The kitchen may be the heart of the home but it's also the biggest trash generator in your house — especially this time of year. In fact, each person in your home creates about four pounds of trash a day and most of it comes from the kitchen. A few simple solutions will make all the difference when it comes to creating less waste. I'll show you how to do your part to trash less and save money at the same time.
Let's start with what you bring into the kitchen. Reusable bags are a must. Get yourself a bunch of different sizes and you're set for any shopping trip. But, you also need to think about waste as you shop. Anything packaged in single-sized servings flat out costs more so opt for buying in bulk when you can. You can make your own individual portions by using small, reusable containers. Also, buy items that come in easy to recycle packaging that you can toss into the recycling bin when you're done.
Now, the absolute biggest source of trash is food. It's astonishing to think that 30 percent of the food we buy, we throw away. The easiest thing to do is to save those leftovers. Keeping them for a snack or lunch, freezing larger portions, or using them in a different recipe is the way to go. Visit doyourpart.com/columns for specific information on how to waste less food and preserve foods throughout the year. Finally, don't forget that composting unwanted leftovers will create free fertilizer for your lawn and garden.
Then, there are the one-use items that get trashed. Save money by using reusable clothes and rags instead of pricey paper towels. Choose cloth napkins instead of paper ones. And, put an end to disposable plastic water bottles and invest in a few reusable ones. These days, there are even reusable silicon covers that are an excellent alternative to one-use plastic wrap or aluminum foil.
Terri Bennett is a veteran TV meteorologist, eco-expert and author of Do Your Part: A practical guide for everyday green living.