A Lazy (and Cheap) Guide to Cutting Down on Waste in the Home

Trista - April 15, 2019

Waste is becoming a real problem. Our landfills can only take so much before new ones need to be made. Instead of creating more garbage that’s clogging up the ground and poisoning water supplies, here are some handy tips to you could apply to your life to cut down on the amount of waste you create. Even if you only adopt a few of these helpful ways to reduce waste, it is a small step to a better environment. From bio-gradable materials to homemade compost, there are tons of ways you can quickly switch your habits. Don’t worry; these ideas are affordable and pretty easy, too! Some only take the touch of a button. Thanks in advance for carrying about our environment and doing your part to make a greener earth for all of us including future generations!



1. Growing your own Herb Garden

Instead of buying dried herbs and seasonings from the store, you can grow your own at home. It’s to do and cuts down on the plastic and glass containers they come in. Get a few planters, some dirt, and some seeds; in no time, you’ll have a garden sprouting on your kitchen windowsill.


2. Changing the Refrigerator Temperature

Fresh produced requires an optimal temperature of 35 to 38 degrees, so set your fridge accordingly. Many people must throw out vegetables that have spoiled in their refrigerator. However, keeping it at the correct temperature will avoid this problem. So no more wasted food or money down the drain.


3. Storing Food in Mason Jars

Forget about the Ziploc bags! Those always get thrown away into the garbage. Instead, save your pasta jars and use them for storage purposes. They’re easy to clean and will last a long time.


4. Shopping in Thrift Stores

People turn in their used things to thrift stores when they don’t want them anymore. You can discover a lot of gems in thrift stores, especially for things you might need. From purses and vases to plates and toys, you can find stuff that is practically brand new and reuse it.


5. Switching to Electronic Statements

Save on paper from your bank by signing up for electronic statements. You get them in your email once a month. Say goodbye to wasted envelopes and all those papers that you’re going to end up throwing away anyway. It’s also more secure so that no prying eyes will see your statement.


6. Keeping Your Fridge Full

Despite popular belief, having a full fridge doesn’t use up more energy, and you’re actually using the power you’re paying for to keep your groceries cold. It also helps to keep the temperature consistent in your fridge when you’re opening and closing the door all day. Being able to do this tip financially might be the hard part.


7. Getting a Reusable Fruit and Vegetable Bags

These mesh bags are great at keeping your vegetables and fruits aerated so that they can breathe instead of sweating on themselves. Recycle those plastic bags and paper containers, and store them in these useful bags instead. They’re also easy to wash once they get a little dirty.


8. Using a Menstrual Cup

Pads and tampons create tons of garbage each month. Invest in a menstrual cup instead to cut down on careless waste. They’re made of silicone, so they’re reusable and easy to clean.


9. Turning Off an Energy Strip

Chances are good you probably already use energy strips, especially if you have many electronics. From computer cords and phone chargers to TV plugs and more, you can keep track of everything with an energy strip. However, just remember to flip that handy switch once in a while. You can turn it off and save electricity.


10. Skipping Paper Towels

Paper towels are convenient for use around the house, whether it’s wiping down counters or using as napkins at the dining room table. One application, however, and they go straight into the garbage. Cloth towels and napkins work just as well and can be washed when they get too filthy. It saves the landfills!


11. Purchasing Soy or Beeswax Candles

Nobody can resist a good-smelling candle. These kinds of candles use fewer chemicals in their manufacturing and burn much longer than regular candles. Go for ones that have cotton wicks so that they consume even more effectively. You make less pollution but can still enjoy that warm vanilla.


12. Ensuring your Oven is Properly Insulated

Insulation wears down over time, and that means that your oven is probably not heating up as effectively as it should be. In turn, you’re wasting a lot of electricity and gas just to heat things to the right temperature. You can check if it’s working correctly by placing an oven thermometer inside to see if it gets to the right temperature.


13. Cooking with Reusable Baking Sheet Liners

Instead of using parchment paper or foil, consider a silicone baking sheet. They’re easy to keep clean, and you won’t have to spend money buying more rolls of foil in the future. That’s a win-win-win for you, your wallet, and the environment.


14. Making your Own Air Fresheners

There are plenty of all-natural air fresheners that you can make at home and will leave your house smelling wonderful. They’ll eliminate odors without spending any money on those chemical air fresheners. Besides, you can customize the scents to your liking, too!


15. Trying Rechargeable Batteries

They work just as well as regular batteries and can be recharged once they’re empty instead of throwing them away. You can find rechargeable batteries in all sizes, ranging from AAA to D, and a charger is pretty inexpensive.


16. Drinking from Reusable Water Bottles

Bottled water may taste more refreshing, but they’re just a gimmick. Forego buying cases and cases of plastic bottles of water. Instead, try a reusable container that you can fill. Go for metal ones so that plastic doesn’t leech into your water and eliminates the chances of mold growing. You will be amazed at how much plastic is in garbage dumps just from water bottles.


17. Getting Reusable Steepers

Tea has many soothing properties, but they’re inconveniences in that they create tons of garbage when you’re done with them. Give up tea bags in a box and consider loose leaf instead to add to your steeper. Because loose leaf is biodegradable, it can be washed down your garbage disposal into your organic trash.


