Green Tips: Creating Less Trash

Green Tips | June 29, 2018

The average New Yorker creates 16.5 tons of trash per year. Although Americans are recycling now more than ever, it is crucial we take steps to create less trash and prevent landfills from continuing to grow in size and number. Here are some steps we can take to cut down on our trash and help our environment.

  1. Bring Your Own Bag: According to the Center of Biological Diversity, Americans use 100 billion plastic bags per year. Plastic bags add to our landfills and harm and pollute our oceans.  Local governments spend millions to clean up plastic bags that get stuck in trees and storm sewers. Manufacturing disposable bags uses petroleum and other fossil fuels and creates harmful waste products. Bringing your own reusable bags while you do your shopping helps to prevent all these negative environmental and economic effects.
  2. Reuse Containers: Give your take-out container a second (or third and fourth) life by washing and using it for future food storage. This could also help reduce the need for aluminum foil and plastic wrap in your kitchen. For more information on the harmful effects of food packaging, click here.
  3. Composting: Food waste makes up about 1/3 of what New Yorkers throw away, but thankfully composting is an easy way to lower this number. Food waste does not break down in landfills the same way it does in compost piles, and composting can help your garden!
  4. Use Cloth Napkins: Even if only half the U.S. population used just three paper napkins a day, that would still mean 450 million paper napkins were being used per day. Using cloths instead of paper napkins is an easy way to cut down on trash. They can be reused for years and can be washed easily instead of having to go to the store and purchase a new pack, saving trees and money!
  5. Purchase Used Furniture: In 2009, the EPA reported that Americans throw out about 9.8 million tons of furniture waste per year. Antique stores, garage sales, and websites such as, eBay, or Craigslist, offer easy ways to purchase used furniture, usually much cheaper than buying new.
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