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Sustainability and Recycling Best Practices in Your Home


There are several ways of contributing to environmental conservation in the community.

The most notable methods include reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Recycling greatly benefits the environment. It significantly reduces the amount of waste disposed to landfills and minimizes the use of raw materials.

Now, while it might seem like the perfect solution, only 45.7% of household waste is currently recycled… A below-average figure.

That said, consider the five recycling best practices below to help boost this percentage.

And before we dive in, I just want to give a quick thanks to Rumpke for contributing to this article. For nearly a century, the Rumpke family has operated one of the nation’s largest recycling companies.

Let’s get started.

1. Optimized Segregation

separating trash properly graphic

Thoroughness is key in most recycling systems.

So, homeowners should always sort, treat, and segregate household waste – the right way.

Wash plastic containers and remove all labels before tossing them into the recycling bin. Fold cartons and properly label non-recyclable waste.

Also, make sure to follow the strict and scheduled recycling calendars provided by recycling service providers.

Local authorities should also consider creating awareness of recycling habits in the population. And institute policies that guide waste segregation. Make it simple.

For example, withdrawing garbage cans from the streets to ensure everyone recycles their waste.

A perfect example – Kamikatsu’s optimized waste segregation improvements. Authorities in this mountain village classify waste into more than 30 categories.

The result?

All reusable materials get recycled, and non-recyclable waste managed properly.

2. Avoid Disposable Items

reusable produce bag

Another sustainability best practice – avoid disposable items at home. Cutting single-use disposables can help reduce the staggering amounts of trash produced by American households annually.

While recycling programs exist, they capture only a small percentage of recyclable household goods.

Consider these two increasingly popular trends:

Using cloth shopping bags instead of the initial plastic paper bags… And choosing washable cloth wipes instead of paper towels.

3. Produce Your Own Household Chemicals

diy-cleaner bottle

Unlike before, many Americans today know how to make cleaning and disinfecting chemicals.

And creating natural and biodegradable cleaners and pesticides isn’t complicated. But, if you don’t know how to do it, check out the HGTV and Good Housekeeping websites.

These environmentally-themed platforms share simple recipes for making natural, homemade chemicals.

DIY cleaners, bug sprays, weed killers, and polishes help save the environment – and save you money, too!

4. Solving the Food Problem

While the efforts to recycle plastics, cardboard, and glass prove effective, food waste remains a significant problem globally.

In fact, the World Economic Forum estimates that one-third of household food goes to waste. Ouch. This not only depletes raw materials – but contributes to high costs of energy and greenhouse gas emissions.

That said, environmentalists believe the best thing humans can do for the planet is to curb animal products. This includes buying honey, milk, and leather products.

If possible, reduce meat consumption and replace milk with almond or soy-based products.

Now, if avoiding food waste proves impossible, consider composting – it’s regarded as the best way to recycle such waste.

compost pile

Interestingly, organic matter is the most significant source of methane gas on the planet, primarily since organic matter floods most landfills.

Consider this: National statistics estimate that every person produces about 20lbs of food waste monthly…

As a result, organic food waste is the second-largest contributor to the landfill crisis.

That said, consider taking this DIY approach to help reduce the landfill crisis – compost organic food waste in your home. Just chuck your food waste into your flower beds and gardens!

But, restrict your home compost setup to plant-based waste, only. This reduces foul odors and avoids pests (from meat, for example).

For those who stay in apartments, check your local city guidelines.

Check if they provide curbs-de pick-up options for organic waste. Most commercial compost plants accept dairy, meat, and other plant-based food waste.

5. Buy Recycled

recycled products logo

Buying recycled products is the best way to close this loop.

Like with other products, the value of recycled items is determined by their demand on the market.

So, consumers should be encouraged to prioritize recycled products to promote recycling.

Some products made from recycled items include:

  • Packing materials – these are food boxes and bottles used to pack household cleaners, laundry detergents, shampoos, and dishwashing liquids.
  • Paper products – toilet paper, greeting cards, cardboards, facial tissues, napkins, and writing papers. 
  • Plastic products – desk accessories, patio furniture, coat hangers, storage organizers, toys, and more. 
  • Automotive accessories – remanufactured car parts, retread tires, and refined car oil. 
  • Garden supplies – mulch, hoses, and planters 
  • Clothing and accessories – cloth fabric made from recycled plastic bottles, hiking boots, and tennis shoes. 
  • Home improvement supplies – wallboard, carpets, doormats, paint, insulation, gutters, downspouts, siding, flooring, and roofing materials.


Ensuring sustainability and eco-friendly consumption and production (as laid down in the UN Sustainable Development Goals) requires self-consciousness.

Beyond embracing the three “Rs,” countries should encourage their citizens to adopt eco-friendly measures right at home.

To find solutions for recycling, consult professional recycling service providers to ease your challenges today.

Thanks for reading and good luck on your journey!