With everything from climate change to the new energy bill at the forefront of the environmental sector, we can sometimes forget about the little things that make a difference.
For example, leaky faucets can drip at a rate of one drip per second. That can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water each year. The simple act of fixing a leak, or even just turning off water while brushing your teeth, can have a huge impact.
Since the little things can often get lost, we decided to return to our roots and get back to the building-blocks of sustainability. And what better to start with than the one item we all have…trash! So, let’s get down to the nitty gritty facts about your trash can and reducing your home’s waste.
Step 1: Think Inside the Bin
Before you pick the color, type and design of your trash can, its best to know what exactly you’re going to put in it.
Seem simple? Well, it used to be. But with expanding curbside programs and more reuse ideas, what you used to throw out may actually belong in another bin. Take stock of your waste and re-assess what you really need to toss out.
Time For a Trash Audit
While it isn’t the most pleasant job, a trash audit is a necessary step to really grasp what you’re throwing out and, in turn, what you can save. The audit itself is simple, just follow these easy steps:
- Pick a time period – A week is a good place to start.
- Get everyone on board – If they live in your house and they make trash, they are involved, so catch ‘em up to speed.
- Throw stuff away – Go about your normal routine, and toss out what you usually do. It is important that to be honest with yourself and not try to be on your “best behavior.” Remember, you’re trying to get an accurate measurement of your waste output.
- Weigh in – Each time you take a trash bag out of the house, plop it on the scale. This way you can have a baseline for comparison. Though you will visually be able to see your trash dwindle, the satisfaction of cold, hard facts is the icing on the cake.
- Put on some gloves – Check daily to see what you threw away that could have been recycled, composted, reused or avoided. This part is the eeewwww moment. But, by doing it daily, it wont be as bad. Don’t be deterred by what you find. Remember your mission. You can do it!
- Get graphical – Write down your findings, and use them to make a plan. What can you recycle that you’re currently tossing in the trash? What can be composted? What can be reused and, in turn, what didn’t need to be there in the first place?