Did you know that each person in the U.S. produces approximately 4.4 pounds of trash on a daily basis? It is time to reduce waste, and after you read the statistics below, you will understand why. 

Consider the number of people in your home, then multiply that number by 4.4. That is how much waste your household is generating every single day. To put that in perspective, a family with five people will create 22 pounds of trash each day. That is not all. Environmental specialists calculate that for every pound of trash created by the consumer, it took seven pounds of garbage created by the manufacturer during the production process. So, for a family of five, that is 154 pounds of garbage.

If these numbers overwhelm you, there are things that you can start doing differently to reduce waste generated by your family. Small, daily changes will add up to large benefits over the year.  Here are some easy suggestions on how you can reduce waste and recycle more.

Tips on How to Reduce Waste

Identify the Recyclables In Your Home  

Common examples of household things that you can keep out of the landfill are paper products, soda cans, and plastic bottles. Sometimes it’s not easy to recognize recyclable products unless you pay more attention to them. The following types of items can also be recycled instead of thrown out into the garbage can:

Junk Mail

It’s almost an instinct to toss your junk mail right into the trash can as soon as you take it out of your mailbox. However, instead of aiming for the trash can, it’s just as easy to toss it into a receptacle for recycled paper goods.

Disposable Cups

If they’re made of paper, you can toss them with the other recyclable paper goods. Before you do that, however, do remember to rinse the cups and let them air dry so your paper recycle bin won’t get soggy with leftover beverage. If the cups are made from plastic, toss them with the plastic bottles. 

recycle junk mail

CFL Light Bulbs

Light bulbs made for compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) are made with a tiny amount of mercury. Because of this, these bulbs require special recycling protocols. These should not go into your regular recycling bins at home. Instead, take them to places that accept used CFL bulbs. IKEA and Home Depot are two such places that offer CFL bulb recycling. They know how to safely handle these special recyclables.

Ink Cartridges From Your Printer

You should never just throw away a used printer cartridge into the trash can. These require special handling. Stores that sell business supplies, such as Staples and Best Buy, usually have some kind of recycling program for printer cartridges. Some even offer you a discount on a new cartridge if you return the old one to them. 


Batteries contain toxic chemicals that pollute the environment. If these end up in the landfill, the batteries will break down over time, and the hazardous chemicals will be released. You should take your old batteries to places that know how to recycle them properly. Many establishments have some sort of recycling program for batteries. Two common places that sometimes hold special events to collect old batteries for recyclers are your local post office and the library.

Tips for Reducing Waste and Household Consumption

It is great that you now know different ways to recycle and how to recycle more. You can take it a step further by cutting down on the amount that cannot be recycled, which must be disposed of in the trash. The easiest way to reduce that is by simply not buying as much. When you don’t buy as much, you don’t consume as much.

In Bea Johnson’s popular book, Zero Waste Home, she described the “5Rs” that can lead to zero-waste living. Here are the 5Rs in their proper order:

how to recycle and reuse


Did you ever pick up a bunch of freebies from a convention, only to toss them aside after you get home? You really didn’t need all of those free pens, yet you picked them up anyway. What you could have done is to refuse to take them simply because you don’t need them.


When you don’t own much, you have less to upkeep, fix, store, and throw away. Having less means adopting a simpler way of life. You don’t need to possess so many things. Consider letting go of items that you really have no use for so that others who might need them can have a chance to get them.


You might already be practicing the “reuse” concept when you take a reusable shopping bag to the supermarket. However, there are many other “one-use” things in your life that have counterparts which are more sustainable. Whenever you can, always choose reusable items over one-use items.


If you have something that cannot pass the first three tests, then it must be recyclable. 


“Rot” is meant for food waste and things that you can compost. When something rots, it decomposes, and the basic elements leftover get reabsorbed into the ground and fertilize the land.

Reduce Waste in Each Room Of Your Home

Reduce Waste From the Kitchen

The kitchen generates a huge amount of waste. Think about the packaging of ingredients and any food that is not eaten. These are two big contributors to kitchen waste. Shopping for groceries can add to that if you always end up with a pile of disposable shopping bags. Consider these suggestions in cutting down kitchen waste:

  • Make a receptacle for your kitchen counter that you can use to compost scraps of food.
  • Take along reusable shopping bags to the market. Refuse disposable ones.
  • Avoid single-serving food packaging. If it’s something that your family regularly eats, buy in larger sizes or in bulk.
  • Avoid the use of disposable eating utensils. Restaurant take-outs usually include plastic dinnerware. Refuse to accept these, and use your real silverware and plates at home.
  • Rather than wrap up leftovers in tin foil or plastic wrap, wrap it in a beeswax wrap. They are simple to make if you follow a DIY recipe.
zero waste home

Reduce Waste From The Bathroom

If you look around in your bathroom, you will see many items that are disposable. The bathroom is a major contributor to household waste. Here are some ideas on how to reduce it:

  • Avoid soaps that are wrapped; look for ones in sustainable containers.
  • Switch from a disposable razor to one that is double-edged.
  • Don’t get toothbrushes with plastic handles. Look for toothbrushes with a bamboo handle which can be composted. The toothbrush bristles can be recycled if your city’s recycling guidelines allow it.

Reduce Waste From Your Bedroom Closet

You may not see it that way, but the clothes in your bedroom contribute to your household waste. Each year, each person in the U.S. throws away about 81 pounds of apparel items. 

That comes out to be about 26 billion pounds of clothing waste added to the landfill by the whole country every year. If you donate your clothes, some clothing items might be in such poor shape that it cannot be reused. These will end up in the garbage. There are organizations that will accept clothes in poor condition and create another purpose for it. SMART is one such organization. They will transform poor quality clothing into something useful like cleaning rags. 

donating clothes to reduce waste

Use Your Backyard For Eco-friendly Purposes

Use your backyard to practice the conservation of nature. You can conserve water by putting a rainwater barrel in your backyard. This rainwater can be used to water your garden. This cuts down on your reliance on your sprinklers. You can modify your sprinkler system by installing a controller that detects the level of rainwater so you won’t use the sprinkler when you get enough water from the barrel.

You can use part of your backyard for composting. Any yard debris like twigs, leaves, and clippings can be tossed into the compost pile and turned into rich compost that can feed your plants with nutrients.

Reduce Waste and Recycle More In Your Office at Home

You probably use and store a lot of paperwork in your home office. In the course of your work, you probably also generate a lot of paper waste. Here are some tips on how to reduce trash in your home office:

  • Use recycled paper products
  • Recycle or compost any paper shredding
  • Only print when you absolutely need a paper copy. Otherwise, save a digital copy and forgo printing.
  • Use pens that are long-lasting or refillable. Don’t accumulate low-quality pens.
reduce waste in office

Final Thoughts on How to Reduce Waste

It might seem like a big challenge to attain zero-waste status in your household. However, if you start now and do a little at a time regularly, you can achieve that goal before you know it. KC Dumpster is here to help. For your next house project or home renovation, make sure you have the proper rental dumpster to help you reduce waste as much as possible. Our dumpster rental company has a commitment to excellence, and we provide you with quality dumpster rentals at the right time in the right place for the right price. Learn more about KC Dumpster here, and start your journey to reducing waste today!