In this article, I'm going to share 6 tips for minimizing waste while living off-grid. Why should you be concerned with the amount of waste you're generating?
First, and most importantly, you'll need a way to properly dispose of your trash, which will be an expense. The less trash you generate, the lower your disposal costs are going to be.
Remember that living off-grid means you're most likely in an area that doesn't have a municipal trash pickup service. This means you're going to have to store and eventually dispose of the trash you produce.
Second, and also just as important, the less trash you generate, the better it is for the environment. Being more responsible when it comes to the environment can be rewarding on its own.
Now that we all agree on why it is valuable to reduce the amount of trash you and your family produce, the following are tips for accomplishing that goal:
This is the single biggest thing you and your family can do to reduce the amount of trash you produce. This step includes eliminating the use of single-use water bottles, paper plates, plasticware, and even single-use food items.
Switch to reusable food containers and try practicing meal planning. If you cook a large meal using fresh ingredients from your own garden, save your leftovers in these reusable containers and enjoy another day or freeze and save for another time.
If you really want to maximize efficiency, replace paper napkins, and paper towels with cloth napkins and hand towels. You'll be surprised at just how much waste you'll be able to eliminate.
Buying in bulk, especially when it comes to dry food goods, can not only reduce the amount of waste you generate, but it can also keep more money in your wallet.
Having a fully stocked pantry with bulk foods stored in reusable containers is a great way to reduce food waste. It also provides a ton of recipe options for the home cook.
Buying in bulk can also reduce the number of trips you need to make into town for purchasing groceries. This will save you money on the cost of transportation regardless of if you drive an electric or gasoline-powered vehicle.
A study from Penn State revealed that U.S. households waste about a third of the food they purchased every year. The results were similar to previous studies that showed Americans wasted an estimated 30% to 40% of their food.
Even the most efficient families still throw away about 8% of their food. If you're not composting, this can quickly add up in your trash, increasing the amount you must store and how frequently you must dispose of this waste.
Composting has an added benefit that some would say is as important as reducing your total waste. It provides free, high-quality, and chemical-free fertilizer for your garden and planters.
If you're growing your own food, which you should definitely be doing on some scale, this can also save you a good amount of money and increase the production of your vegetable and fruit plants.
Anything that you must dispose of and cannot reuse in your home should be recycled, when available. And since recycling methods and rules will vary by State and County, you'll want to research your specific area to determine what you can recycle.
Recycling paper products will also help reduce the demand for trees needing to be harvested for more paper products. When companies use recycled steel it requires 40% less water and generated 97% less mining waste.
Recycling doesn't just benefit you, it can benefit the entire planet.
Whether you're growing the bulk of your vegetables and fruits or you're sourcing these items from other farms or markets, learning to bottle and can excess food can greatly reduce the amount of food waste you generate.
Canning can also save you and your family a lot of money. The cost of canning is incredibly low. All you need are the jars, lids and a pot or pressure cooker to properly seal the jars. These canning supplies will last for years and years, sometimes across generations.
Besides reducing food waste and saving money, pickling is another benefit to canning. Pickling some of your vegetables gives them great flavor and makes for healthy snacks.
Storing canned foods can also be of value to people that must endure very cold winter months where growing outdoors becomes impossible.
Another way you can reduce waste is by choosing to spend the time to repair that item instead of throwing it away. You don't even have to be an expert at repair. There are literally millions of videos on YouTube on how to repair anything from upholstery to electronics.
Besides the fact that repairing broken items can help reduce the amount of waste you produce, as with many of these other tips in this post, it can also help you save money.
Only replace things that cannot be repaired and if you just do not want an item any longer, donate it so someone else may use it.
In conclusion, the greater you can reduce the amount of waste you produce, the more money you'll save and the smaller your carbon footprint will be on the earth. Avoid disposable items such as plasticware/paperware.
Composting your food waste will produce premium fertilizer for your garden and will also reduce the amount of waste you'll need to have taken away and properly disposed of.
If you have other ways to reduce waste which you would like to share, please leave your comments below.