More than one million tons of trash are created in Hennepin County every year. From junk mail to excess paint to food scraps – it takes a lot of time and money to deal with all of the garbage.
By purchasing items that are overly packaged, disposable or of poor quality, your cash can soon end up as trash. Taking steps to reduce waste at home and when we shop is good for the environment and cost-effective.
Here are some steps you can take to reduce waste:
Every year each person gets an estimated 39 pounds worth of third class mail. See the Hold the Mail brochure (also available in Spanish) to find ways to get off junk mail lists to reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive. Add privacy statements to anything asking for your contact information. Opt out of receiving phonebooks at Don't Trash the Phonebook.
You can compost your fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds and egg shells in a backyard compost bin.
If you don't want to maintain a back yard bin, take your organics to the Brooklyn Park drop-off facility.
Have a latte every day? Bring a reusable mug with you to the coffee shop. Buy water every day? Use a refillable bottle.
At the grocery store, buy in bulk and bring bags or containers to fill. Choose products with the least packaging over individually wrapped items. You’ll save money, too.
See the Too Much Packaging is a Waste factsheet for more information.
Before you run to the store to buy a new item, think about how much you will use it. Could you borrow one from a friend or neighbor, rent it at a local store or purchase it used?
Well-designed and constructed products that are repairable will last longer and usually save you money, even if they cost more initially.
Donate reusable items to a local thrift store.
Check the Choose to Reuse Directory for options.
Avoid over-packaged, resource consuming gifts that will need batteries or electricity. Consider making a gift, sharing an experience, providing a service or giving an environmentally friendly product.
From Thanksgiving to New Years, household waste increases 25 percent. The additional food waste, packaging, wrapping paper and decorations adds up to one million tons of of garbage a week nationwide.
See the Greening Your Celebrations brochure for tips on reducing waste and making every holiday celebration and party more earth-friendly.
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