How We’re Tackling and Reducing Waste Around the House

As we simplify things at home, one area that we're constantly going back to is our trash and recycling habits.

We've seen improvements with reducing our trash. We have service every week, but I'd say we only fill up our garbage bin about every two weeks.

Our recycling bins, though, well they're usually packed. While we're happy about that being the majority of what we toss, a recent episode of 99% Invisible reminded me, recycling has kind of taken the spotlight with waste management while reduce and reuse have been pushed off to the side.

So for 2019, we'll step up our game and see if we can knock done the amout of waste we throw out in the first place.

If you're in the same boat and want to become a more green family, I'll share what we're doing now along with some ideas we're going to try out.

Reducing Food Waste

Sarah from Smile and Conquer has laid out some fantastic ways she's tackling her food waste.

Two big components of her master plan include meal planning and composting, both we employ here around the house.

They're very effective to cut back on waste and with saving you money.

Composting Kitchen Scraps

Composting is pretty straightforward for us. We have a pail underneath the kitchen sink where we put our kitchen scraps and any veggies or fruits that have gone bad.

Every few days we head outside to add it to our compost piles in the backyard.

We use two tucked away behind some trees and the kitchen scraps one takes about breaks down fairly quickly about 6 months.

They each hold about 200 gallons (around 12 lbs per gallon) so if we had to buy the equivalent amount of compost from the store, we'd have to pay $720 (basing on a 40lb bag being $24) to cover one bin.

So yeah, doing so good for the earth also means we get to save quite a bit of money!

Better Meal Planning

We don't lay out a menu per se with each meal listed, but rather we design our meals that week based on what we already have and what tasty ingredients are in season (aka on sale).

You'd be suprised at how easy it is to throw together delicious meals that are cheap.

One our go-to one are tacos. You can mix and match any protein (we like pork), some crunchy greens, along with veggies.

Knowing that, we have a stash of tortillas in our pantry so we can make some for those busy night when eating out or delivery is a temptation.

Better meal planning (and upgrading our cooking skills) has helped us to reduce waste and saved us some cash.

Even by cutting back on eating out once a week, we're able to save around $120 (estimating that a dash for take out is around $30 for our family of four).

Being Wiser with Our Purchases

With trying to be more responsible around our home is also being careful before we brings into it.

This means when we're purchasing we're giving some attention to how either:

  • how easy packaging and the item can break down and be recycled
  • how durable it is
  • how well it can be used for more than one thing

An example of this thought process is with our kitchen wares and utensils.

We have been cooking more at home over the last few years and so we've bought stuff, both for and serving.

Cast iron pan is still our absolute best buy by far. (Can't tell you how many meals we've made with that!)

Thoughts on Reducing Waste In and Around the House

As you can see it's a work in progress for us. We're trying to be wiser with that we have and smarter with our purchases.

So there's my take on things, I'd love to get yours – how do you handle waste around your home? what steps have you taken to reduce and reuse?

Sign up for weekly newsletter full of tips, stories, and more to help your family become financially free

Get the best of Simplify & Enjoy in your inbox!

2 comments add your comment

  1. I love reading articles on reducing waste or anything related to sustainability and ethical living. Your household is doing a great job.

    In answer to.your question, I also reduce waste by meal planning but in a slightly different way. At the best of times, I don’t enjoy(I find it boring and overwhelming) cooking despite being an amazing cook – my daughters say so?. So, I tend to only make 2 meals at one time. I’ll freeze part of both meals. I’ll do another meal plan the following day. That’s a total of 4 meals in the freezer.

    The best way I meal plan is to get my teen daughters to help out….cooking becomes fun for me?.

    I also sell unwanted items on depop. I keep old boxes from things I’ve bought. I reuse the boxes when I mail things like shoes to customers.

    I do a lot of reusing of glass jars and bottles to store dried herbs and spices. I love anything made of glass. It doesn’t retain smells so much.

    Oh, I only put my bins out for collection once every 3 weeks. The bins have to be full, especially where I have to use bin bags. The cost of bin bags add up. I see no point in putting out half empty bins.

    I think I’ll stop here as there are so many others like grocery shopping once every month – the fridge and cupboards have to be bare before I shop again.

    • Thank you so much for sharing what you’re doing – love these ideas!

      We have two little ones at home who are interested in helping out with cooking, so we’re taking advantage of that while we can lol.

      I also like to batch some meal prep when I’m in the mood. Love how you stock up 4 meals at a time. Always nice to have a buffer meal ready to use for those busy nights!