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Ways to reduce household trash

Homeowners may feel like they're always taking out the trash. Active families tend to generate a lot of garbage, and it's not uncommon to find the kitchen trash pail overflowing each day. 

A report from SaveOnEnergy found that garbage production numbers are staggering.The average American produces 4.4 pounds of trash each day. That means the average family of four can generate 17.6 pounds of trash a day. Every year, Americans produce 254 million tons of trash. The Conference Board of Canada found Canadians produce more garbage per capita than any other country.
Thanks to modern sanitation systems, which remove garbage in a timely manner, it's difficult to get a good handle on just how much trash families generate. But one look at the statistics - and the size of landfills - clearly illustrates that garbage is a concern. Thankfully, there are ways to cut down on personal waste.

• Recycle as much as you can. Post a list of all items that can be recycled where you live. Make sure to separate these items from the regular trash. Seek out facilities that will recycle items that are not collected in curbside pickup.

• Avoid buying disposable products. Reusing items over and over saves money and resources. Many disposable products are packaged in plastic, which may be produced with toxic substances that can leach into the environment.

• Use old rags for cleaning. When scouring the house, opt for old rags made from towels and T-shirts that are past their prime. These rags can be washed and reused again and again.

• Mend broken items if possible. Before tossing something into the trash, figure out if it can be repaired. A simple fix may breathe a few more years of utility into the product.

• Cook only what you can eat. The UN Environmental Program estimates that one-third of the food produced for human consumption across the globe is wasted. Store and use leftovers efficiently. Stick to portion sizes when cooking, and find uses for foods (farms may take food scraps for pigs) before tossing them in the trash.

• Compost usable items. Another way to repurpose certain food items is to turn them into fertilizer. Egg shells, fruit rinds, coffee grounds, and more can be placed in a compost heap instead of the garbage.

• Donate used items. Books, magazines, toys, clothing, household items - all of these things can be donated or traded.

• Use reusable tote bags when shopping. Keep plastic shopping bags out of landfills by recycling them or bringing along your own cloth bags to the stores.

• Stop junk mail. Contact companies to remove your name from lists of junk mail. Invest in a shredder and turn junk mail into packing materials or bedding for pet cages.

Reducing trash generated at home can greatly benefit the environment.

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