In one year, Americans generate about 251 million tons of garbage. This translates to 4.6 pounds of waste per person, per day. And 65% of this trash comes from residential homes, just like yours. Most of us want to reduce our footprint somehow. Although there are numerous costly eco-options, such as buying a brand-new fuel-efficient car or installing solar cells on your roof, there are many other simple and creative ways you can do your part inside your home:
- Insert Boot Shapers– Keep your boot legs from losing their shape by using the cardboard tube of a wrapping paper roll to prop them up while they’re not being worn. Place the cardboard tube vertically inside your boot, with the bottom of the roll pushing against the heel of the boot and the top of the roll leaning against the upper part of your boot-leg. Cut the cardboard tube to the size of boot leg. Viola, you just created your own boot shaper!
Free Craft Day- Instead of tossing the ends of your toilet paper rolls, the cardboard backing on sticky notes, or your plastic cups & utensils after a barbeque, get creative! Keep a shoebox filled with these knickknacks and have a crafts day with the kids. Encourage them to make the most creative things they can think of out of the “tools” in their box. Invite the neighbors over and make it a tradition to turn trash into treasure.
Recycled Office Paper- Use a wall file to hold pages that have been printed incorrectly or documents you no longer need. Leave a cup of markers nearby so you and your family can use this as scrap paper for doodling or notes.
Instant Storage Egg Cartons- To create a unique storage solution, cut the top off an egg carton, paint or decorate as you please and organize, organize, organize! If you’re feeling really ambitious, color-code the carton by painting each egg-holder a different color according to what you’re going to store in it. You can organize your jewelry, such as a necklace (one in each holder) or keep hair-accessories neatly sorted by type (hair ties, pins, clips). Need more storage ideas? Place your egg cartons in the garage or shed to keep nails, washers, and other small items sorted. Egg cartons also work well to store and organize your golf balls. Sort your golf balls by brand and quality or age.
Gift Wrap Saver- To avoid having to throw away wrinkled gift wrap each year, try putting an old sock over the two ends of the roll. This will hold the wrapping paper in place, keeping it from getting ruined. Plus, you won’t have to throw away that holey sock!
Citrus Peels- Don’t toss the peel! Running the sink garbage disposal with lemon, orange, lime, or grapefruit peels inside is an all natural way of keeping it smelling fresh.
Reusing Plastic Containers- Many people are decreasing their use of plastic food storage containers due to concerns about BPA and other materials that may be harmful. If you are turning to Pyrex and ceramic dishes, consider re-using your old plastic containers in other ways. Mount them on a peg board or wall in the garage to keep screws and nails organized, or use them to keep all your craft and hobbies sorted.
Try some of these tips out and reduce the 65% of waste that comes out of your home. Do you have any other creative ways that you reduce, re-purpose, and recycle at home? Let us know in the comments below.
1 According to National Geographic and the Environmental Protection Agency in 2006, the latest year that such data was gathered.