All Posts

How To Reduce House Waste

A woman taking out the trash

Let’s face it -- no one likes junk. It doesn’t matter if you’re sitting pretty in the Manhattan rentals or if you’re relaxing at a pristine home in Queens, you don’t want that junk piling up in your home and you’re ready to do whatever you’ve got to do to get it out. It pays to be mindful, though, so instead of simply bagging everything up that you don’t want and tossing it haphazardly into the street, how about we apply some brainpower and think of some ways to deal with that excess waste in a more ethical manner? In the Upper East Side, especially, there are plenty of ways to cut down on trash without flooding it into the neighborhood. Read on, as we tackle what you can do to reduce your house waste in a way that benefits everyone.

Start With The Basics

If you’re of a certain age, you probably remember a particular slogan that was commonly blasted at you through the TV in the form of various EPA public service announcements: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s age-old wisdom that is still applicable today, and now, thanks the the internet, you can check out the EPA’s tips for cutting down on waste right from the comfort of your computer.

Among the general tips they provide are some starting suggestions for three areas: Home Improvement, Moving & Cleaning, and Lawn & Garden. While the Lawn & Garden tips might not be as useful for your typical city apartment-dweller, the others are a great place to kick off your waste-reduction escapades:

Have a yard sale to find homes for clothes, toys, appliances, and books that you no longer need.

When moving, use old newspapers to wrap fragile materials. Use moving boxes with the highest content of recycled paper and bubble wrap containing recycled plastic. Be sure to recycle packaging materials after your move. Many organizations, such as U-Haul, have places where you can drop of unused boxes for others to reuse.

Be sure to properly dispose of any non-recyclable items that you won’t be taking with you. Look for household hazardous waste collection days in your community to properly dispose of cleaners, paints, automotive supplies and other hazardous items.

For cleaning chores, buy reusable mops, rags and sponges. When using cleaning products, use only the amount you need and follow the bottle’s directions for use and disposal.

Now, if you’d like to go more in depth, there’s even more information about recycling and how it can improve waste reduction efforts here. It’s especially important that you learn about how to properly dispose of everything you might want to get rid of on account of the New York State Disposal Ban that levies a $100 fine for placing “electronics, such as computers and TVs, at the curb for disposal.” The full list of banned items is as follows:

  • Televisions (including cathode ray tubes)
  • Computer peripherals, including any permanently attached cable or wiring
  • Monitors, laptops
  • Electronic keyboards
  • Electronic mice and other pointing devices
  • Fax machines, document scanners, and printers that are meant for use with a computer and weigh less than 100 lbs.
  • TV peripherals, including any permanently attached cable or wiring
  • VCRs
  • Digital video recorders
  • DVD players
  • Digital converter boxes
  • Cable or satellite receivers
  • Electronic or video game consoles
  • Small scale servers
  • Portable devices, including any permanently attached cable or wiring
  • Portable digital music players

Basically, if it runs off of juice, you can’t just throw it in the trash. Thankfully, though, there are suggestions on what you can do to dispose of your electronic waste properly, which include donating your unwanted electronics, mailing them back to the manufacturers, signing up for ecycleNYC, or dropping them off at a disposal site.

The list of things you can recycle doesn’t just stop at electronics, though. The EPA also has a long list of different items that are recyclable, along with some of the best options for doing the job. Poignant examples include hazardous household waste, products that include “paints, cleaners, oils, batteries, and pesticides that contain potentially hazardous ingredients.”

Because they can contain corrosive, toxic, or otherwise reactive agents within, it’s important that you take special care when disposing of them. It’s important you follow any directions on these products’ containers to avoid causing an accident. In addition, you might try some of the EPA’s following tips:

Try to reduce your purchases of these products and look for alternative, non-hazardous products.

When you do need to dispose of these products, look for special collection events in your community or permanent collection centers. Sometimes businesses that sell these products will also accept them for recycling.
If you have to dispose of HHW, first check with your local waste management agency to see what rules apply in your community.

You can even start composting at home to cut down on the amount of food scraps and yard waste you’re disposing. Doing so, according to the EPA, “keeps these materials out of landfills where they take up space and release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.”

Even if you’re indoors you can still compost without attracting pests or having a foul odor permeate your apartment. The trick is to get a special composting bin (available at most local hardware stores or buildable through the DIY route) and remember to properly manage your composted waste. Thankfully, the EPA has tips on this as well, which you can view here.

Get yourself a drill, a dirt, some screening material, a bit of water, and some worms, and with a bit of work, you’ll be able to start throwing select food scraps to your little buddies, who will then generate some quality composted fertilizer for you to use as you see fit. It’ll just take a few weeks to get started, and you’ll be glad you took this step to keeping the streets cleaner and the environment a bit safer.

The Manhattan Rentals Will Thank You

Communities like The Cole, in particular, will be better served when you do your part to reduce the waste in your living space and in the neighborhood. Plus, with all the extra time you’ll have on your hands thanks to your waste-reduction planning, you’ll have more of it to spend enjoying your free time in the ways you truly enjoy.