Shrinking Your Family’s Carbon Footprint

If your family is the one that decorates the curb with ten 30-gallon trash bags every week, it’s time to change your habits. According to Greenwaste, the average American generates over 4 lbs of trash every day — 75 percent of which is recyclable. Now imagine that mountainous pile of rubbish reduced to only one-quarter of its former self. It can be done, and all it takes is a few, simple lifestyle changes. 

Buy Wrapped Items in Bulk

Small, individually wrapped items such as rolls of paper towels, toilet paper, and even cheese slices take up more space in your kitchen garbage can than you might think. Avoid unwrapping six different items by buying one six-pack instead, and look for food products that don’t wrap each piece individually. Avoid using paper plates, disposable plastic cups and flatware on a regular basis in your home.

Cook More Homemade Meals

The packaging from TV dinners, packaged entrees, pizza boxes and frozen vegetables take up a lot of space in a garbage bag. Help cut down on the number of these you toss out daily by purchasing your fruits and vegetables fresh from the produce section and avoid using those pull-off bags and twist-ties that the store provides unless you plan to recycle them. Cooking your meals fresh and then freezing the leftovers is a cheaper, healthier and more environmentally friendly option than feeding your family pre-packaged foods. 

Recycle As Much as Possible

Most people are aware that plastic bags, glass and plastic bottles, aluminum cans, cardboard, and newspapers are recyclable, but there are other items lurking in your garbage that have no reason to be there:

  • Batteries
  • Old Eyeglasses
  • Cell Phones
  • Clothing
  • Shoes
  • Aluminum Foil
  • Wine Corks
  • Water Filters
  • Dentures
  • Makeup

Believe it or not, there’s a market out there for all of these items. Some may require sending off through the mail, but if you’re really intent on cutting down the size of your family’s carbon footprint, they’re worth looking into. 

Invest in a Garbage Compactor

If you still can’t seem to significantly reduce the amount of bags you sit out on the curb each week, consider investing in a small, residential garbage compactor. It will make a huge difference in the amount of trash you’re able to fit into a single bag. Your garbage man will thank you, too. 

Upgrade Your Appliances

As a homeowner, you may love this option — new appliances, especially those that are Energy Star Certified, are much more energy-efficient than ones that are 20 years old. New appliances not only offer more convenient features, but they’re easier on your energy bill. You may even qualify for a substantial tax break by upgrading your old appliances to new, energy-efficient models. 

Go Solar

Installing solar panels is a big project and not one to be considered lightly because of the cost involved. But if it’s an option you’ve been tossing around for awhile, why not pick today to act? Solar panels will lower your electric bill substantially, and again, according to the state in which you reside, they come with tax credits attached. 

Reducing the pile of rubbish that exits your home weekly is a necessary feat for homeowners who are concerned with doing what’s best for the planet. Learning to recycle effectively takes a little extra time, but it’s worth it in the long run. If you’re not sure where to begin, check at your local town hall or go online to find the nearest recycling centers. Familiarize yourself with the charities and thrift stores in your area that take donations of used clothes, toys and housewares, and then make it a point to make a drop off once or twice a month. 

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