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Residential Waste Reduction Tips

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Household Waste

Small acts make a big difference.

There are many small household changes you can make to reduce waste.  Here are some tips for reducing household waste:

  • Stop receiving unwanted mail
    •  Use the StopJunkMail Kit.
    • Be removed from direct mail registries at
    • Discontinue unwanted catalogs at
    • Opt out of Yellow pages at
  • Buy items that have less packaging; buy in bulk.
  • Avoid single-serving products in favor of larger servings of bulk (this will help you save money also!!)
  • Prevent food waste – The average family loses $1350 each year to food waste that means tossing 1 out of every 4 grocery bags!!!
  • Plan meals and create a list of what you need before going to the grocery store.
  • Use what you already have in the fridge. Get creative!
  • Learn when to actually throw food out.
  • Smell foods to see if there is obvious spoilage.
  • Packaged Foods
    • “Best before” and “use by” dates relate to peak flavor or quality
    • “Sell by” dates help the store determine how long to display a product. You can still eat food after this date!
    • Learn to properly store food
    • StillTasty is another great website to know how long food will last, and how to store it! 
  • Don’t forget to bring your reusable bags!!
  • Carry a reusable water bottle.
  • Pack a waste-free lunch.
  • Bring your own cup or mug.
  • Say no to straws or BRING YOUR OWN!
  • Bring your own container and utensils when grabbing food on the go.
  • Use no bag or a fabric bag to carry produce and other grocery items.
  • Find new life for old furnishings, appliances and clothes.

In the Yard

Caring for all the green and growing things in your yard can have a huge effect on the amount of household waste you create. From grass clippings and pine needles to pesticides and water, the impact of your lawn and garden can be significant!

Some easy tips to reduce your environmental impact:

  • Feed your soil with compost (make compost at home or buy it in bulk). Compost helps soil hold nutrients and water, and feeds organisms beneficial to the soil. Using compost also eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers, which is bad for the environment because runoff carries them to our rivers and lakes.
  • Mow higher and leave the grass clippings - called "grasscycling" - on your lawn to return valuable nutrients to the soil.
  • Choose the right plant for the right place. Select native plants that grow well in Truckee. With the ongoing drought pick drought-tolerant plants. 
  • Conserve water. Use rain barrels to collect rain water and then use it to water plants. Check hoses for leaks before watering plants, and position sprinklers so they only water plants. Remember to water plants during the cooler parts of the day (early morning is best) to avoid evaporation. Use mulch to reduce the amount of water lost to evaporation. For more information and workshops on waterwise gardening, check out your local University of California Cooperative Extension Master Gardener group or local gardening volunteer organizations