Estimates from the National Resources Defense Council state that an astounding 40 percent of food in the United State goes to waste. This translates to a jaw dropping $165 billion a year worth of resources which are simply thrown away. Even a 15 percent reduction in this waste would mean 25 million more Americans could be fed.
There is waste all around. Look at your own households behaviors. How many times do you fix too much food for dinner and then days later you are throwing it out of the refrigerator because it went uneaten? It happens to my family all of the time.
Clearly, it does not take a huge effort to begin applying waste reduction tactics. There are small steps which on their own can go a long way to reduce household waste.
One of the most basic ways to reduce household waste is to purchase thoughtfully. Do you really need that extra pair (or two, or three) of shoes? Will you and your family really be able to consume all the food that you have just bought? These are questions you must ask yourself each time you seem to be in a quandary over purchasing items you know are clearly not a “necessity”.
Also consider space and aesthetic sensibilities in your household when you are debating on that next purchase. The more thought you give to this, the less likely you are to make frivolous purchases which will only end up as “rotting attic relics” in the (near) future! This is particularly pertinent, given the whole Tiny House Movement we are witnessing here in the United States where many individuals are voluntarily opting to live in really small houses; this requires a lot of thought to be given to every item purchased.
Americans throw away 2.5 million plastic bottles every hour so why not take some concrete steps to eliminate this. Pack an empty bottle in your car or purse and use it to fill up the next time you think about buying a bottle of water.
There are many purchases which simply cannot be outright avoided. Let’s say you are a tech geek who loves to be up-to-date on all the latest gadgets. Given the short lifespan of most of these electronics, it is only a matter of time before they would be outdated. That is where you need to remain savvy and recycle the ones which you are not going to use, rather than let them make it to the landfill. The importance of this can be gauged from the fact that in Australia, there are nearly as many phones lying around unused as there are people. Consider resources like Gazelle that not only take your old cellphones, but also pay you for them.
You might also want to consider the number of items in your house which you can easily repurpose. For instance, you could use old milk jugs as luminaries or even a watering can. You could refashion old wine bottles into plant holders in which you would add to the overall aesthetic beauty and appeal of your home. You could also turn those same wine bottles into vinegar or oil dispensers.
Change of Mindset
When all is said and done, the one big initiative which clearly needs to be taken is a change in your mindset. Once you do that you will find that there is really no looking back. Remember that small steps often go a long way in making a big change. A small decision on your part to recycle or repurpose containers could make a HUGE difference in terms of the waste that is generated at home. Since most of our household waste comes from uneaten food it’s important to only buy and prepare what we are going to actually eat.
Minimizing household waste can certainly be a whole lot easier than many of us might believe. Simple steps like being mindful about the food we purchase and using our household items for multiple uses can drastically cut down on what gets thrown out each year.