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Top 10 Ways to Reduce Your Garbage

Garbage and Recycling
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Much is said today about reducing a person's 'carbon footprint,' which means purposefully endeavoring to impact the natural environment as little as possible. There are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, and one that hits close to home is to reduce the amount of garbage your household sends to landfills. These ideas will help you get on your way toward less garbage and a smaller carbon footprint!

  1. The whole notion of "reduce, reuse, recycle" has a direct impact upon the amount of garbage you produce. By applying these three concepts to every aspect of your life, you'll find the garbage output of your home being greatly reduced.
  2. Minimizing the number of items brought into your home will, of course, lower the amount of garbage you end up with. In a store, it's important to ask yourself, "Does my family really need this? If I buy this, where will it be in a month? In a year?"
  3. Purchasing items of higher quality often means that they will last longer. For example, if you buy your children a cheaply made toy, it can easily break and become unusable within just a few days or weeks, which means it will quickly end up in the trash can. By purchasing toys and other goods that are made of sturdy, long-lasting materials, you can be confident that your purchases will be used and enjoyed for many years.
  4. Many items that get thrown away can actually be reused in the home. Glass jars, for example, can be used to store dry foods or beverages in the kitchen, screws or bolts in the workshop, and buttons in the sewing room. Children can store crayons or tiny game pieces in plastic containers.
  5. Plastic bags from grocery and other retail stores can be reused as wastebasket liners, storage bags, or even packing materials to protect fragile items. Though they may eventually end up in the trash, using them around the house eliminates the need to purchase other wastebasket liners, for example.
  6. If your family enjoys campfires or uses a fireplace inside the house, used newspaper can be rolled tightly to form a slow-burning log substitute. Since paper makes up a large percentage of the waste in landfills, whatever you can do to keep it out will be helpful.
  7. For most households, probably half of what is normally thrown away can actually be recycled instead. As much as 80 percent of the American population has local access to recycling facilities. Some communities provide free curbside pickup or collection containers in central locations around the city. In other areas, residents may need to take their recyclables to a privately-owned recycling center where they may actually be paid for the items they bring.
  8. Commonly recycled items include milk jugs, soda bottles, aluminum cans, and newspaper. Your local recycling center or city recycling office can explain which items are collected in your area.
  9. Items that you no longer need but cannot reuse or recycle could be donated to charitable organizations, neighbors, or friends. Clothing, toys, furniture, and other items are usually very welcome by those in need.
  10. These same unneeded items can be sold to a thrift store if you prefer. Not only will you help empty out your house without filling up a landfill, but you can make a little money too.

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