From purchase to use to disposal, our small decisions add up. What may seem like tiny choices can have a huge impact on the amount of waste you and your family produce on a regular basis. Here’s a checklist of four simple, convenient ways to reduce your waste:

Recycling at home? Twin your bins!

Instead of absentmindedly tossing your junk mail, unwanted magazines, or empty containers in your trash can, throw them in the recycling! Wherever there is a trash can in your house, make sure there is a recycling receptacle right next to it: in the bathroom, in the garage, under the sink, etc. Making it just as convenient to recycle as it is to throw away will make recycling into a second-nature habit for your family in no time.

Extra tip: Wherever there is dirty paper, like in the bathroom, make sure you have a place to put organics as well. Soiled paper should be composted!

Keep The Cap

When you finish the last of your beverage in a plastic bottle or carton, make sure you put the cap back on before recycling. The cap helps the container retain its shape and also contains a whole lot of plastic! In addition, small pieces of plastic like caps by themselves can be tricky for the recycling equipment to process.

Go Bagless

Do you put your recyclables in a trash bag? Make sure that when you dump it into your curbside cart, all your recyclables are loose and you toss the bag into the landfill cart. Trash bags cannot go into the recycling! 

Bagged recyclables can look a lot like a bag of trash, which makes it more likely for recycling sorters to throw the whole bag into the landfill. Thin plastic bags also clog the machinery and are not recyclable. So, when you’re tossing your recyclables under the sink, skip the bag entirely or remember to take all of those items out of the bag!

Donate, Donate, Donate!

Many household items we throw away have a lot of life left in them! When clothes get too small (or just aren’t your style anymore) or you have toys that aren’t being used anymore, find a donation location like Goodwill or the Salvation Army. If you haven’t used it in a year or two, you probably won’t use it again!

Fun fact: the average person throws away about 70 pounds of clothing and other textiles per year! Instead of contributing more landfill waste, donate clothes and old items instead.

Remember: if everyone does a little, it can help a lot!

It takes small, incremental life changes to make a difference. No one is expected to do it perfectly their first try! By incorporating these small changes, we can all make a difference and reduce waste to make a big impact.