Reducing Your Landfill Contribution

Guest Blogger

Reducing our consumption of waste is now more important than ever. Large amounts of waste, including non-recyclable items, are sent to landfills every day. The easiest way to reduce our landfill contribution is to start at the source and reduce how much waste we produce, recyclable or not. Luckily, there are many ways to get started!

Bring large, reusable bags to the grocery store.

Plastic grocery bags are not recyclable in your curbside bin or cart. Cuyahoga County’s plastic bag ban goes into effect on January 1, 2020, so learning to bring your own reusable bags is a must. Tuck some bags between your car seat and the center console so you don’t forget them.

Store mesh produce bags in your purse to put fruit and veggies in (rather than the plastic ones provided).

Mesh produce bags are excellent alternatives for the smaller, single-use plastic bags provided at grocery stores. Both grocery stores and farmers markets are happy to accept them!

Wrap leftover food in beeswax wrap rather than plastic wrap.

Plastic wrap is non-recyclable, as it can jam recycling machine equipment. Instead, opt for this reusable wrap made of beeswax. It’s perfect for wrapping up bread, fruits, and veggies or even your lunch.

Pack your lunch in a reusable container.

Food containers given out at restaurants (like Styrofoam) are a huge source of landfill waste! Pack your lunch in a reusable container with reusable utensils instead. If you eat out, remember to bring containers to take your leftovers home.

Compost your food waste.

Did you know that a single head of lettuce can take up to 25 years to decompose in a landfill? Being trapped without oxygen means that food waste does not break down easily! Luckily, backyard composting is easy to start. Visit for information on how to get started.

Donate items you no longer need.

The Solid Waste District publishes a directory of nonprofits where you can find organizations to donate all kinds of items, rather than throwing them away. Pass your usable goods to someone in need by checking out the most recent version of our Pass It On: A Guide to Donating Usable Stuff.

By being mindful of your daily practices, you can easily reduce the amount of trash you contribute to landfills and create a healthier planet for all. Besides, who doesn’t want to take out the trash less often?

About the Author

Hailey Mylett is an intern at the Solid Waste District for the summer of 2019. She is currently a senior at UCLA studying Environmental Science.