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How to Reduce Your Garbage Output

The average American throws away four pounds of garbage a day. But with a little effort, you can whittle your waste way down.


  • Step 1: Avoid packaging Vote with your wallet: purchase goods with little or no packaging. Avoid buying food with unnecessary wrapping—especially Styrofoam or plastic—such as pre-packaged fruits and vegetables.
  • TIP: Whenever possible, buy in bulk—you’ll save money and the planet.
  • Step 2: Start a compost Instead of throwing out coffee grounds, eggshells, tea bags, and produce scraps, save them in a bucket near your garbage can and periodically add them to a backyard compost.
  • TIP: Some cities offer curbside pickup for compost-friendly food and yard scraps.
  • Step 3: Save on bags Ask the cashier not to double-bag. Better yet, bring your own reusable totes.
  • Step 4: Recycle Recycle as much glass, paper, and plastic as you can.
  • Step 5: Limit take out Limit take-out food, which is very packaging-intensive. If you do order take-out, find a way to re-use the packaging. That’s it – 5 easy ways to reduce your garbage output.
  • FACT: Wal-Mart expects to save 3.4 billion dollars and 700,000 tons of CO2 by encouraging suppliers to cut unnecessary packaging.

You Will Need

  • A compost heap
  • Reusable shopping totes
  • Recycling bins

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