How to Produce Less Trash

Reduce, reuse, recycle. We’re all pretty familiar by now with the Golden Rule of living a more environmentally conscious lifestyle. Going green has definitely gone mainstream, and it’s easier than ever to lighten our carbon footprint.

What about that first one though? You know, the reduce part. How do we even begin to reduce when there’s so much stuff? As much as we recycle and try to reuse what we can, it can sometimes seem like we’re still swimming in the amount of trash we produce.

The average person produces 4.3 pounds of trash a day, and if this number seems high, well, it’s because it is. This is almost 30 pounds of trash every single week, something that doesn’t even seem possible. Think about it, though. Think of all the things you throw away every day and these things will quickly add up to pretty good sized pile of rubbish.

How do we learn to produce less trash? There are definitely a few good habits we can take up that will help lighten our load a bit. Below you can find handful of ways to produce less trash.

5 Ways to Produce Less Trash

1. Bring Home Less

This might seem pretty obvious, but the amount of stuff we bring home definitely begins to add up. Everything you bring home eventually must be disposes. If you’re not recycling or reusing it, the only other place it has to go is your trash. Rethink the way you shop. Begin to buy in bulk and store these things in reusable containers. Think about what you buy before you buy it. Does what you’re about to purchase come with a lot of unnecessary packaging? If so, ask yourself: do I really need this? Okay, so you do. Is there another way you can get what you need without all the excess?

We live in a very materialistic society where what we “have” seems to symbolize what we “are.” Learn to break free of this mindset. We are not what we have- rather who we are inside is what really matters. Learn to live with less, and every time you want to purchase something, ask yourself if you absolutely need it. Once you get into this habit, you’ll notice a lot of those little things seem to be reduced from your trash.

2. Recycle


Maybe you missed this part of the golden rule. If for some reason you’re not recycling, today would be a very good day to start. Even if your trash provider doesn’t offer a recycling service, there’s probably a recycling provider in your area. Most cities and towns usually have a recycling drop-off center where you can take your own trash.

Glass, most plastics, tin, aluminum, and paper can all be recycled. Paper is actually responsible for taking up more landfill space than anything else, and it could be likely that you’re doing a good job adding to this problem, especially if you feel like you’re producing too much trash. Everything we buy pretty much comes in a box. Cereal, snacks, beauty and hygiene products, the list goes on and on. Recycle these boxes. Recycle your bank receipts. Go paperless in all your bills.

There are so many more things that can be recycled that you might be missing. Donate the things you don’t use anymore to your local thrift store. Many recycling centers will take old cell phones, electronics, and batteries. Make it a habit to begin recycling every item you know you can and your trash can will soon be left with a lot more room.

3. Reuse


How much stuff do you really reuse? You know this is a big part of the green golden rule, but do you really do it? With so many things that can be reused, it’s a wonder that we have any trash at all. Not quite, but by beginning to reuse the things you can, you’ll really notice a difference in how much trash you produce.

Before you throw something away, ask yourself if it has any other uses. It makes much more sense to use reuse glass jars with fitting lids than to purchase Tupperware to store leftovers. Old envelopes can be turned into scratch paper and then recycled. Have a tendency to forget your reusable shopping bags when you visit the market? Use the plastic bags they give you as your home trash bags. If old clothes don’t make it to the thrift store, cut them up and use them as rags to clean up around the house. Finding different ways to reuse things you would normally throw away starts to become kind of fun after a while. You’ll be amazed at the creative ideas you can come up with when you dedicate to reusing what would have once gone straight to the rubbish.

4. Compost


Our food waste tends to be a pretty big part of our trash problem, and composting can help considerably. Most of your food scraps, excluding meat, fish, and dairy can be composted. Does composting seem a little intimidating? It doesn’t need to be. If you don’t have the room (or the patience) to compost yourself, there are many cities that do a curbside compost pickup, kind of like recycling but for food.

Composting doesn’t have to be the messy process you might think it is. There are hundreds of composting bins you can purchase, and many are made for those that don’t have the space or composting services in their area. When you start to compost your food scraps, you’ll notice how much space these scraps really were taking in your trash bin.

5. Trade in your Trash Can

small trash can

No, we are not talking about getting rid of your trash can because you suddenly know what steps to take to produce less trash. We’re talking about downsizing here. Get a smaller trash can and you’ll have less space to fill up. You’ll really get into the habit of following these ways to produce less trash when you don’t have as much space to fill up. Downscale your trash service to the smallest bin or least amount of pick-up time and you’ll be forced to fill out only what you have room for.

Have you found ways to limit the footprint of your garbage? Please share in the comments below, I’d love to hear about it!