12 Ways You Can Help Reduce Landfill Waste
When items sit in landfills, they release carbon into the atmosphere. This process adds to the greenhouse effect and accelerates climate change. Fortunately, there are ways to avoid contributing so much to these landfills. Here are a dozen ways you can reduce landfill waste and do your part to help the planet.
One excellent way to reduce food waste and save money on fertilizer is through composting. It’s a natural process that uses food scraps, plants, water and air to break everything down into a nutrient-rich soil.
When composting food scraps, you prevent the amount of waste in landfills. Even if organically grown, experts say food waste releases up to 10% of total greenhouse gas emissions.
2. Reuse Old Items
The longer you can prevent a usable item from entering the trash, the longer you keep it out of a landfill.
You can often transform glass bottles into decor or utilize old cardboard and paper for craft projects. Reuse your plastic grocery bags multiple times before recycling them to avoid getting more each time you visit the store.
3. Use Rechargeable Batteries
Save money — and the planet — by using rechargeable batteries. Single-use batteries that end up in landfills could lead to other environmental and health impacts. The chemicals in alkaline batteries sometimes leak into the soil and water, contaminating environments and increasing cancer risk in humans.
4. Naturally Clean
When you purchase chemical cleaners, the packaging can pollute the environment and the chemicals pose health and environmental risks. It is hard to reuse cleaning containers since the chemicals can linger on the packaging.
Cleaners produced with pantry items, like baking soda, vinegar and lemon, are safe and effective at keeping your home clean without contributing to excess waste. While a stronger disinfectant may be necessary in some cases, utilizing natural cleaners more often can reduce your carbon footprint while helping keep your home and family healthy.
5. Use Sustainable Building Materials
Common building materials like steel and concrete significantly impact climate change through embodied carbon emissions that worsen with the number of materials produced.
Using natural and recycled materials around your home can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Materials like reclaimed wood and recycled steel don’t contribute to the pollution caused by creating new materials or deforestation. It also reduces the amount of good materials that sit in landfills.
Recycling is a necessary part of preventing items from entering landfills. Most cities have single-stream recycling programs that make it easier than ever to responsibly dispose of glass, cardboard, aluminum, paper and plastics.
When you recycle, you reduce the amount of new materials produced. Though the process isn’t perfect, it keeps tons of items from sitting in landfills and releasing carbon into the air.
7. Buy Items Made with Recycled Materials
Consider selecting products that come from recycled materials. More companies realize the importance of using recycled materials to prevent them from ending in landfills.
Often, the products are just as effective as wasteful alternatives and easy to identify. Many manufacturers advertise when they use recycled materials to show their commitment to the environment.
8. Switch to Reusable Water Bottles
Around 60 million plastic water bottles end up in landfills daily. While plastic water bottles might seem convenient, they have a devastating impact.
Reusable water bottles can save you significant money in the long run. Plus, they’re sturdier than plastic. When you aren’t getting rid of plastic water bottles, you no longer support the production and use of single-use plastics.
9. Eat Leftovers
Food waste is a significant problem in landfills. We are fortunate to live in a land with stores filled with food, and it’s sometimes hard to finish what you purchase.
An easy way to cut your carbon impact is by eating leftovers. When you make a meal, save anything left for you and your family to consume later. When you eat all the food you make, you ensure none ends up wasted in landfills.
10. Purchase Less Packaging
Many companies over-package their items, leading to excess plastic or carbon. If you purchase items with less or recycled packaging, you contribute less to the amount of harmful materials entering a landfill.
Like using recycled materials, companies often advertise their switch to less packaging, making it easy to evaluate which products have the most negligible environmental impact.
11. Donate Clothes
The next time you do a closet purge, consider donating your clothes. Doing so helps stop some fast fashion and keeps the items from sitting in a landfill. Instead of throwing away anything with a stain, consider donating it to an organization that will transform your old clothes into practical, reusable items like cleaning rags.
12. Spread the Word
Education and advocacy are necessary to combat the impacts of climate change. You can help by telling friends and family about the effects of single-use products and how landfills release excessive carbon emissions into the atmosphere. Spreading the word when opportunities arise can inspire others to make responsible choices.
Reducing Landfill Waste
Landfills significantly contribute to climate change, releasing massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere. These steps can help you and your family reduce the items you add to landfills, helping to create a healthier planet.