5 Simple Steps to Reduce Landfill Waste
By Melanie Saunders
Some things in a landfill will take thousands of years to fully decompose. There’s nothing we can do to speed up that process. What we can do is limit the amount of things that make their way to a landfill, reducing the overall volume of waste and creating a manageable waste system. If you live in an environmentally conscious household, it’s surprisingly easy to reduce the amount of trash you generate. It all starts with making wiser decisions.
- Go Reusable
Almost every single-use product you can purchase has a reusable alternative. From cloth diapers to travel coffee cups, everything has a substitute. You can even reuse food packaging, like mason jars, for storage and organization within your home. You can bring your travel cup with you and ask your server to bring you your beverage in it. If you’re about to buy something that needs to be thrown away shortly thereafter, look for something better to purchase.
- Recycle What You Can
Many paper, plastic, and metal goods can be recycled. As long as they aren’t soggy or greasy from food, your local recycling plant will be able to process them. For objects you’re not sure about, look up your local codes. Be sure that you aren’t attempting to recycle things that aren’t actually recyclable, such as large items made of wood or a combination of materials. Those things need to be hauled away by a company like 1300 Rubbish, and mistakenly sending them to your recycling center can slow their progress.
- Stop Buying Things You Don’t Need
We all love buying shiny new things, but we don’t necessarily need them. When we buy things we don’t need, we inevitably wind up throwing them away or attempting to get rid of them. These ultimately useless purchases wind up in landfills as both a waste of space and a waste of your money. It’s better for both the environment and your wallet to think carefully about things like impulse purchases like snacks that come in packaging that isn’t recyclable, or novelty plastic goods that will soon break.
- Opt for Biodegradable Alternatives
There are some circumstances where disposable items seem impossible to avoid. If you’re having a child’s birthday party, for example, buying enough dinnerware and flatware for 30 people and having to wash up afterwards is a lot of effort and a hefty expense. When you need something you can toss out after you’ve finished using it, opt for biodegradable alternatives. Most disposables have plant fiber based variants. They’re a little more expensive, but most of them won’t break the bank.
- Buy Recycled Products
The greater the demand for recycled products, the more recycled products will hit the market. Almost anything you buy that’s made of paper, metal, plastic, or even glass can be created from a recycled source. Look at the packaging before you make a purchase to know that whatever it is you’re buying is made of a reused material that avoided a landfill. Money talks, and when companies see how much consumers care about sustainable products, they feel the drive to create them. Your purchasing decisions hold more influence than you may realize.
While it’s inevitable that some waste will always need to go to a landfill, the amount of waste that actually fits that category is a lot lower than most people believe. By making wiser decisions and influencing others around you to do the same, you can make a huge difference in the world.