June
30 - 2010

10 Ways To Save Money While Saving Waste

trash landfill photo

photo by D’Arcy Norman

The following is a guest post from Lynn Fang.

Did you know that the average American generates 4.4 pounds of trash a day? In 2008, Americans generated about 167 million tons of trash that was not recycled or composted.

As many of you probably know, waste is harmful. It stays to pollute the environment; landfills release methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Some waste services incinerate the garbage before placing it in a landfill, which releases a host of other toxins including dioxins. Dioxins are a known human carcinogen and environmental pollutant. Trash is in the oceans, stockpiled in a huge vortex in remote waters.

In light of all this, I have compiled a friendly list of 10 ways to save money while saving waste:

1. Use washcloths and rags in the kitchen instead of paper towels. 3000 tons of waste a day is generated by the use of paper towels. Don’t buy them. Stock your kitchen with a few washcloths to do all your dirty cleaning. That’s a one-time expense of maybe $5 for new towels, and they are sure to last you at least a year.

2. Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins.

3. Use real dishes rather than paper plates. This might sound obvious, but some people still cave to paper plates.

4. Purchase and use a reusable water bottle and reusable coffee thermos. Make your own coffee. The recommended eight glasses of water a day, at U.S. tap rates equals about $.49 per year; that same amount of bottled water is about $1,400. Making your own coffee for one year can save you $120. An estimated 23 billion coffee cups is expected to be wasted in 2010.

5. Make your own homemade cleaners to save plastic bottles. Blisstree has a great compilation of 25 Safe, Non-toxic, Homemade Cleaning Supplies. General household cleaning centers around the use of baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, Borax, and water. Using these few ingredients for cleaning areas in the kitchen, bathroom, washing dishes, and cleaning carpets are much cheaper than getting a specific cleaner for every part of the home. Here are some other great resources for homemade cleaner recipes:

6. Use cloth tissues rather than paper tissues. I cut my own from old t-shirts:

tissues from old T-shirts

Lynn Fang’s T-shirt tissues

7. Compost kitchen scraps and yard waste. Don’t buy fertilizer! Take that one step further and grow your own food.If you don’t have a yard, try indoor container gardening

8. Repurpose old T-shirts into cloth shopping bags. I made one following this tutorial:

repurposed bag

Lynn’s repurposed bag

9. Reuse glass food containers and drink bottles.Try these resources for repurposing your glass jars and bottles:

10. Buy from the bulk bin, and buy only what you need and know you will use. Bring your own containers {like the ones you saved in #9}.

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