45 Easy-To-Acquire Habits To Reduce Waste at Home
on May 15, 2022, Updated Oct 27, 2023
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We can all reduce waste at home. If you want to throw out less trash, check out these 45 easy-to-acquire habits to send less trash to the landfill! Pick and choose your favorites or try them all!
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45 Easy-To-Acquire Habits To Reduce Waste at Home
Reducing waste at home is a key component of a sustainable lifestyle. While we certainly don’t quality as a zero-waste home, we do take efforts to reduce the amount of garbage when send to the landfill.
In this day and age when many recyclable items aren’t being recycled at all, reducing waste in the first place is a very important step to living a more eco-friendly and self-sustainable life.
The average American throws out about 4 1/2 pounds of trash – enough to fill 63,000 garbage trucks – each and every day. That’s a staggering amount of garbage – especially when there are many easy ways we can reduce the amount of trash we generate.
Some ways to reduce trash are quite easy. And some ways, take a bit of dedication and a mind shift. However you’d like to reduce waste, here are 35 things you can consider implementing at home right now. Adopting a few of these habits might even being money saving tips too! And who doesn’t want to save money AND go green? Win-win, right there!
Easy Ways to Reduce Waste in the Kitchen
Stop using single use products
Maybe you can’t eliminate all singe use products right away, but make a goal to stop using items that just get thrown away. Here are a few singe-use products you CAN quit using!
- Instead of paper towels, use dish towels you can wash
- Instead of paper napkins, switch to cloth napkins
- Stop using paper plates & plastic cutlery
- Instead of using single serve coffee cups, switch to a reusable, refillable k-cup
- Use silicone baking mats instead of parchment paper
- Use reusable snack bags instead of plastic bags
- Reusable lunch boxes and containers instead of throw-away bags
- Use dish clothes instead of sponges
Install a water filter
Stop buying bottled water! There’s no need if you use a good water filtration system. Then you use your own water to fill up your reusable water bottles!
Use reusable water bottles
Our favorite reusable water bottles are large hydro-flasks because they keep the water nice and cool for so long! Refillable water bottles come in so many different shapes and sizes – the sky is the limit when it comes to reusable water bottles.
Get a coffee travel mug
I hate buying coffee out, because we make the best coffee at home! That means I almost always travel with my coffee mug – and I’ve tried a lot of different types. My all time favorite coffee mug is the Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Coffee Mug.
To reduce food waste
- Buy directly from farmers or shop at farmer’s markets
- Consider packaging when buying food – sometimes its easy to choose food that has less packaging – an individual tomato for instead, instead of tomatoes in a container or wrapped in plastic. Sometimes it’s a little more challenging. But if you consider packaging when buying groceries, you might find better options than you thought were available.
- Grow a small garden
- Freeze food in jars – Yes, you can freeze food in glass jars! it can be done! Just ask Ball Canning! Be sure to leave space to allow the food to expand when you freeze it or you’ll break the jar.
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Compost food scraps
Food waste makes a huge percentage of trash we throw out and it’s shame, because it doesn’t have to. Fruit and veggie scraps make the most awesome compost! And compost is amazing for all kinds of plants – indoor, outdoor, and your garden!
You can also feed them to your hens as a tasty treat and supplement.
You don’t have to have a huge compost pile to compost. Check out these counter top composters or garden towers that compost right inside!
If you’re working to reduce further you can blend your waste in a blender and pour it into a small trench in the garden, the yard, or even indoor plants. Be sure to cover the liquified food scraps with soil to prevent pests.
Consider Restaurant Leftovers
Eat less at restaurants by splitting a meal so you don’t have to bring home leftovers. If you know you’re going to have leftovers after eating at a restaurant, bring along a locking glass container to get your leftovers home waste-free!
Bring your own metal straw instead of using a plastic or paper straw.
Save plastic food containers / milk jugs for seed starting
All kinds of plastic food containers can be repurposed! Milk jugs and large spring salad mix containers are perfect for winter seed sowing! Smaller container are perfect for seed starting or turning into labels.
Use cardboard boxes in your garden
Cardboard makes a wonderful weed barrier – and it breaks down to help your soil too!
How to Reduce Waste at the Grocery Store
Ditch plastic bags and use fabric bags
- Bring your own reusable bags – Stop using plastic bags at grocery stores. It’s easy to bring your own!
- Use mesh bags for produce – we love these mesh bags for produce! They are so easy and also cute!
Shop bulk items with another family and split everything
We did this a lot during Covid and it actually works really well! Shop in bulk and share with family or friends!
