The average American produces 4.3 pounds of garbage a day, and the majority of it ends up in one of the country’s 3,500 landfills, according to Duke University researchers.
My family? We produce just one quart-size jar’s worth of landfill-ready waste every year.
A few years ago, concerned about the environment our kids will inherit, my husband and I decided to change our consumption habits and gradually adopted what we came to call a Zero Waste lifestyle. Zero Waste aims to eliminate solid waste, but in our home, we noticed that it offered other unexpected improvements: notable health benefits, considerable financial savings (40 percent overall!), and more time than we’d ever had before to enjoy our lives!
MORE WAYS YOU CAN: Shrink Your Waste
The zero in “zero waste” makes it sound scary and difficult to achieve. But it’s actually not as hard as it seems. As I lay it out in my book Zero Waste Home, it is as simple as following these five R’s, in order.
- Refuse what you do not need.
- Reduce what you do need.
- Reuse by buying secondhand and swapping disposables for reusable alternatives.
- Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse.
- Rot the rest—with compost.
Here are 10 clutter-busting tips to get your started!