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How to Save Money on Garbage

How to Save Money on Garbage
Written by Irina Vasilescu

One of the many items included in a household maintenance budget is paying the garbage collector. Depending on the amount of trash your household produces every day, the amount can range from $200 to $300 per year. This may not sound like a lot especially once you consider the monthly amount – but if you are on a shoestring budget, the money can go towards other important things that you can buy.

The question is: would it really be possible to ditch having to pay for a garbage collection company? There are small homes that can actually manage this feat but for those who cannot, there are many techniques that they can follow when it comes to saving money on garbage.

Ways to Save Money on Garbage

Whether you live in the city or the suburbs, there should be a garbage collection company that makes stops in individual houses to collect trash for a fee. In some neighborhoods, garbage collection is part of their community service that some households need to pay a minimal fee for, while others need to pay the full amount required by the garbage collection company.

Now, if you are thinking of ways to save money on garbage, what are the ways for you to do so? Take a look at the following list:

Conduct a waste audit 

In a typical neighborhood, there’s a 20-gallon can where individual households can dump their trash. These are picked up on a weekly basis and if you’re a family where waste is regularly produced off the kitchen, you might think that ditching the garbage service would be a huge inconvenience. That is not necessarily the case, especially if you consciously take steps to reduce the amount of garbage that your household produces. What you can do is conduct a waste audit and see if your household is small enough to cancel garbage service.

On a weekly basis, if your trash hardly makes a dent on that 20-gallon trash can, you might find it very easy to cancel your existing garbage service. Eliminating trips to the grocery store is a good start because all that packaging waste leads to lots of garbage. Instead, get your local produce from farmer’s markets or local distributors.

There should be a local recycling center in your area and this is where you can bring all your plastic bottles and cans. As for the kitchen waste, you can simply dig a hole in your backyard or front lawn and allow the waste to mature into compost. To reduce your paper waste, ask the utility companies to send you copies of your billing statement over e-mail instead of through mail post.

From time to time, you will receive circulars or marketing materials over the mail – but this kind of waste should be more manageable. All in all, if you decide to eliminate garbage pick-up service, you would have to do some work on your end – but the savings should be well worth it in the end.

Cut back on your overall garbage bills

Meanwhile, if you are unable to ditch your regular garbage service, what you can do is find ways to cut back on your overall garbage bills instead. Apartment dwellers may not think about this at all because it is something that is handled by their landlords. Homeowners do have to think about it and the first thing you want to make sure of is that you are not paying a higher rate than usual for the service.

For instance, you might be paying anywhere from $20 to $50 more than your next door neighbor simply because they are using a different garbage collection company! Ask what the on-going rates are.

If you do find out that you are paying more than your neighbor, call your existing company and tell them that you are cancelling. They would usually ask why you are cancelling, and tell them outright. If they want to keep your business, they would usually offer you the same price that your neighbor is paying.

Cut back on your garbage production

If you have a home office, paper and plastic might be the biggest waste items that you have. Let’s say that you have a printer and you made it a habit to print out almost every page of document that you worked on in your computer. Do you really need to do this?

Did you know that in a typical office, 50% of paper ends up in the Recycle Bin at the end of the day? This means that office workers press the Print button even if they don’t need the document at all. You can do the same in your own home office. In fact, you can go ahead and implement a paperless office policy so that you can cut back on your paper waste.

As for the kid’s artwork projects and similar paper waste, you can try to recycle the back page or simply store them for posterity.

Plastic is yet another garbage culprit. As mentioned earlier, not relying on big grocery stores for your food supply will significant cut your garbage production in the house.

Just imagine how every tray of eggs which are wrapped in plastic foil then placed again in a paper bag or plastic bag produces so much waste after you unwrap them. If you can’t part from your local superstore, simply bring your own recyclable bag so that you can cut back on plastic and paper consumption.

Start composting

If you love preparing food in the kitchen, the waste there will make up most of your garbage production. Your goal is to reduce the amount of garbage that your household is producing, so it pays to know which items you can compost. Take a look at the following list:

  • Kitchen waste: leftover, unused or scrap fruits or vegetable pieces; dairy; stale bread; etc.
  • Paper products: cardboard boxes, shredded paper, toilet paper, kitchen towels, paper towel rolls, pizza boxes and similar items.
  • Laundry waste: dryer lint from cotton, linen, wool and other natural fabrics.
  • Garden waste: dried leaves, branches and twigs.

Once you know which items you can compost, all you have to do is dig a suitable hole in your front lawn or backyard. Cover a layer of the compostable materials with garden soil and let it mature for a few months. You can use the compost as fertilizer for your garden.

Save money on garbage bags

The bags themselves which are used to carry garbage lead to more garbage, so it pays to know how to reduce your consumption of them.

If you have a house with multiple rooms, there would be many small garbage cans in hallways, the bathroom, the kitchen and other areas. When you use individual garbage bags for all these trash cans, you will be consuming a lot of plastic. 

To cut back on this cost, simply reuse the plastic bags that your grocery items came in. If you have pet dogs or cats, you can reuse the bags used to store their food as a trash bag.

To have more space inside the trash bags, you can crush the big items into smaller lumps. Again, you should also think about recycling so those plastic bottles and cans can be brought to the recycling center.

Other ways to save money on garbage

There are plenty of other ways for you to save money on garbage. If you have a lot of unused electronics or metal to recycle, you can even make some cash off of it by bringing them to a recycling or repurposing center. Go online and look for websites which list down the places where you can send non-working gadgets, batteries, mobile phones, laptop computers and similar items to.

When you try to dispose of these items yourself, you won’t know if you are contributing to the further harm in the environment because they mostly have lead or mercury so they need proper disposal. Some electronic recycling centers accept items for a fee, while others offer free service.

When it’s time for garbage to be collected from your streets, make sure to give the collectors proper consideration. There are some companies which do not accept trash which are not segregated while others simply require that the garbage be properly placed in trash bags.

You should also follow the golden rule of helping Mother Nature by reusing, reducing and recycling. Whether your goal is to completely eliminate your garbage disposal service or merely to reduce the amount of trash coming from your household, living by these three Rs will give you a lot of leeway.

As you can see, there are many ways for you to save money on garbage. By following these tips, you can reduce the amount of garbage being produced by your household, save some money in the process, and do your share in helping save the environment.

About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our crafty designer. She joined the team three years ago and is also involved in the writing process.


  • I’m so happy to read about the three Rs of helping the environment with a special call-out for composting! I never had to pay for garbage — I guess it was included somehow in the rent if there was a fee in my town? But either without the extra cost, I always tried to reduce the amount of garbage in our household. For example, we never throw away old clothes! Also, we always use both sides of papers to write/draw, meaning we collect old letters and envelopes and everything that can be used again instead of recycling right away.

  • Here in the UK, our garbage disposal fees are incorporated in our yearly council tax bills. There is often an extra charge for removing garden wast though, so it makes financial sense to compost it instead. of course, composting has innumerable benefits for your garden so is well worth doing. You can also put fruit and vegetable peelings in the composter too.

  • Thanks for the informative article! Composting is a great way to get rid of food waste. When I was a kid, just about everyone in our neighborhood had a compost bin… that’s where leftover food went. In addition to these money saving tips, some areas have a local dump to which you can take a limited amount of trash per week. For free!

  • It is an useful article. I think refuse garbage not only save money, but also reduce pollution of waste. And garbage classification is very important.

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