Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly Waste Removal

Aerial view of forest with lake in the shape of recycling symbol

Updated August 15, 2023

Most people don’t think twice about trash once it hits the bin and gets hauled away to the landfill.

The fact is that in the U.S. alone, approximately 146 million tons of trash enters the municipal waste system each year, according to 2018 statistics provided by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

A large percentage of this trash is actually recyclable, reusable, or shouldn’t actually be in the municipal waste system. The key is being smart about what you’re throwing away to make sure what makes it in the bin should actually be there.

We'll go over some helpful tips and tricks to make the most of your disposal efforts to ensure you're being as eco-conscious as possible.

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Complete Guide to Eco-Friendly Waste Removal Infographic

Items That Shouldn't Be Thrown Away

Certain items shouldn’t enter your trash bin or dumpster, including electronics, batteries, chemicals, paint, printer cartridges, yard waste, construction and demolition debris, recyclables (like plastic, paper, and metal), and tires to name a few.

Most major electronics retail stores accept used electronics for proper recycling. Motor oil and other fluids are accepted by oil change centers and most automobile dealerships. Tire dealers accept used tires for proper recycling.

A good general rule to follow is that if an item isn't safe or legal to throw away, you can often times reach out to a retailer that sells these items to see if they offer free recycling drop-off. If you can't find a free solution in your area or don't have the time, ability, or desire to haul these items to a recycler yourself, you will have to find an alternative solution.

Keep reading: Benefits of Recycling Junk vs Throwing It Away

Alternative Disposal Options

Junk removal services are known for their ethical and intentional efforts towards eco-friendly disposal and are a top disposal choice for consumers.

When junk removal services are hired to haul away unwanted items, whether it be household junk, large appliances, furniture, C&D debris, yard waste, or other items, they'll sort through the removed items and separate any items that can be recycled or donated to ensure they don't end up in a landfill. 

Junk removal provides eco-friendly electronics disposal, yard waste recycling, debris recycling, and will donate lightly used household items and building materials to further contribute to their local community.

In addition to their recycling efforts, junk removal services are a consumer favorite due to their invaluable convenience. Perfect for those who physically can't move large items, don't have a hauling vehicle to do it themselves, or have busy lives and don't want to spend additional efforts arranging recycling or disposal during their free time, junk removal companies handle all the heavy lifting, loading, hauling, and disposal for you.

For those that are looking for a long term way to sustainably reduce their landfill contributions at home, composting provides a great solution.

Composting allows you to reduce the amount of trash that makes it into the garbage can, and it can actually help you save money in the long run. Compost is the best natural fertilizer out there, and best of all, it’s completely free!

Composting is easier and less intimidating than it sounds for those who have never tried it. By collecting all of your plant-based food scraps, used coffee grounds, egg shells, dryer sheets, vacuum residuals, hair and grass clippings and mixing these items with equal amounts of yard waste, such as twigs and dead leaves, you can create a natural, self-decomposing pile of fertilizer that can be reused in your garden.

The trick is keeping the mixture moist in a garbage can or similar container in a shady area, preferably outside. Stir the mixture a couple of times per week, and within a few months, you’ll have 100% organic fertilizer filled with nutrients—not to mention a significantly less full weekly garbage bin.

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Eco-Friendly Bulk Waste Removal

Handling large amounts of waste in an eco-friendly manner requires a larger disposal solution. Junk removal companies can handle bulk disposal projects and are the easiest way to have a home cleaned out while having recyclables and donation-worthy items separated without having to do so on your own, but large junk removal projects can get costly due to the all-inclusive nature of their services. 

So, how can you get the best price for bulk waste pick-up services while also prioritizing the environment?

This is where dumpster rental services come into play. As time goes on, more and more dumpsters rental companies are going green, taking notes from their junk removal service competitors and making efforts to responsibly dispose of waste rather than dumping everything they haul off to a landfill.

When calling to rent a dumpster, ask if the company offers any type of trash recycling or clean load sorting. A clean load simply means the dumpster is filled with the same type of material rather than a mixture of items, making it easier (and often cheaper) to haul the entire load to the appropriate recycling facility. 

Sorting facilities can handle clean loads much more efficiently, so try to fill each dumpster load with one type of material to increase the odds the material gets recycled rather than just emptied into the local landfill. Examples of this would be a dumpster clean loaded with only yard waste, concrete, cardboard, or scrap metal.

If you're considering renting an eco-friendly dumpster or hiring a junk removal service to haul away your donations or recyclables, Hometown makes it easy to find locally-owned and operated service providers in your area.

We publish licensed and insured disposal services across the U.S. to help consumers find the best service for the best price. You can read more about each company in your area, read verified reviews from real customers, and request multiple quotes, free of charge, to compare the level of customer service, availability, and charges you can expect from each provider.

Our single quote request form significantly eliminates the time it takes researching and requesting quotes from multiple companies. By providing your zip code and answering a few short questions about your disposal needs, you'll be able to request free quotes from local services near you. 

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How Modern Landfills Are Becoming Greener

The U.S. municipal landfill system is becoming greener, so that’s an encouraging step in the right direction. The garbage you can’t recycle, compost, or reuse can still be helpful to the environment at some landfills.

According to the EPA, there are currently 75 landfills across the country utilizing waste-to-energy (WTE) initiatives. These eco-friendly landfill facilities use various methods to extract energy from the waste sitting at the landfill. One method is capturing the methane gas naturally produced at landfills and turning it to a useful energy source.

The EPA states WTE landfill facilities turn 28 million tons of trash into approximately 2,720 megawatts of power each year. The U.S. is definitely heading in the right direction as far as waste removal goes, but it’s still up to each individual person to do their own part in preserving our environment. These simple tips can help you get started.

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