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At Home and in the Garden
The best place to start making a difference is right in your own home. Learn how you can reduce, reuse, and recycle materials to decrease household waste! Tips below will help you get started.
Lawn and Garden
- Feed your soil with compost; make compost at home, or buy it in bags or bulk. Compost helps sandy soils hold nutrients and water, loosens clay soils, and feeds the organisms that are beneficial to soil.
- Mow higher and leave the clippings. Modern mulching lawn mowers make "grasscycling" even easier. Homeowners can reduce their mowing time by 30 to 40 percent by not having to bag clippings.
- Choose the right plant for the right place. Select plants that grow well in your area of the country and fit the amount of sun, type of soil and water available in your yard.
- Give plants a good start. Prepare the soil by mixing one to three inches of compost into soil in planting beds.
- Water deeply, but infrequently. Most plants do best if the soil is allowed to partially dry out between waterings.
- Reduce food waste by using up the food you already bought and have in the house instead of buying more. You already paid for it - so use it!
- Non-perishable and unspoiled perishable food can be donated to local food banks, soup kitchens, pantries, and shelters.
- Reuse items around the house such as rags and wipes, empty jars and mugs, party decorations, and gift wrap.
- Buy products in concentrate, bulk, and in refillable containers. They reduce packaging waste and can save you money!
- Return used car tires to retailers or wholesalers that recycle or retread them. Tires are banned from most landfills, and illegally dumped tires become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and other pests.
- When buying products, check the labels to determine an item's recyclability and whether it is made from recycled materials. Buying recycled encourages manufacturers to make more recycled-content products available.
Household Hazardous Waste (HHW)
- Properly store any unused paint for future use, donate unused paint to neighbors or charities, or turn in your used paint to a waste collection facility for recycling.
- Buy products that contain minimal amounts, or no, hazardous ingredients. Use alternative methods or products - without hazardous ingredients - for common household needs, such as making a household cleaning solution from 1 cup of warm water, 3 drops of vegetable-based liquid soap, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, and 1 tablespoon of white vinegar.
- Products that contain hazardous ingredients should be used and stored properly to prevent accidents in the home. Never store hazardous products in food containers; keep them in their original containers and never remove labels. Corroding containers may require special handling. Call your local hazardous materials official or fire department for instructions.
- Recycle or safely dispose of your HHW.