Recycling icon surrounded by recyclable garbage

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Cut Off at the Source

The best way to reduce your waste and emissions at home is by reducing your intake of potential waste. This does not mean you need to live a minimalist lifestyle. It doesn’t mean that you need to learn to live on less either. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, reducing and reusing things around your apartment is the primary way we can help.  The Waste Management Hierarchy has a comprehensive summary of why these methods are the primary ways to reduce waste.

Our Western National green living experts also have some ideas to help get you started:

Buy Reusable Containers

Straws, water bottles, grocery and produce bags, and even lunch containers are the majority of landfill trash. Replacing these items with reusable one can save hundreds of single-use versions from going into the landfill each year. Try to work them into your daily routine to make them easier to use: keep bags in the car, make fruit water in your water bottle, display reusable straws on the counter, etc.

Be Mindful of Plastic Consumption

Use your own containers and buy food at a bulk store or buy fresh produce as often as possible. Fresh produce without any packaging is best, but if you have to buy things with packaging—like pasta or other canned goods—see if you can purchase them in paper or glass rather than plastic or metal. Paper is easier to recycle than plastic or metal. Glass containers can be reused as storage for bulk dry goods or veggies.

Cancel Unnecessary Mail

It’s always annoying to get a handful of mail only to find out that it’s all junk and advertisements. Call toll-free 1-888-5-OPT-OUT (1-888-567-8688) or visit to prevent junk mail for five years. This is tied to your name and will last even if you need to move. 

Create Meal Plans

Planning any purchases not only helps you get the best deals for the week, but it means you can come prepared with any containers or bags to reduce the single-use plastic that goes into the recycling. You also will not have to throw away food that you buy on a whim but end up not using.

Western National Apartments has your back by supporting your green living efforts! Visit our green living blog whenever you need new ideas.

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