Notice, we’ve left “recycle” out of our three “R’s” in the title because the best way to reduce the amount of landfill waste from your household is to take steps to generate less waste in the first place.
Small and simple changes in the way you live can dramatically affect how much waste is generated and buy products that use less packaging or are packaged in recyclable materials.
Although recycling an item of waste is better than disposing of it in the normal trash, a lot of energy is consumed for both the recycling process and the transportation of the waste to and from the recycling center. Choosing products that are reusable and long-lasting instead of single-use disposable products will save a lot of waste and also save money over the long term.
- Switch to receiving utility bills and bank statements online. Often companies will give you a small discount for switching to paperless billing.
- Check your printer settings to see if there is an option for printing on both sides of the paper and change the default setting to use this option. You will still be able to print on single sides of the paper when you need to.
- Growing your own food can help reduce the amount of packaging you throw away. If you live in an apartment you can still grow herbs or some small vegetables in window boxes or in plant pots inside your home. Vegetable peel, fruit and other non-meat food waste can be composted.
- Choose items that are reusable and long-lasting instead of single-use disposable products. Buy loose fruit and vegetables at the supermarket instead of the pre-packaged kind. You can take plastic bags back to the store and reuse them multiple times.
- For items that can be stored for a long time consider buying larger box sizes. Less material goes into making one large box than into multiple small boxes so you end up putting less waste in the trash.
- Use washable dishcloths instead of paper towels, which cannot be recycled (although you can add them to your garden compost).
These and more tips are available online at recyclingnj.com/reduce.html