8 Ways to Reduce Household Waste and Protect the ‘Aina

Posted by Staff Writer on Thursday, January 17th, 2019 at 9:01am


Every year, the average American sends over 1,000 pounds of household trash to landfills – waste that can hurt our health, devastate wildlife habitats and release greenhouse gases and dangerous toxins.

But with a little bit of planning and creativity, we can significantly reduce footprint on our planet and the island we all know and love. As we begin 2019, we’ve made a resolution to not only focus on our own wellbeing, but protect and care for the community around us, too. Here are 8 ways you can help reduce waste:

Ditch the bottled water

There are so many reasons we’re lucky to live in Hawai’i – one of them being that the islands offer some of the cleanest water straight from aquifers. So ditch plastic bottles and carry a reusable one instead. Our planet – and your pocketbook – will thank you.

Reduce Food Waste

In general, the vast majority of waste that’s sent to local landfills is food, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. That means by cutting down on food scraps, you also save money. And all it takes is planning – make sure to take inventory of your fridge and plan a shopping list. Also, be sure so use your leftovers and properly store food.

Say no to paper napkins and towels

When it comes to trying to reduce your household waste, switching to permanent fixes rather than disposable ones is always better. Instead of buying paper towels, napkins and tissues that can only be used once, try washcloths, handkerchiefs, towels or cloth napkins instead. When they get dirty, just toss them in the laundry and wash in hot water.

 Go paperless

Putting a stop to junk mail not only helps slim down the pile of mail you have to collect, but also helps save paper – and thus, trees. Visit optoutprescreen.com to stop receiving pre-approved offers from credit bureaus and email abacusoptout@epsilon.com to stop receiving unwanted catalogs. You can even visit yellowpagesoptout.com if you don’t want a phone book.

And while you’re at it, contact your bank and utility companies to ask about going paperless instead of receiving bills in the mail.

Forego plastic wrapping 

Put down the aluminum foil, ziplock baggies and plastic wrap – instead, grab Tupperware containers, jars or other reusable food storage methods. And when it comes to baking, invest in a silicon baking mat. It’ll do the trick over and over again, whereas aluminum foil or parchment paper can only be used once.

Go Strawless

Make 2019 the year to give up disposable straws – which can hurt or even kill wildlife like turtles when they end up in our oceans, littering our beaches and other natural environments. Instead, try skipping the straw and politely ask servers at restaurants to withhold them from beverages. Or if you’d like to still use one, invest in a reusable straw to carry with you.

Buy in bulk 

Buying in the package-free bulk section of grocery stores can reduce waste and help you save money. Bring your own reusable containers, bags or flour sacks to store so you can save the plastic ones there.  

 BYO Cup

Everyone loves their cup of coffee or fresh fruit smoothie from Maui’s abundant cafes and juice stores. But save the paper or plastic cup and instead bring your own travel mug or thermos. Some stores will even give you a discount for doing so!

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