A great way to measure how sustainably you are acting at home is to watch how much trash you generate. The best way to reduce trash is to just buy what you need and to buy it with as little packaging as possible. Try compositing – recycling at home. Learn about your local recycling programs. Find out what can get recycled and how to do it. Are there local places to drop off paper? Do you need to separate white paper from mixed paper? Which plastics are accepted? How clean do containers need to be to be recycled? Unfortunately, the answers vary by location, so we can’t provide all of the information here. But, following the local rules can make a big difference in how much actually stays out of the landfill. Keep batteries, electronics, fluorescent light bulbs, paint, oil, other toxic chemicals, and medications out of the regular trash. Stores that sell batteries and fluorescent bulbs will often take back old ones. Check with your waste disposal company or local municipality for how to dispose of items that shouldn’t go in the trash. When disposing of mattresses, furniture and appliances, check with retailers for recycling options in your area. Take special care disposing of air conditioners and refrigerators to ensure that the refrigerant is properly removed and recycled.


  • Look into your local recycling program and recycle accordingly, for papers, plastics, and larger items as well
  • When you buy packaged items, buy items in recyclable packaging
  • Dispose of batteries, electronics and other items by returning these to stores that sell them or by bringing them to e-waste sites
  • Buy goods made from recycled materials
  • Shop at resale stores
  • Resources:
    Awesome Reasons Why We Should Recycle More
    Recycling Basics
    6 Things You’re Recycling Wrong

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