Plastic-Free July & Other Tips to Reduce Your Waste

Reader Contribution by Kari Klaus and Viva Green Homes
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“Plastic-free July” is a movement to reduce our dependence on plastics. You may already reduce your usage of fossil fuels and you have cut back on single-use plastic grocery bags, but what else can we all be doing to lead a much more eco-friendly lifestyle including how to make our homes eco-friendly beyond their four walls? Have you considered how trash impacts your environmental footprint?

In college, I was asked by my environmental studies professor if I knew where my trash went. I was completely embarrassed, as a self-proclaimed environmentalist, to stare blankly across the room and finally admit that I had no idea where my trash went after it left my household. And what’s even worse, is I didn’t even know how much trash I was really producing. Apparently, I am not alone.

Sustainability writer for, Syd Ulrich-Dogonniuck, breaks down the American waste habit and the impact trash is having on our environmental footprint in Are We Wasting Our Waste?

When you think of “waste” what do you think of? Trash day? Setting the trash bin on the curb once a week? Or have you thought about what happens to the waste created from your home after it leaves the curb?

For years, decades even, it seems our society has had a very “out of sight, out of mind” mentality about waste—you do your due diligence to keep your neighborhood clean, you pick up litter in the park, you wouldn’t dream of throwing a Styrofoam cup out the window on the high way. On the surface the “waste issue” doesn’t seem like an issue at all—it seems well contained, old news even. Dig a little deeper, however, and some truths start to materialize… The average American produces a whopping 5.91 pounds of waste daily.

At nearly 6 pounds of trash per day on average, most of us need a little help in finding ways to cut the waste and to do so easily. From electronics, to groceries to paper products, Ulrich-Dogonniuck provides us with the 8 Quick, Easy Ways to Kick-Start Your ZeroWaste Lifestyle to help motivate us to reduce our trash in fun and easy ways. 

Since this is plastic-free July, it’s also a good time to rethink the use of plastic. One area where plastic is used with great abundance is the beauty industry.

Since World War II the beauty industry has been in love with plastic packaging—it’s cheap, lightweight, moldable, and doesn’t degrade when in contact with fluids, be it shower water or a gel or foam product. To obtain all these characteristics, however, means that most of the plastic packaging that is used is not easily recyclable, and as such will end up in a landfill once the product is finished (or you find a new favorite product to replace it), says Ulrich-Dogonniuck in Going Waste-Free Beautifully—How to Clean Up Your Beauty Routine.

Following these simple and easy tips to reduce your beauty-routine’s reliance on plastic will make your morning all that much brighter.

This July, and every month, taking just a few steps to change your everyday routine will reduce your trash and create a positive impact towards your environmental footprint.

“Small acts, when multiplied by millions, can transform the world.” – Howard Zinn

Photo by Pedro Aguilar on Unsplash

Kari Klaus is the founder of, a data-driven real estate platform which overlays sustainability intelligence onto home listings.

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