Every year Americans are generating some 246 million tons of municipal solid waste, so how do you turn all that trash into some serious savings?
If you guess going green was going to be somewhere in the answer, don't roll your eyes and throw up your hands.
There's more to it than that.
1. Cut Out Trash Bag Purchases. Even as the reusable shopping bag market blossoms, there are still dozens of paper and plastic bags that make their way into your house every month.
Already using them in your small waste bins? Here's how to move them into the larger baskets too: Line your garbage can with one large bag, then slip the smaller bag inside. Whatever slips out of the small bag will fall into the larger lining rather than dirtying up your can, but you'll use less of the big bags in the long run.
Smelly garbage such as raw meat packaging or empty milk cartons (the non-recyclable kind) can also be slipped into one of these small bags and taken immediately out to your curbside can -- extending the life of the bigger bags.
2. Recycle. Sounds simple, but have you checked with your hauler to find out how much they accept lately? The number of recyclable items has increased substantially in recent years -- to the point where I have effectively halved my garbage. That means we were able to call the hauler and cut our bill in half too.
Check the law while you're at it -- some haulers are required to pick up recyclables for free in order to meet their permit regulations as a sanitation company.
3. Sell Your Trash. Municipalities sell your recyclables, so why can't you? If you're in a reverse vending state, cash in your bottles and cans for their deposit. Save up your scrap metal and take it out to a scrap yard. Put stuff on eBay or Craiglist. Hold a yard sale. Try Freecycle to get it out of your house. Just keep it out of the trash.
4. Compost and Use Your Garbage Disposal. Like standard recycling, this reduces the amount of trash in your can each week -- enabling you to ask your hauler for a cheaper rate.
How high is your trash bill?
Image via Editor B/Flickr