Imagine if at the grocery store the person packing your purchases leaves empty, unused spaces in each bag, causing you to take 10 instead of 5 bags to your car and then home. I’d be putting in some extra time, energy, and space when it wasn’t necessary. Now transfer that thought to the waste and recycling industry. Instead of filling a garbage bag or container with large empty spaces, we can all do a few simple acts to help keep transportation costs low while reducing fossil fuel consumption and saving time and money.

Flattening boxes greatly increases the efficiency of space in a container. This not only applies to cardboard boxes, but also includes cardboard (cereal or pet food). Shredding cans before recycling is much easier if the top and bottom lids can be removed first. Aluminum products are easily flattened by hand.

Periodically crush your garbage bag to its actual size; you will see that it is not necessary to place it on the sidewalk as often. Fewer trips to the landfill mean less fossil fuel consumed and less idling on the sidewalk; Idling is known to be terribly inefficient and more polluting than moving vehicles. Garbage collection fees are more easily maintained by the company due to reduced costs per bag, and some companies even offer a discount for those who produce less waste. It is also worth noting that the household will use fewer plastic garbage bags.

Some kitchen waste disposal units tend to put unnecessary pressure on overloaded sewer plants. Instead, a much better option is to practice composting or vermiculture methods. Composting organic waste reduces household waste by approximately 30%. Go one step further by reusing multiple plastic bags to isolate smelly meat, bones, and pet waste. By controlling the odors in the trash, the bag will not have to be placed on the sidewalk as often.

So imagine if your waste and recycling were now half the size of what they used to be before. That means that, in theory, the waste collection service would lower costs by 50%, the landfill would be receiving half of what it used to receive, fewer trips to the recycling depot, less pollution …

Well, you get the idea. It’s easy to make a difference and we can all start at home. Right where we are.

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