This is a simple and quick guide with ideas for how you might reduce your landfill waste footprint.
What we’ve done is found the types of wastes most commonly found in landfill, and put forward ideas with how you might reduce that type of waste at the consumer level.
Firstly, Which Types Of Waste Are Most Commonly Found In Landfills?
What we see in municipal waste and landfill sites, is that food waste and other organic waste like yard trimmings can make up a large % of waste, whilst plastics, paper and paperboard, metals and textiles can be some of the others.
What you can do for yourself, is conduct a trash audit to see what waste makes up the largest % of your overall waste footprint, and plan around that.
Industrial and commercial waste is outside of the scope of the following suggestions to cut down on landfill waste, but construction and demolition and mining waste might be two places to start for that.
Secondly, How Might The Most Prominent Types Of Waste Be Reduced Before They Get To Landfills?
Some of the easiest ways to reduce some of the above wastes might be:
A very easy one to reduce
Simply – plan out what you require to eat for the week, and only buy enough food that you need. Don’t buy snacks or junk food when you’re out – or you’ll likely end up throwing out food at home
Fresh food like vegetables and fruits is more likely to spoil when left uncooked or not frozen – so make sure you eat it first, or cook/store it accordingly
For families – identify the ways in which kids/children might waste food, and take steps to minimise these ways as much as reasonably possible. Family life can obviously mean you don’t have as much time – so make sure you plan out shopping in advance, and visit the shop say once a week instead of having to impulse purchase. Setting expectations with children on their diet and allowed foods can be important
When you eat out at restaurants – always make sure you order only what you’ll eat, and if you have leftovers, ask for a recyclable cardboard container to take it home to eat the next day
Single use, highly disposable plastics are the big offender
Plastic bags, food wrappers, straws, food containers, plastic bottles, plastic lids – all contribute heavily to plastic waste
Bring your own bags shopping, buy fresh non wrapped food as much as possible, get drinks without a straw, use re-usuable/washable food containers, and use re-usuable bottles for drinks that you can wash
Paper and Paperboard
A big way to cut down on paper waste is to do as much electronically as you can – bills, registrations, subscriptions etc. – try to set them all up electronically instead of having post mail
Unsubscribe from junk paper mail
Think about where other paper alternatives can be used for other applications
Ask yourself if you can be recycling these metals instead? Metals are usually one of the most valuable recyclable materials
Ask yourself if you can put yard trimmings into a compost, or use them as organic matter for your soil. Otherwise, does your city have a compost you can send them to instead of landfill?
Buy higher quality clothes and fashion items that are going to last years, and buy less often
Buy secondhand if you can
Recycle fabrics and textiles where possible