This month’s Earth Day reminds us that we as Americans generate a huge amount of trash—an average of 4.4 pounds per person each day. So what can we do to reduce waste to not only help the environment, but help us save money too? Frankly, start questioning everything you own and everything you regularly buy:
- Limit or cancel paper subscriptions. If you have subscriptions, then magazines, catalogs and newspapers can stack up quickly.
- Reduce and reuse packaging. When you do buy things, try to buy in bulk and buy things with as little packaging as possible. Also, use reusable grocery bags. Lastly, buy recycled items. Glass, paper, metal and plastic items are often recycled materials.
- Recycle. Give things away to charity and make use of your regular recycling service. Books, clothing and kitchen ware are great items to donate.
- Maintain and repair your appliances. The goal is to get as much life out of these items as possible and maintaining them will make a big difference in their longevity.
- Reuse things as much as possible. Wear clothes again, use the same towel all week, and reuse jars, old rags, etc. for other purposes around the house.
- Monitor energy use. Turn off lights when you can, unplug things, adjust the thermostat up or down, and consider energy-efficient items and solar energy if you’re looking for even bigger long-term changes.
- Be aware of water use. Take shorter showers, turn off the water while brushing your teeth, and wear things more often before washing. It takes energy as well as wear and tear on your pipes and system to pump water through the home and down the drain. It also takes energy to heat it and treat it to make it drinkable.
It starts with simple, small changes. Once you start taking a critical look at your home and your lifestyle, you’ll see there is plenty you can do.
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