Your electricity bill is dependent on how much electricity you use each month so why isn't your trash bill dependent upon how much garbage you generate?

According to The Charlotte Observer, the city of Charlotte is studying whether to implement a pay-as-you-throw (PAYT) program for trash. The goals of PAYT programs are to reduce municipal solid waste and encourage people to recycle more. With many PAYT programs, residents purchase special imprinted trash bags that can be dropped off at a transfer station or collected curbside. If this program were to be implemented, residents should feel more inclined to recycle and reduce the amount of garbage they produce because they will be charged per bag they dispose of.

Many cities and communities in the United States have already adopted a pay-as-you-throw program to reduce the amount of garbage in landfills and help the environment. Regardless of whether your city has a PAYT program in place, you should always try to reduce the amount of trash your household generates and recycle more.

Ways to reduce trash

Avoid disposables, get reusables. Although sometimes using disposable plates and cups are ideal, (i.e., children's birthday parties) disposable products can negatively impact the amount of waste your household generates. Replace your disposable products with reusable and refillable containers. Instead of using plastic bags at the grocery store, invest in eco-friendly bags you can reuse each time you go shopping. Instead of using plastic water bottles for your on-the-go activities, a reusable water bottle can be just as handy and helps support a cleaner environment. By choosing reusable containers you can significantly decrease the amount of garbage you throw away.

Compost. Compost is organic material that can be added to soil to help plants grow. Since food scraps and yard waste currently make up 20 to 30 percent of what we throw away, these scraps should be composted instead of discarded. Creating a compost pile is easy and can be done indoors or in your backyard. By composting, you can improve the soil in your yard, save money on chemical fertilizers and help cut down your trash.

Reduce junk mail. Do you receive a lot of unwanted mail that ends up in the trash? Reduce it by canceling subscriptions to magazines you don't read and contacting companies sending you unnecessary mail and ask them remove your name from their mailing lists. This mail drastically increases the amount of garbage or even recycling you throw out so a simple phone call to opt out of receiving all the catalogs you don't want is an easy way to have less garbage.

Buy items in bulk. Buying in bulk is economical and eco-friendly. Often times when buying single items, they are wrapped individually, resulting in more packaging that needs to be thrown away. When buying in bulk, there is typically less packaging which can help you reduce the amount of garbage headed to the trash can. Shop in the bulk aisle for items you find yourself buying often and have long shelf-lives such as detergents, pasta and cereal.

Repurpose or donate clothes. Instead of throwing away old, worn clothes, repurpose them. You can easily cut T-shirts and use them as cleaning rags or handkerchiefs. If you have clothes that no longer fit you or you don't wear anymore, you can also donate them to a local shelter as opposed to tossing them in the garbage.

Recycle. Recycling is one of the best ways to reduce waste. You can recycle many materials including paper, plastic, metal, glass, batteries and even electronic devices. By recycling, you are not only reducing your waste but you are supporting a cleaner and healthier environment. Also be sure to buy products with recycled content!

Before you go to throw something in your trash can, you should always stop to think if the item could be recycled, reused or donated. Trying to limit the amount of trash headed to the landfills is an easy way your household can help our planet.

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