Reducing My Waste-line: Practical Ways to Reduce Household Waste

Practical Ways to Reduce Household Waste
At a recent blogging conference I got the pleasure of meeting some new friends from the team at Tom’s of Maine. I have always loved their line of products because they have no artificial colors, flavors, fragrances or preservatives but after finding out about their Eco-friendly practices, I love them even more. I’m joining Tom’s of Maine to share practical ways to reduce household waste. 
While talking with them, I learned that Tom’s of Maine has an ambitious goal to achieve zero waste for its manufacturing facility in Sanford, Maine by 2020. I have to admit, I was pretty impressed! I know (and oftentimes cringe) at just how much waste my family creates as a household. If a huge manufacturing facility can strive to achieve zero waste, surely our family can do better too.
In that spirit, the team at Tom’s of Maine extended a friendly challenge to me and my family to reduce household waste in just one week! Being the type of girl who doesn’t back down from a challenge, I decided to take it on! 

Tom's of Maine 7 Day Waste Challenge
On the first day of the challenge, it was business as usual around our house. At the end of the day, I measured the amount of trash that we created, and used that as a baseline. After that, each day I tried to apply a new technique in the way we handle the waste in our home. At the end of the day I recorded how that change affected my “waste-line” on the goal tracker that Tom’s of Maine provided me. By the end of one week, I really reduced my waste, and increased my recycling. Not every day will be the same, as we eat and use different things each day, but the goal is to reduce waste overall.
As you can see, I am not down to a zero-waste home yet, but I feel like I did make some really great strides in reducing our family’s household waste. Here are a few of the practical waste reduction techniques that we learned and put into place this week. 
• Sorting recycling: this is such a simple practice that cut down our waste so much. I set up a special waste basket designated just for recycling. We are lucky that in our area we have a special trash can that gets picked up on garbage day for recycling. It really couldn’t be much easier. Be sure to check with your local trash collection services to find out how recycling works in your neighborhood.
• Composting: I set up a special container next to my sink to collect vegetable peelings and scraps. Each day I asked one of my kids to empty it in a designated space of our garden for compost. It feels so good to not only be reducing our waste, but to also give back to the earth that gives so much to us. 
• Reusing: With a little creativity I was able to reuse and up-cycle a few of the items that normally go straight into the trash can. For example, I cleaned out empty yogurt and cottage cheese containers to use to store leftovers in the fridge. 
• Reusable Shopping Bags: I’ll admit that I am not the best about remembering to take my reusable shopping bags with me when I go grocery shopping. So when I came home from grocery shopping this week, I had a big bundle of plastic shopping bags that had to get thrown away (see day 3 of my tracker). I hadn’t really thought before about how much waste those little bags actually create. In an effort to right my wrong, I have now gotten some new reusable bags and am committing to use them on my next shopping trip. 
While my home is not yet a zero-waste facility, I am glad that we accepted this challenge as a way to learn and apply some new techniques to reduce our waste and to reduce our contribution to filling landfills with trash. 
I want you to have the same experience and opportunity that I had to really examine how much trash your family uses in a week, so I am extending the same friendly challenge to you that Tom’s of Maine gave to me… To track and reduce your household waste-line for one week.
Are you in? Come back and leave a comment with your results! 

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Emily Buys


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