The Family Home Blog

How to Reduce Paper Waste in Your Home

Sep 16, 2015
Diane Hoffmaster

How to Reduce Paper Waste in Your Home 

Homes across America create quite a bit of waste on a daily basis and a lot of that is paper waste. Whether it is a piece of junk mail, an empty cereal box, or school assignments from your child's classroom, the paper waste starts to add up quickly. In order to avoid overflowing our trash cans with an excess of paper, there are a number of ways to reduce our paper waste to lower our carbon footprint.  Before you toss away that next scrap of paper, consider a few of these paper waste reduction tips!

1.    Think before you print. We get daily emails about all sorts of things but rarely do we need to print something out. Use technology to your advantage. Email map directions directly to your smart phone. If you do have to print something out, reduce the font size on your computer and decrease the margin size so that you use as few sheets of paper as possible.

2.    Remove junk mail from your home before it gets there. Use websites such as and Catalog Choice to get rid of your unwanted junk mail. You can also call each company directly and ask to be removed from their mailing list.

3.    Recycle whatever you can. Call your local recycling company and ask them what their rules are on paper waste. Many will accept not only junk mail but also paperboard from cereal boxes and other grocery items. You may need to remove any plastic windows from junk mail but the recycling company can give you all the details you need.

4.    Ditch the disposables. Paper napkins and paper towels make up part of the paper waste in our homes. Switch to cloth napkins and reusable rags to save money and reduce your carbon footprint.

5.    Rethink your grocery shopping. A large percentage of paper waste is called paperboard…that thin cardboard that is used for cereal boxes and similar items at the grocery store.  Start buying more whole, fresh ingredients that do not require packaging (apples instead of apple flavored fruit snacks, for example). Buy food in bulk to reduce paper waste even more.

What other tips can you share on reducing paper waste at home?

Photo courtesy of Diane Hoffmaster.

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