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Tuesday, 16 July 2019
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This Old House - Do-it-Yourself

The Values of a Low-Waste Home

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 18 July 2018 10:04
The Values of a Low-Waste Home Comitato Aurora

America’s per capita trash disposal rate is currently 4.6 pounds per day! What’s more, around 75% of that daily trash is recyclable and/or compostable.

This means that over three-quarters of landfill waste shouldn’t be there. Given the fact that landfills are largely responsible for the severity of today’s soil pollution, this could not be more disheartening.

The good news in these numbers lies in the fact that waste-consciousness can and should begin at home. As a homeowner or renter, you have control over the waste your household produces and where it goes.

There are many values to zero-waste or low-waste homes. Here is a glimpse of what simple waste reduction in your household can do.

Low-Waste is Low-Cost

Many people maintain that zero- or low-waste lifestyles are costly. Low-waste homes, they argue, require greater reliance on organic waste-free alternatives, many of which can be more expensive than wasteful products.

They also say that waste consciousness requires simply too much effort.

These arguments may be valid from some perspectives. But waste reduction in the home can actually be more generous to your wallet (and your schedule) than you may realize.

Think about the statistic I mentioned earlier: 75% of daily trash is recyclable and/or compostable. This technically means that recycling habits can enable homeowners to toss out 75% less of their usual trash—which means fewer trash bags, trips to the landfill, and maybe even a cancellation of your weekly trash collection.

Low-waste products such as biodegradable, plastic-free laundry detergent can also last you longer than wasteful alternatives. Low-waste eating habits, besides eliminating trash bag dependency, can also mean buying more bulk and package-free ingredients, many of which are cost-effective.

Give Back to the Earth

Many homeowners opt to use garbage disposals to churn up food waste.

However, garbage disposals can do more harm than good: they eat up energy, sending your annual energy bills soaring, and they can have a negative environmental impact three times that of dumping food waste into the landfill.

Other homeowners simply toss their food scraps, assuming that these will biodegrade in landfills. Binned food waste, however, is equivalent to generic waste. Scraps compressed by plastic don’t have access to the oxygen required for effective decomposition. As such, landfill scraps biodegrade far slower and release copious amounts of methane gas, a leading figure in harmful greenhouse gases.

Low-waste homes reduce landfill dependency and are far less likely to contribute to global warming and climate change. Turning food scraps into compost can ensure that cooking waste goes back to the earth, where it can naturally biodegrade and enrich soils.

Many cities have curbside composting services. Otherwise, consider starting a compost system at home. It’s even easier than taking out the trash.

Eat Healthier

Waste consciousness in the home means being mindful of what you bring through your front door. In fact, low-waste grocery shopping often means bringing home healthier food items.

Think about it. Many processed foods are packaged in non-recyclable or plastic containers. Non-organic produce—prey to pesticides and other harmful chemicals—may come wrapped in plastic wrap or covered in those annoying, wasteful stickers.

A low-waste kitchen will consequently depend more on organic, package-less produce, fewer meats, and less processed food items. There’s no better way to meet your goal of eating healthy this 2018 (and help the earth while you’re at it).

A low-waste lifestyle may also compel families to rely less on takeout items, which can generate heaps of non-recyclable Styrofoam, single-use plasticware, and smelly food scraps. Eating out less also means a more comfortable family budget and healthier family diet—"kids eat free” restaurants and fast food joints frequently offer less healthy menu items.

Reduce Energy Dependency

Garbage disposals are energy sucks in the home. Landfill trash requires a significant carbon footprint—either yours or others’—to collect and transport. Even certain appliances have higher usage depending on waste habits.

Reduce your energy dependency in your home by opting for a low-waste lifestyle. As such, lower your annual energy bills and put that money towards something you truly care about, such as home improvement, healthier food choices, and summer vacations.

Live With Low Toxicity

Fewer processed foods, chemical-free cleaning products, and low energy dependency—all of these qualities of a low-waste home also promote a low-toxicity home. Toxic chemicals have no place in the home, particularly if infants or young children are present.

Chemicals in the home have also been linked to life-threatening accidents, long-term health problems, and autism. Natural and/or organic substances in the home can function much like an insurance policy for your entire household’s well-being.

Are you ready to take charge of your household waste? Begin today by recycling everything that can be recycled and starting your own compost system. The earth, your wallet, and your body will thank you.  

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Kate King

Kate King is a freelance writer, editor, and blogger. 

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