Tips On Wasting Less From A Suburban Mom

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People, especially Americans, throw out a ton of garbage that isn’t… well… garbage.

The average American household actually produces approximately 18 pounds of garbage daily.

But how much of that could be disposed of in a more eco-friendly way, or not disposed of at all?



How To Waste Less

A mother of four living in a typical American suburb, Peg Rosen, recently made note of her and her family’s success in considerably cutting their waste and the lessons they learned from it in Ladies’ Home Journal.

No, I don’t read that website every day, but someone passed the article on to me and I thought some of the points in it were worth a share.


As I quickly mentioned above, Lesson #1 from Peg is “most of what’s in the garbage isn’t garbage.”

  • A lot of what people, such as Peg and her family, throw away is compostable, like pineapple tops, eggshells and coffee grounds.
  • And a lot is also just paper, which can be recycled.
  • Scrap metal (e.g. old keys or bed springs) and old — even stained — clothing are other common trashed items that can also be given to the appropriate bodies and reused.


Peg’s Lesson #2 is an important one, especially if you are feeling a little overwhelmed from the possibilities mentioned in the previous paragraph. The tip is “cutting down on garbage doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

The point of this one: do what you can, don’t give up on doing anything just because you can’t do everything.

This is an important point for all of us to remember, because who can really do everything?


While the idea of composting initially made Peg grimace, she decided eventually to try it out and found “it’s no big deal!” – Lesson #3.

Look into it if you don’t compost yet.


Lesson #4 is a common one – “convenience is everything” – but Peg had a good tip on using this point to improve paper recycling.

She put satellite recycling bins around the house and on recycling day her youngest son just goes around and collects the recycling from those. Sounds like a fun chore for a young one!


Four remaining lessons or tips from Peg include:

  • My town’s recycling rules ain’t your town’s recycling rules
  • Recycling is only one of the R’s
  • It gets easier
  • One change leads to another


It’s good, simple stuff. But cutting our waste could make a world of difference.

photo via kevindooley


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Recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert, I am the director and chief editor of Cleantechnica. I'm also the president of Important Media and the director & founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love.

2 thoughts on “Tips On Wasting Less From A Suburban Mom

  1. hey–thanks for passing on this info. Writing that story was a game changer for me and my family. To this day, we have virtually no garbage. And I’ve since moved on to purchasing “green” detergents. it’s really true that one step leads to another, you just don’t need to take it on all at once.

  2. Almost all of your trash can be recycled or reused. We have 3 adults and 3 children in our household and we only use 2 kitchen garbage bags of trash each week. All cans and boxes can be recycled as well as most plastic packaging. Any fruit or veggie scraps, as well as egg shells, coffee grounds, etc can be composted (or put down your garbage disposal). All of the paper labels from your canned goods, as well as junk mail, old magazines, and newspapers can be recycled as well. It’s just a matter of finding out how to do it in your area, whether you can get curbside pick up or if you have to drop it off somewhere.

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