18. Creating a Kitchen Compost

Whenever you have scraps like eggshells, you can use these organic foods to make natural fertilizer for your garden. By using your leftovers or spoiled foods, you will not only recycle the wasted food, but you will help by using natural products. Sounds like another win-win!


19. Shaving with Safety Razors

Disposable razors are made up of too much plastic. Having a safety razor means that you’re only throwing away the head once the blade is dull. You can buy several razor heads as once too, allowing you to save money from buying new razors altogether.


20. Carrying Reusable Grocery Bags

You can cut down the use of plastic bags when you go to the grocery store by bringing your own cloth bag with you. These reusable bags can store plenty of groceries. Just wash them once in a while if they get a little dirty.


21. Picking Recyclable Packaging

When buying products that are shipped in plastic, make sure you look for the recycling logo and the number within it. That way, you know that you can recycle the container once you’re done using it. That is, the box can be broken down and turned into something else.


22. Buying in Bulk

Buying groceries in bulk will eliminate your garbage for a number of reasons. First of all, although the packages are slightly bigger, you have fewer containers once everything is empty. Plus, you don’t have to drive to the grocery store as frequently which equals less pollution.


23. Making Natural Cleaning Products

Eliminate extra packaging and spending at the store by making your cleaning products at home. All-natural products also have fewer chemicals, so they’re more friendly to your health and the surfaces of your home. Plus you can use your favorite scents.


24. Starting a Meal Plan

By creating a meal plan for every day of the week, you’ll be able to buy just the amount of groceries you need instead of purchasing excess. It does take some getting used to a meal plan routine, but with some practice, it will become second nature to you. Your grocery store trips and waste at home will be cut in half!


25. Eliminating the Use of Garbage Bags

This tip might seem a little irrational, but you could skip the garbage bags and put your garbage into the bin directly. Of course, you’ll have to wash your container from time to time, but that means less plastic being deposited into landfill sites. Likewise, you will become more conscious of what goes into your trashcan every day.


26. Reusing Plastic Bags

If you have small plastic bags lying around from newspapers being delivered, you can reuse them as pooper-scooper bags for your dog. Not only are you reusing this wasted plastic once more, but your neighbors will thank you, especially the ones without dogs!


27. Trying Cloth Diapers

If you have children, you can significantly reduce your garbage by using cloth diapers. They can be washed and reused for as long as they fit your baby. There are also little to no chemicals used in cloth diapers, which can minimize allergic reactions on your baby’s skin.


28. Stopping your Junk Mail

Getting junk mail that you’re going to throw away or recycle is just a waste of useful resources. If you continue to get the same junk mail, consider contacting the sender to remove yourself from the mailing list. It’s worth a try!


29. Changing your Subscriptions

Your magazines don’t fall into the junk mail category. However, change to an online subscription rather than the print copy. You can read your favorite stories online instead of getting them in the mail and save much paper, ink, and more.


30. Using a Pressure Cooker

Pressure cookers use less time to cook your food, meaning that you’re using less fuel. It’s also a healthier way to prepare your meals because you’re not using any oils. In turn, this cooking method prevents any mineral loss in your food.


31. Skipping the Q-Tips

You may think you need them to clean the inside of your ears, but Q-Tips are simply not necessary. Instead, you can use a washcloth with some soap in the shower to get them squeaky clean. Just imagine millions of these little things being eliminated from landfills!


32. Using Grey Water

You would be surprised by how much water is wasted when you’re showering. While your water is getting hot, place a bucket inside to catch the water you’re not going to use. This extra H2O can be used to water your plants or in the tank of your toilet.


33. Writing with Refillable Pens

Using a refillable pen will save you from throwing away tons of plastic. Likewise, getting mechanical pencils and refillable markers will reduce your waste even more. If you are a person who goes through a lot of writing instruments, invest in some eco-friendly ones.


34. Drying your Clothes Outside

Skip the dryer. If it’s a breezy or sunny outside, hang your clothes on a line to dry. Using the power of the sun and wind will take longer than using a dryer, but you’ll use less electricity.


35. Avoiding Compulsive Purchases

Treating yourself to something nice once in a while is great, as long as it’s manageable. Avoid going on compulsive shopping trips for things that you don’t really need. Otherwise, you’ll accumulate too much stuff that you’re likely not to use and throw away in the end.


36. Eating Imperfect Vegetables

Shiny apples look nice, but they don’t taste any different from the not-so-nice ones. If you genuinely love snacking on greens or making smoothies, get the ugly fruits and vegetables, especially if you are going to eat them right away. That way, your local grocery store doesn’t have to throw them away at the end of the day.


37. Refilling your Thermos

Making a trip to the local barista can be made more environmentally-friendly by bringing a reusable thermos. Ask first if your coffee shop can fill them; if they do, it’s better than using paper cups that you’re going to throw away. Don’t go overboard with the size and bring in a gallon — even on your more lazy mornings!


38. Tossing in Dryer Balls

Dryer sheets are good at keeping the static out of your clothing; however, like many other products, you use them once and then throw them away. Replace the sheets with dryer balls to do the same job. That way, you can reuse them and still have static-free clothes.