How to Minimize Your Household Waste

car trunk with garbage and sports equipment - minimize household waste

While it is hard to live in a perfectly eco-friendly way, there are certain things that we can do on an individual basis to try to ensure that the way that we go about our day to day lives is less harmful. We’re all probably doing something to cut down on our energy use and make our homes more efficient, but something that we sometimes overlook is our household waste.

Waste refers to anything that is unwanted anymore. It’s not just the small things like bottles and food waste that can add up in a landfill if we can’t recycle or compost it. Bigger household items, materials for renovations, even furniture can all contribute to the waste your household produces. Here are some tips to go beyond recycling and composting and minimize your household’s waste.

Dispose of Old Items Responsibly 

If you have unwanted items, use a professional waste removal service, as they are committed to removing waste properly and responsibly, recycling items where appropriate. When you have old things to get rid of in your home, it is definitely worth consulting a company that knows what they are doing rather than disposing of these yourself.

Waste removal companies have access to recycling facilities and could be better able to sort through items than municipal waste workers. Going this route will keep your home looking tidy and uncluttered, without dumping unnecessary items irresponsibly. 

Give Old Items a New Home

If any of your old items are worth something or likely to be of use to other people, advertise them on social media marketplaces or local buy and sell groups, or better yet, see if you can donate them to a charity. Even if the item is worth nothing to you, it could help someone else, especially someone with very little money to spend. 

Bear in mind that charities will often take old furniture so they can pass it on to families in need, so that old sofa you hate might be really welcomed by a family with no money and a house to furnish. Local charities might also be able to accept old electronics, scrap metals, or other materials that they can recycle for cash. 

Upcycle Old Furniture

two upholstered chairs next to a table - minimize your household waste

When we are creative in any way shape or form, upcycling old furniture is a great way to reuse items when they get a bit old. Take your old sofa: this may work perfectly but is looking a little bit battered and worn. To make it into a brand new one, why not sew together some patches to make a beautiful patchwork throw? 

Painting furniture is another great way to upcycle, and this works particularly well for anything that is made out of wood. Why not jazz up your dining room table by painting it a shade of bright blue? Upcycling is both good for the environment and a way to make your home look very unique and interesting, adding character to your house and making it stand out from the crowd. 

Upcycling is really easy to do and there are tons of useful video tutorials online. Make sure you use environmentally responsible materials such as zero-VOC or natural paints such as milk paints if you upcycle furniture. That way you are not trading off one environmental problem for another. 

Watch Your Construction Waste

Waste from construction and renovation projects is a big concern, but you can take steps to minimize the amount of waste your next renovation project creates. Make a plan for the materials you’re replacing. Your old baseboards or floors might not be serving you anymore, but if you take them up carefully and advertise them for free, they might be totally serviceable for someone else’s basement or workshop. Even old carpeting might find a home with someone who needs flooring that they don’t have to care about keeping clean.

Carefully measure and organize your project around creating the least amount of waste possible. Find uses for excess materials. The offcuts from your new hardwood floors can be used to make a planter. Excess tile can be turned into trays, coasters and placemats. You can also advertise leftover materials – you never know who might need just a little scrap of drywall for a patch.

Refuse Packaged Items to Begin With

The best way to avoid household waste is to not let it into your home in the first place. Source second-hand items when you can so that you don’t have to manage the boxes and unrecyclable styrofoam and plastic packaging that new items always come with. Find suppliers who use eco-friendly packaging, or who are committed to reducing the amount of packaging they use. Make and build things yourself, if you’re handy. Borrow items you think you’ll only need once or twice.

There are lots of ways to reduce the amount of waste that comes into your home. The bonus of exploring these ways is that these options are often less expensive and better for the environment all around.

If everyone tries to do a little bit to act responsibly, this will have a great effect on the environment as a whole and will help those around you to be motivated to do the same. 

Feature image: Isaac Taylor; Image 1: eric montanah

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