Tips for Reducing Household Waste

The Borough of Carlisle operates under the "Pay as You Throw" model for trash collection. Each household only pays for the trash they actually generate. The less trash your household produces, the fewer Borough bags you need to purchase!

We want to provide you with some tips for how to cut back on the amount of household waste you generate. Not only is less waste good for the planet, but you can also save money as well!  

Conduct a Household Trash Audit
trash canAccording to the EPA, the average person generates 4.51 pounds of waste per day. How much do you think you generate? Conduct a household waste audit and know what you throw! 
A household waste audit is where you collect and sort all of your waste before putting it out for collection. After a set period of time, you look through what you collected and try to identify patterns, areas for improvement, and cost-saving ideas.
Step One: Sorting
Here are a few suggestions for how to sort your trash in order to conduct an audit.
  • Lay a tarp on the ground and sort all of the trash into categories on the tarp.
  • Use multiple bins or cans with labels on them. (Examples: Food Waste, Glass, Plastic, Paper) 
  • Each person in the household keeps a log of their trash. This could be paper, digital, photos, etc.

Step Two: Evaluation
When looking through your trash, try to answer these suggested questions:
  • How many of these items could be recycled?
  • Are there any surprises about what you collected? Do you have a lot of excess of a particular item?
  • What items could have been used longer or replaced with items that last longer?
  • What items are necessary and what could be replaced with an environmentally-friendly option?
  • How much of your waste is from packaging?

Step Three: Behavior Changes
After going through your weekly trash and consumption, what can you do to change your behavior and create less waste? Here are a few ideas.
  • Precycling: Precycling is shopping with waste output in mind. Look for products that are packaged in material that you can recycle curbside. Bring your own shopping bags. Buy in bulk whenever possible to limit packaging.
  • Cut Down on Mail: Switch to paperless billing for all of your monthly bills. Visit the Federal Trade Commission's website for helpful instructions on opting out of junk mail and credit card offers.
  • The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

The Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse,
RecycleReduce Reuse Recycle logo
Reducing, reusing, and recycling waste helps save landfill space by keeping useful materials out.

The most effective way to reduce is to not create it in the first place!

  • Look for products with the least amount of packaging.
  • Buy products in packaging that can be recycled. For example, pick eggs that come in a cardboard container rather than Styrofoam
  • Buy larger, economy-sized non-perishable items instead of individually wrapped items
  • Avoid using plastic bags at the store. Bring your own bags from home

Reuse: Think about what you are throwing out. Could it be reused, repurposed, or donated?

  • Buy reusable over disposable items
  • Bring your own silverware, cups, and mugs to work
  • Bring your own bags to the store
  • Maintain and repair products so they will not have to be thrown out and replaced as frequently 

Recycle: Before you throw it out in the trash, check to see if you can recycle it!

The following items are recyclable under the Borough's current solid waste contract. All items must be clean, dry, and debris-free.
  • Glass food and beverage bottles
  • Paper: Newspapers; magazines and catalogs; paper bags; mail and junk mail; telephone books; printer, copier, and computer paper; construction and Kraft paper; cereal boxes; shoeboxes
  • Aluminum, bi-metallic, tin & steel cans
  • Plastics #1, #2, #5, #7. Typically includes clear plastic beverage bottles, shampoo bottles, bleach bottles.
  • Cardboard. Must be tied/bundled; broken down, no larger than 2'X2'.
  • Metal (iron, steel, tin) cans with food debris removed
Carlisle Borough Committed to Excellence In Community Service
Carlisle Borough 53 West South Street + 717 249 4422 Mon-Fri: 7:30 AM - 4:30 PM