Pick up groceries for your neighbors
Think of it as carpooling for groceries and swap to another person each week. If everyone uses their grocery store app to order, it’s easy to pick up for friends and neighbors to save gas, money, and emissions! Use laundry baskets as dividers to keep everyone’s order contained and easily accessible.
Choose Prime Day Shipping
If you shop on Amazon, choose prime day shipping to receive items in fewer boxes. This will also mean fewer trips via delivery van out to your house! Amazon Prime is just
$14.99 $6.99/month for EBT and certain government assistance recipients.
Reduce Waste in the Office
Switch to paperless billing
The nice thing about paperless billing is you don’t have to open anything, file anything, or store anything. All your document are in a handy cloud location. I love paperless billing!
Print fewer pieces of paper
In this electronic day and age, printing seems to happen a lot less often – but really ask yourself before printing anything. Do I need that paper??
Use staple-free staplers
Did you know you can staple papers without using staples? Fasten your papers together with a crimper instead and then you never have to mess with staples again!
Use a paperless notepad
Instead of using sticky notes, use this paperless notebook and transfer all your important notes directly to your phone or computer!
Opt out of junk mail
Go to the FTC and follow these steps there to stop junk mail from appearing at your house!
Reduce Waste at School
Use paperless notebooks
Instead of taking notes on paper, use a paperless notebook to take notes that upload to your computer!
Start a school recycling program
Working with your school to create recycling programs is such a great community service project idea – for 4H, scouts, silver cord hours! So many things to think about: for cans, paper, ink cartridges, plastic bags, and a compost system for food waste.
How to Reduce Waste in the Bathroom
Use shampoo bars
Using shampoo bars is a great way to reduce the amount of plastic you generate! I’ve found them at Trader Joe’s and also Etsy. Here are some of my favorite shampoo bars that work well!
Use bars of soap instead of pump soap
Eliminating plastic bottles from our house is such a great goal. One bottle I can eliminate is pump soap. We simply use bars of soap for hand-washing instead. It works very well.
Use cloth diapers
I used cloth diapers with all four of my kids, but it doesn’t have to be an all or nothing endeavor. For instance, we used disposal diapers at night and when we traveled. Sometimes, I’d take a break from cloth diapers and use disposal for a few days.
Switch to handkerchiefs instead of paper tissues
You’d think that since we used cloth diapers all those use, switching to handkerchiefs would be easy – yet my family resists this simple change. I have some handkerchiefs that used to belong to my grandpa and I keep them in my car and purse.
Switch from daily contacts to monthly contacts
Even throwing out tiny contacts can build up over time. Considering throwing out one pair a month instead of 30 by switching from daily to monthly.
Consider your cleaning products
You can easily make cleaning products at home that generate less waste than buying spray bottles over and over again.
How to Reduce Waste in the Bedroom
Ditch fast fashion
Not only does fast fashion have a very negative impact on the environment, but a lot of the quickly made clothes are poor quality and don’t last. Say no to fast fashion and instead choose clothing that will last longer than one season.
Set up a capsule wardrobe
Capsule wardrobes help with mental and emotion fatigue by removing daily constants from your life. Building my own capsule wardrobe helps simplify my closet and reduce daily stress.
By shopping local you can avoid boxes, plastic, bags, delivery drivers coming to your house every day. Plus, you can support your neighbors and local business owners. So many reasons to shop local!
Shop second hand whenever possible
A great alternative to fast fashion is to shop second hand. We find so many bargains at Goodwill, Plato’s closet, yard sales and more. Plus second hand shopping is such a fabulous way to save money.
Sell, swap, or donate
So many things can be sold, swapped, or donated – your old clothes, toys, dishes, furniture, baby equipment. The list goes on and on.
Make something new from old clothes
Instead of throwing away stained t-shirts cut them into cleaning rags, handkerchiefs, or perhaps make something new to wear.
How to Reduce Waste in the Laundry Room
Use wool dryer balls
Instead of dryer sheets or laundry softeners, use wool dryer balls. You can put floral waters, hydrosols, or essential oils on them or a cloth and not have to throw out dryer sheets or boxes!
Make your own laundry soap
We made our own laundry soap for years! It was great for along time, but I kind of got a way from it. Here’s our recipe if you would like to try.
We also really like Charlie’s Laundry Powder which you can buy in large bulk. It’s another way to reduce plastic bottles at your house. This option will wash 1500 loads for under $200. That’s only 13 cents a load! We love Charlie’s!
Another option is to use soap nuts which can be composted at the end of their life cycle!
Now that the wheels are turning with all of these ways to reduce waste in your home - which ones are you going to try first? Do you have any great ideas that we did not share?