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HOW TO: Reduce the Trash You Bring In and Put Out

September 17, 2010
Pile of trash 3

Image: Wikipedia

I wanted to share two changes that we have made at home that have dramatically improved our diet.

1. We started shopping at the farmer’s market.

2. We started composting.

I started doing both of these things to reduce the amount of trash – literally bags of garbage – that we generate. We are a 2 adult household and we were throwing out 8 or more full kitchen trashbags each week.

Now we are throwing out TWO.

So we really reduced the amount of trash we are sending to the landfill, but these changes also had a profound effect on the amount of trash we are putting in our bodies.

  • The market doesn’t sell processed foods. So, besides saving all the packaging that my food used to come in, we’re not eating processed foods. That’s a pretty huge change right there.
  • Just having a compost heap makes me very sensitive to what we buy and bring home. I have literally begun to avoid purchasing things that can’t be composted. It’s hard to compost Doritos bags.

So even though I made these changes with the environment in mind, the health benefits have been pretty dramatic.

Also, our grocery bills are down 75%. The food at the market is more expensive than at the grocery but we are only buying what we eat, and the market doesn’t sell a bunch of crap that I don’t need.

I’m really shocked (and pleased) at the effect these changes had on our lifestyle. I wish I had done this years ago.

Do your environmental concerns have any effect on the way you eat? Do you shop at farmer’s markets or buy from a co-op? Have you tried composting your food and paper waste? Do you have any tips for me on how to further reduce our garbage output or care for our compost?

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