Thursday, February 19, 2015

82 Ways to Avoid the Landfill

From the bean of Green Bean.

A couple of weeks ago, someone I follow on Twitter posted the following tweet.



Some environmental problems seem beyond the power of personal environmentalism. Climate change, for instance.  Rebuilding our transportation system, maybe.  But reducing the amount of landfills our society needs?  That is a piece of cake, people!


  1. Buy less new stuff.  Non-recyclable packaging takes up a ton of landfill space.
  2. Buy used stuff.  You keep it out of the landfill and avoid packaging.  Bonus points!
  3. Find multiple uses for the things you do buy. For example - cinnamon: spice, pest repellent, rooting hormone (for propagating plants).
  4. Swap your old clothes and other items with friends, neighbors, etc. 
  5. Borrow instead of buy.  The public library is a great place to start.
  6. Buy less stuff - even used. 
  7. Opt out of junk mail.
  8. Switch to e-bills instead of paper bills.
  9. Cancel magazine subscriptions and read them electronically instead.
  10. Cancel the newspaper and read it electronically.
  11. Use a reusable water bottle.
  12. Buy fewer beverages in containers.  For instance, it is cheaper and healthier to make ice tea than to buy it.  
  13. Drink less juice.  It's not healthy anyway.
  14. If you do dairy, buy milk or yogurt in returnable glass bottles.
  15. Use reusable shopping bags.
  16. Use produce bags.
  17. Buy in bulk.  Use your produce bags here. 
  18. Used dried beans, instead of canned. Buy them in bulk or paper bags. 
  19. Buy bar soap (in paper or no packaging).
  20. Buy baked goods - bagels, bread and muffins.
  21. Buy the biggest size available and avoid "snack packs."
  22. Use reusable lunch boxes and containers. 
  23. Pack more homemade or bulk items in lunches to reduce waste.
  24. Ditch paper towels. Use cloth dish towels instead.
  25. Ditch paper napkins. Use cloth napkins instead.
  26. Skip straws.
  27. Use regular dishes and cutlery instead of disposable.
  28. Ditch the K-cups and make coffee the old fashioned way.
  29. Plan your weekly menu to reduce food waste.
  30. Inspect your fridge, pantry and garden before making a grocery list.
  31. Every week to month, do a clean of your fridge, to use up perishable items.
  32. Every six months, do a clean out of your pantry and freezer to use up items.
  33. Make "Clean The Kitchen" vegetable soup and similar recipes to use up perishables.
  34. Make your own soup stock.
  35. Freeze what food you can. 
  36. If you have toddlers, try early potty training. 
  37. Try to make more homemade foods - bread, yogurt, jam, waffles, pizza, muffins to reduce packaging waste.
  38. Buy traditional clothing styles instead of the newest, more fashionable. 
  39. Ditch disposable cleaning products - like Swiffer - and make your own.
  40. Use what you have up to the last drop. For instance, squeeze the toothpaste holder.
  41. Return reusables to the grocery store and farmers' market.
  42. Compost.
  43. Use rechargeable batteries.
  44. Use both sides of paper and print less.
  45. Switch to LED lights. They last longer which means less waste over time.
  46. Reuse sticks and twigs in the garden to create raised beds.
  47. Reuse broken pots and pinecones as drainage for potted plants.
  48. Reuse egg shells in your garden. 
  49. Reuse leaves as mulch or leave them where they lie.
  50. Regrow your kitchen scraps.
  51. Plant from seed or propagate your own plants to avoid waste from the nursery.
  52. Shred soiled paper for the compost or the chicken coop, if you have chickens.
  53. Reuse egg cartons, yogurt containers for starting seeds. Or better yet, milk jugs!
  54. If you have babies, try cloth diapers.
  55. Repair items instead of throwing them out.
  56. Do minor remodels instead of big. For instance, reface instead of replace kitchen cabinets.
  57. If you are female and menstruating, try reusable pads or cups.
  58. Bring your own coffee cup - or ask for a "here" cup at coffee shops.
  59. Bring your own to go container.
  60. Return your ink cartridges.
  61. Return styrofoam peanuts to packing stores for reuse.
  62. Save bubble wrap for future packing or offer it on freecycle to ebayers.
  63. When you buy products, look for those with less/no packaging or at least packaging that is recyclable (or compostable if this option is available to you).
  64. Advocate for better recycling facilities in your area.
  65. Advocate for municipal composting.
  66. Advocate for plastic bag bans.
  67. Wrap gifts in reusable bags or boxes instead of gift wrap.
  68. Reuse your ribbon from gifts.
  69. Reuse decorations for holidays and birthday parties.
  70. Reuse your glass jars and other containers.
  71. Reuse all plastic bags. Cereal bags, tortilla bags and such can be used for doggie waste, litter box clean up, etc.
  72. Set up a box for items headed to landfill to be reused for kids' crafts.
  73. Return styrofoam peanuts to packing stores for reuse.
  74. Organize your reusable items. That way, the eraser or paperclip will really be reused.
  75. Reuse old clothes for patching new clothes.
  76. Reuse old clothes for rags.
  77. Reuse old clothes to make shopping bags.
  78. Reuse stuffing from old furniture and stuffed animals for sewing. 
  79. Spend days, weeks, months, perusing Pinterest for ideas of upcycling and reusing.
  80. Recycle everything that is left and follow your municipal recycling guidelines to prevent your recyclables from being tossed or contaminating other recyclables.
  81. Return your wine corks to the super market for recycle.
  82. Offer your broken items up on freecycle or Craigslist to see if any handy people want them. 
These are just my ideas. Please, add your own!  Reducing waste is one of the easiest ways to go green.  Let's preserve our natural places for wildlife habitat, hiking and enjoyment - not trash. 











