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Every day, families throw away a trash can full of trash and sometimes much more than that. It’s amazing how many waste households in the United States produce each month. From product packaging to spoiled foods to things that are broken, all the way to things such as aluminum cans and glass bottles that can be recycled and reused.

In an effort to both save money and start paying closer attention to the environment, I’ve started taking stock of ways to eliminate household waste, or at the very least to reduce household waste.

Eliminate or Reduce Household Waste – Foods

When shopping, be sure not to buy more perishable items than what can be consumed in about a week’s time. Typically, most items that are perishable will ruin after about a week. When coming home after grocery shopping, be sure to put the things that will last the longest toward the back of the fridge and the fruits and vegetables that will perish more quickly closer to the front.

When cooking, to eliminate household food waste, only make enough for the needs of that meal and one other for leftovers at the maximum. If you make more than that, you’re likely to have leftovers spoil in the refrigerator and that’s household waste and money going down the drain. For every portion you throw away, you’re losing $1-3 dollars worth of food that could have been used to feed your family.

Always store your non-perishable foods in cool or room temperature dry cabinets and/or tightly sealed in plasticware or baggies to keep them from ruining prematurely and you can eliminate or reduce a lot of household wastes from tossing out perishable foods.

Eliminate or Reduce Household Waste – Packaging

Whenever possible, to reduce or eliminate household waste from product packaging, consider buying products in bulk. Not only do you usually save money for bulk purchases but when purchasing in bulk, a portion for a portion, or serving per serving the packaging will have less material than buying in smaller quantities.

You can also eliminate or reduce household waste by purchasing products that don’t use unnecessary packaging. Often, these products will be less expensive too, because the manufacturer is not wasting money and resources on special packaging. Sometimes, it seems ridiculous to me to see a product in a cardboard box, and then inside you find Styrofoam, plastic wrap, and additional cardboard and then shrink wrap on top of all that!

Eliminate or Reduce Household Waste – Utilities and Resources

One area most people probably don’t think about with household waste are utilities, but using too much water, running electricity when it’s not necessary, and even flushing the toilet when it’s not needed can all waste money and have a toll on the environment as well as your pocketbook.

Eliminating wasted utilities like turning lights off when not in use, turning off televisions when not watching them, and unplugging appliances that aren’t in use will mean cheaper utility bills, less expendable resources wasted, and keeping additional radiation from being emitted into the world.

Eliminate or Reduce Household Waste – Recycle, Reduce, Reuse

There are so many reasons why eliminating or reducing household waste is good for your wallet and good for our environment. Whenever possible, eliminate household waste by purchasing recyclable products, and then actually take the time to recycle them. Many communities even have pick up for recyclables, and you will be doing your part to make our world a better place.

If the item can’t be recycled, then see if there is some other use for the item. Baby jars make good sorters for small parts or nuts and bolts. Plastic 1, 2, and 3-liter soda jugs make great planters, water carriers, or water feeders for pet bowls.

Being creative and taking a few extra seconds to recycle or reuse items that have already fulfilled their original purpose can really help eliminate household waste and keep our world cleaner and better for everyone, now and in the future.