• Carol Jin

Let’s Talk Trash: 4 Ways to Reduce the Volume of Garbage You Throw Away


Every evening before the garbage truck’s weekly pickup, my street is lined with gray bins that are filled to the brim with heaping bags of garbage. The humdrum routine of leaving these loaded trash bins out one day and bringing emptied bins back the next day makes it easy for us to forget that the trash we produce goes to landfills that have limited capacities. Landfills must continuously expand to hold the unending flow of garbage that consumers generate, taking up valuable space that can’t be easily restored or repurposed. If you are interested in reducing your personal waste output, here are 4 simple and manageable ways to do that!

  • Quick Fixes Are Preferred Over Quick Tosses

Before you toss out damaged items such as clothing or household appliances, please consider the possibility of mending/fixing these products first. If you can’t personally patch up that hole in your jeans or fix your broken toaster, then exploring nearby tailors or repair stores will conserve some landfill space on top of supporting your local businesses!

  • Donate or Sell Second-hand Whenever Possible

Like the old adage says, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. Donating or selling second-hand items also diverts unneeded clothes, plants, furniture, etc. from ending up in landfills. Not to mention how this sustainable practice is almost always a helpful transaction for both the seller/donor and the buyer/recipient. It’s a win for everybody!

  • Opt for Reusable Items

Grabbing a styrofoam cup to hold your morning coffee at work may be quick and convenient, but it typically ends up in the trash after less than an hour of use. This short lifespan makes the energy/resources spent towards making that cup, as well as many other single-use products, unsustainable. If your circumstances allow, investing in reusable alternatives to daily items such as bottles/tumblers (if the water that you have access to is safe enough to drink), coffee filters, towels (washable cloth towels instead of paper towels), or grocery bags can drastically cut down the volume of trash that you produce!

  • Try Making More Homemade Food

Disclaimer: This tip is definitely one of the more high-end suggestions. It may only be helpful for people who have the leisure to cook at home. For those of you who are able to, and would like to train your inner chef in the kitchen, try this tip out!

Foods like yogurt and granola bars are wrapped in individual plastic packaging that accumulate to hefty volumes of waste over time (not to mention the full-blown premade meals that are stored in cardboard/plastic wrap). At the cost of some time and convenience, many of these foods can actually be made right from home, saving you countless plastic wrappers and cardboard containers. There are plenty of recipes for homemade foods online, from light snacks to decadent dishes for your next feast, so have fun expanding your personal cookbook!

Thank you for reading! With our help, the world can make a U-Turn for the better.


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