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How to Live More Waste Free

Living a waste-free lifestyle doesn't happen overnight. However, small changes can add up and help you and your family produce less trash that will end up in landfills. Here are 10 ways to cut down on the amount of trash you generate.

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paper towelAfrica Studio/Shutterstock

Cut Down on Disposables

Think about all the disposable items you use daily and discover how to reduce that number. Replace paper towels with reusable rags, use non-disposable dinnerware, bring your own shopping bags to the store and pack sandwiches and snacks in reusable containers or reusable sandwich bags. If you have lots of plastic grocery bags hanging around the house, check out these 15 brilliant ways to reuse them!

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leftoversmaroke/Shutterstock

Learn to Love Leftovers

Food waste in the United States is estimated at 30 to 40 percent of the food supply, which was about 133 billion pounds of food in 2010, according to the USDA. Make a commitment to safely using leftovers in other dishes, such as lunch the next day to cut down on food waste. You can use some kitchen waste to help improve your garden soil.

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buy in bulkBlue Lemon Photo/Shutterstock

Buy in Bulk

Stop buying food in individual packages whenever possible. Bring Mason jars to the grocery store to buy bulk spices. Also, buy items such as cereal, dry beans and meat, if possible. If you need more kitchen storage space for all of those bulk items, consider these 12 clever kitchen storage hacks.

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cold lunchProstock-studio/Shutterstock

Bring Your Lunch

Instead of going out for lunch, bring your own. This will not only help you use up those leftovers, but it will cut down on your use of to-go packaging such as Styrofoam and plastic utensils. Did you know many takeout containers aren’t recyclable?

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thrift store clothes shoppingSpeedKingz/Shutterstock

Shop at Thrift Stores

You can help cut down on global emissions by purchasing clothing and other items at second-hand stores. You’ll not only reduce emissions caused by shipping, but help keep things that are still in good condition out of landfills. Here are 10 things you should never buy at the thrift store.

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disposable bottlesmonticello/Shutterstock

Recycle

Recycle everything you can, including unbroken glass, paper and cardboard, some plastics and aluminum cans. Not sure how to get started with recycling? Create recycle bin hangers for your garage. Plus: These are the things your garbage collector really wants you to know.

Here are 11 things you didn’t know about recycling.

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tabletDevrim PINAR/Shutterstock

Go Paperless

The average office worker uses 2 pounds of paper and paperboard products per day, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Learn how to go digital. Take notes on your laptop and use e-mail instead of paper. Shredding paper is among these 12 ways to downsize your home.

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cleaning suppliesGeo-grafika/Shutterstock

Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies

White vinegar, baking soda and lemon are all-natural cleaning products. Learn how to make your own cleaning solutions to clean the bathroom, kitchen and even carpet and furniture. Not only will you help the environment by using natural cleaning products, you’ll cut down on packaging. Learn how to make homemade cleaner.

These store-bought cleaning products cause more harm than good.

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Use Reusable Personal Products

By using an electric razor, you’ll save disposable razors from ending up in the trash and save money in the long run. You can also buy toothbrushes with handles made of bamboo instead of plastic. The bamboo handles are biodegradable. Things you should never flush down your toilet.

Rachel Brougham
Writer and editor with a background in news writing, editorial and column writing and content marketing.