be washed, dried and reused, so think twice before tossing them in the garbage. Bring your own "to go" container when eating out, and choose reusable storage containers instead of plastic wrap or tinfoil for leftovers at home.

Step 3: Bring your own cup

There’s nothing wrong with brewing a fresh pot of java and carrying it to work in your own thermos mug. Or, if you're hooked on your local coffee shop's brew, bring your own cup or thermos with you when getting your cup of joe to go; they might even offer a discount. When dining in, request your coffee be served in a glass or ceramic mug rather than paper. Taking one or more of these steps will reduce the number of paper and Styrofoam coffee cups you throw away.

Step 4: Bring your own shopping bag

You can reduce garbage by bringing your own cloth or canvas shopping bags to the store to pack up your items. As a bonus, some grocery stores may offer you a discount or an entry into a prize drawing if you bring your own shopping bag.

Step 5: Reduce garbage by composting

Another great method for reducing trash is to actually recycle it. Starting a compost pile where you can deposit all your paper trash and non-meat kitchen scraps can help improve soil quality and reduce the amount of trash that is sent off to the landfills. Simply recycling your paper, plastic, glass and metals is another helpful tactic.

Step 6: Watch what you eat

When we think of trash, it isn’t just the paper containers and packages that we throw away but also food. The EPA estimates each person throws away around 10-15 pounds of food each week. Reducing garbage means not being so wasteful with what you put on your plate. Simply save the extra food to eat later or don’t cook as much.

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