In the United States, there is no shortage of trash. It has been estimated that individuals produce about four pounds of garbage every day. To put that in perspective, the typical person in this country will toss out an amount of trash that equals more than 600 times their adult weight. There are things you can do to reduce the amount of material you have picked up by your garbage service. Here are a few of them:
- Donate your old clothing. There are a number of people around the nation who are helped when people donate their old clothing and used items to a non-profit organization. There is a saying, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” Your used clothing and household items can be used by people who have been through a natural or manmade disaster, bought by people who do have lower incomes and can keep non-profits open.
- Recycle as much as you can. When it comes to residential waste removal, it is much cheaper to recycle than to throw it away. It has been estimated that the cost of sending one ton of trash to a landfill is $50. The cost to recycle the same amount of material is $30. Moreover, it is very easy to recycle materials. At least 87% of U.S. households have access to recycling programs, whether they are pick-up or drop-off programs. You can recycle plastics, aluminum, paper, and glass. The more you recycle, the less your garbage service has to take to a landfill.
- Put in a compost pile. If you have a yard, you can add a compost pile. When you add food scraps, nothing with dairy or meat, chicken, or fish because those items attract animals and pests. If you have questions, you can talk to your garbage service company and they can get you started. If you like to garden, the soil created by the compost is very dense in vitamins and minerals. Used coffee grounds are especially good for plants.
- Use less plastic. One way to do this is to get some reusable shopping bags to take with you to the market. The single-use plastic bags used by many grocery stores today are terrible for the environment. Meanwhile buying reusable water bottles and cups for your coffee is a great way to use and spend less on bottled water. Bottled water is also not as healthy as you may think as toxins from the plastic can get into your water if the water stays in the plastic for too long.
- Use less paper. In 2018, it is estimated that about 4.5 million tons of paper were sent to landfills. This makes paper the most thrown away substance in the nation. There are things you can do to throw out less paper. One of the most common forms of paper trash is junk mail. Make sure you recycle whatever junk mail you receive. You can also contact your post office to see what you can do to not get it in the first place. There are other ways to reduce the amount of paper you consume and throw away:
- Switch from paper towels to cloth rags and towels.
- Use cloth rather than paper napkins.
- Use regular and not paper dishes.
- Use less packaging. When you buy products online, look for companies that do not load you up with tons of useless packaging. Apple is one company that is good about this. Avoid using single-serving items such as water bottles. If you get items in reusable plastic containers, reuse them! The more you reuse items, the less you will have for your garbage service company to pick up.
There are a number of reasons to follow these bits of advice. Insofar as this related to donating items you have used and no longer want, there are a number of ways you help yourself, your community, and the environment. When it comes to sending less waste to the landfills, you also are doing your part to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases being put into the atmosphere.
The impact of having less waste for your garbage services company to pick up and send to a landfill, is hard to see but it is there.