how to reduce household waste

How to Reduce Household Waste

Today is Earth Day and so I thought I would share with you some ways in which you can reduce waste in your home. 

A couple of years ago I was determined to reduce the amount of waste we were generating in our house. From the kitchen to the bathroom, I started making changes. The idea of zero waste can be very overwhelming to many people, so I encourage you to start slowly. Here are some easy ways you can reduce waste in your home.


Compost - Instead of throwing your food scraps in the garbage, look into a backyard composting system, or a local composting company. We don't have a municipal waste scraps program, but luckily we have a local composting company (Earth Warriors) who pick up each week. This immediately reduced our garbage from 1 bag a week, to 1 bag every two weeks. We fill a bucket with food scraps each week, which also leaves me thinking that we should be doing more with that food. I recently read a statistic that said 63% of the food Canadians throw out each year could have been eaten.  

Around the sink - I love a good dish cloth, but my hubby insists on using a scrub brush, so instead of using a plastic one, I purchased a bamboo one that was made in Germany. We tried to swap out our bottle of dish soap for a bar, but honestly, it didn't work well, and it got really gross. Etee has concentrated dish soap that you add to a bottle with water. It looks really awesome and is next on our list to green products to try. In the meantime, we purchased a large bottle that we use to refill our smaller one. It's not ideal, but it does use less plastic. Finally, the dishwasher. There's no need for it to blast for 2 hours. I dare you to try the lowest setting and see how it goes for you!

The pantry - We've got two young boys, so making and giving out snacks is my part time job. While it would be easier to have the individually wrapped snacks for them, it's so much waste, so they get their snacks in a reusable container. The same goes for yogurt, buy the larger container and then reuse it! If you have a local refill store, that's also a great option when you're trying to reduce packaging in general. It can be a bit more difficult at the moment, as many shops aren't letting you use your own containers, but we'll get back to it soon!


This has been for me the most difficult area to cut our plastic. I switched us all to bamboo toothbrushes, but they weren't good. Again, if you have young kids, you know they chew more than they brush. They didn't last long and my hubby also threw a stink, wait, was it the toothbrush or the toothpaste from a glass jar he had a problem with?! If your family is like mine and wants their toothpaste out of a tube, there are free recycling programs you can use through Terracycle. In fact, Terracycle has partnerships with many companies who have hard to recycle products (we're working towards this right now). Finally, lets talk those beauty products, guess what, Terracycle will also recycle them as well. If you can use organic products, your body will say thank you and so will the planet. 


Ditch the jug of tide and invest in laundry strips. I have been using Tru Earth for two years now and it's the best. They make laundry strips and the packaging is cardboard, so when you're finished with the package, you're just recycling a small paper package. They also have cleaning solution strips as well. 


If your kids are like ours, they have too many toys. They play enthusiastically with one or two things and then toss them aside. A few years back, amidst one of my ragey purges (who's with me?) I decided not to take the toys to the Salvation Army, but instead to put them away for a while. Months later when I brought them back out, it was like Christmas all over again. Since then, I have a rotation system for their toys. This cuts down on new toys being purchased and on my purges (my youngest has still not forgiven me for getting rid of a dragon stuffy of his). When we're purchasing toys for our kids, we also look to buy eco toys, mainly wooden toys, or toys we know the kids will have and use for a while (like lego).  

Finally, I encourage you to buy second hand for kids (and yourself) when you can. I feel like every day one of my boys is coming home with holes in his pants. They are so hard on their clothes and they grow so fast. North Americans send 10 million tonnes of clothing to land fills each year. So I encourage you to donate or sell old clothing and try purchasing second hand when you can. 

Every change makes a difference no matter how small. 

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