12 comments:

SaunieInDiego said...

Most excellent list! I am honored you chose my photo. We're all in this together.

Betsy Escandon said...

What a fantabulous list! Like a Phone Booth Flashback post on steroids. Well done. Very inspiring! The landfill near our home (Milpitas) is full FOR REALS. And it stinks all around it and everyone is talking about it. Actually it's good for awareness about why we should all be reducing our trash. It's gotta go somewhere, peeps! I need to do better on this.

Chris said...

I used styrofoam peanuts to make a wonderbox http://www.iwillprepare.com/cooking_files/Wonder_Box.htm to save electricity when cooking

Lynn Hasselberger said...

Great list! happy to say we take out recycling more than the garbage and I think waste companies should reward people or lower their bill if they reduce waste. How about we campaign for that?! LOL

J Stone said...

What a great list!
I felt proud to see things on the list that I do (I gave myself a pat on the back). But, I felt stupid to see things that I didn't think of yet, lol. Everyone need to keep doing their part and spreading the word.

Karen Lee said...

Awesome list. I've been thinking our municipalities should PAY us to recycle, kinda like getting a nickel back for returning bottles. Maybe then, people would recycle more. Just an idea.

Green Bean said...

@Saunie - Thank you for the inspiration.

@Betsy - I started out thinking that I would just list all the things I do and then I was like, hey!, what about ALLLLL the stuff we've written here over ALLLL the years!

@Chris - Interesting idea!

@Lynn - I agree! They should reward us. I keep thinking of switching to a smaller garbage can, which would save me $1 a month or something. We never fill up our garbage can but I just haven't gotten around to it.

@J Stone - Ha ha! I know what you mean. I felt that way making the list and linking to things that I used to do (and forgot) or things that others have come up with.

@Karen - Nice idea! I would assume that it costs less and creates more jobs to have recycling plants than landfills.

Tiffany said...

We have to think about the packaging in every single thing we buy. So important.

Amanda Davis said...

#71..i use cereal bags cut into strips between pancakes, waffles and banana bread slices before freezig..makes pulling them apart easier..plus they can be washed a reused a few times

Green Bean said...

@Tiffany - I agree! Packaging is key to cutting waste.

@Amanda - Okay, that is genius! Totally trying it.

Mindful Echo said...

Fantastic list! So many of these are ideas that pass through my thoughts but sometimes a reminder like this is just what I need. Thanks!

rubbishclearancewesthampstead said...

I hope more people pay attention to those ideas because, after all, we are trying to keep our planet cleaner! As you said, everyone can contribute by trying to reduce their waste and live a healthier lifestyle. Thanks for sharing those tips here!

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