In Trumbull, the average amount of waste generated per capita each year is over 1,200 pounds (or over 45 million pounds) of garbage in our waste stream each year! We need to find ways to reduce, reuse, and recycle more efficiently. There are many easy ways to reduce household waste. With a little planning, thought, and creativity, we can significantly reduce the impact on the environment by cutting down on trash.
Reduce Food Waste
According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the largest component of municipal solid waste sent to landfill is food. The most effective way to reduce household waste is to reduce and divert food scraps.
Reducing food waste saves money! Consumers can reduce food waste by using a shopping list at the grocery store, knowing what is already in the refrigerator, eating older food first, buying less, eating leftovers, storing food properly, and freezing food to keep it from spoiling quickly. After making efforts to reduce food waste, any residual food scraps can be diverted in a number of ways! Food scraps can be added to a compost pile in the backyard, composted indoors with a worm bin, or fed to animals like chickens.
Using reusable shopping bags is one of the easiest ways to reduce waste. Use reusable bags for all of your shopping needs. Bring reusable bags when shopping for groceries, clothes, books, household goods, and more.
- Keep reusable bags in the car and have them available when shopping.
- Keep reusable bags near the door, and grab them when leaving the house.
- Remember to wash your bags and keep them clean.
Reusable Water Bottles
Say "no" to bottled water and carry a reusable water bottle instead. Using reusable water bottles is a smart decision! Reusable bottles are better for the environment than disposable bottles because they generate less waste. They're better for your wallet because tap water costs less. They're better for your health because you will drink more water if you have a trusty water bottle at all times.
Avoid Paper Cups
Paper cups and other paper liquid-holding containers have plastic linings and cannot be recycled. Reduce your paper cup usage by purchasing coffee in a travel mug.
- Most coffee shops will gladly fill a reusable cup and some even offer discounts for doing so!
- Use reusable k-cups or a French press for brewing at home, and remember to compost used coffee grounds.
Use reusable wash cloths and handkerchiefs instead of using paper towels, napkins, and tissues! After use, simply toss in the laundry. Wash in hot water and line dry in the sun to disinfect.
Switching away from paper towel and napkins saves trees and reduces your carbon footprint! A reusable cloth can provide years of use, and the natural fibers will biodegrade naturally when it finally reaches the end of its useful life.
Opt Out of Paper Mailings
Most people know they can opt out of paper mailings like bank and utility statements and elect to receive electronic communications instead. People are also able to opt out of receiving a lot of unsolicited junk mail (see below). For other unwanted mailings, contact the company directly and politely request to be removed from their mailing list.
Buy Foods with Little or No Packaging
Fresh fruits and vegetables are typically offered loose in the produce section and many dry foods are offered package-free in the bulk section of grocery stores. Just bring a reusable bag or container instead of taking plastic produce bags from the stores.
Use reusable containers and reusable food wrap instead of plastic baggies, aluminum foil, and cling wrap.
Side note: You can also use a reusable silicone baking mat in place of aluminum foil/parchment paper for baking! Check out more kitchen waste reduction tips.
Bring real silverware and cloth napkins when packing food, and carry silverware instead of taking disposable cutlery when eating out. You can use the silverware that you already own or purchase a travel silverware set with a carrying case.
Skip the Straw
Straws are not recyclable and create a lot of waste. Instead of a disposable straw, use a reusable straw instead or choose to drink the beverage without a straw. When placing a drink order, politely ask for it without a straw.
Visit our Skip the Straw page for more information.