Athens Services - Plastics - Home Tips for Reducing Waste - Recycling and Educating your family - Residential Services Athens Services - Black Block Bar for Slider - Residential Services TIPS

Home Tips

Tips for Reducing Waste at Home
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle your way to a smaller footprint at home!

Athens Services recommends the following tips to help reduce waste in your home and encourage proper recycling:


The first step in reducing waste is to identify from where the waste originates. Find ways to eliminate potential waste by reevaluating which types of materials come into the home.

Choose Minimal Packaging
Opt Out of Junk Mail
Refuse The Freebies
Reduce Food Waste
  • Avoid buying over-packaged goods (like those with excess boxes and plastic wrappers).
  • Buy in bulk instead of single servings.
  • Purchase loose, unbagged produce.
  • Group online orders together into one large shipment, when presented with the option.

The following sites provide instructions on how to unsubscribe from junk mail. Consider contacting publishers and organizations directly to opt out of their mailers and solicitations.

Say, “No, thank you” to “free” items.

  • Refuse utensils, napkins, condiments, and sauce containers or request businesses to take back items if automatically provided.
  • Say “no utensils” while ordering and again when you pick up. Check the order before leaving.
  • Select the checkbox or type “no utensils please” in the extra directions section of delivery apps.
  • Don’t take event giveaways or hotel toiletries.
  • Take inventory of the kitchen before shopping and stick to the grocery list.
  • Snap a picture of the fridge, freezer, and pantry before shopping for easy reference.
  • Be mindful of buying large quantities of bulk items that have a short shelf-life.
  • Save leftovers for a new meal the next day; try reimagining a new recipe.
  • Freeze food to extend life.
  • Understand the difference between “best by” and “use-by” dates.
  • Manage food shelf-life using the FoodKeeper app and the Save the Food toolkit.

For more ideas, check out the FDA’s Tips to Reduce Food Waste


Many disposable items have a reusable alternative. Opting for reusable items can drastically reduce the amount of waste created in a home.

Say Yes to Reusables
Remember Your Bags
  • There’s no need to buy new. Save time and money by using what you already have, or check reuse opportunities. For ideas, check out Athens’ Material and Reuse Donation page.
  • Commit to carrying your own reusable servingware including utensils, carryout container, coffee cup, water bottle, straw, chopsticks, and napkin.
  • Replace resealable plastic bags with upcycled jars, lidded containers, and/or reusable silicone ones.
  • Replace plastic wrap with upcycled containers, beeswax wrap, and/or silicone lids.
  • Check out Athens’ video Zero Waste On-the-Go: 6 Simple Reuse Swaps for more tips.
  • Use a reusable bag for all shopping trips.
  • Keep extra bags in the car, near the front door, and/or use the kind that can attach to a purse or bag.
  • Bring reusable produce bags for fruits, veggies, and dry bulk items.
  • Forgot to bring a reusable bag? Place the loose items back into the shopping cart and bag the groceries at the car.
  • Check out Athens’ Zero Waste Kitchen Ideas: Part 1 video for more tips.

Shop the grocery store’s bulk section or search for refill stores to reduce packaging. Check with the store to see if they have any restrictions or requirements when using reusable jars and/or produce bags.

  • Locate local refill and bulk options by using the ZeroWasteGuideLA map.
  • Opt for whole bean coffee and loose leaf tea. It tastes better!
  • Invest in a growler for beer, kombucha, and similar refillable beverages.
  • Use bags and jars to fill up dry food goods like rice, beans, and nuts.
  • Keep old jars and containers to refill hygiene and cleaning supplies like soap, shampoo, baking soda, and vinegar.
  • Identify and support businesses that offer bulk cooking oils.
  • Check out Athens’ video Zero Waste Kitchen Ideas: Part 2 for more tips.

Visit Athens’ What Goes Where Guide & Reuse page for more information on how to:

  • Upcycle
  • Repair & restore
  • Donate, swap, & sell items
  • Buy second hand

Also, check out Athens’ video Sustainable Tips for Moving Out & Decluttering for more tips.


Only after “Reduce” and “Reuse” options have been exhausted should items be considered for recycling. Set up your home with an efficient sorting system to make recycling easier.

  • Check out Athens’ At Home Recycling Set-Up video for examples on how to set up an easy-to-use recycling system.
  • Keep recycling containers next to all trash containers throughout the home.
  • Print recycling and landfill signs and post them on or above containers, where possible.
  • Keep recyclables loose. Bags are not necessary in the larger recycling container. (Unless required by your property management)
  • Break down all cardboard boxes – One unflattened box is equivalent to six (6) flattened boxes.
  • Avoid “wish-cycling” – Familiarize yourself with what is and isn’t recyclable. Check out Athens’ What Goes Where Guide.

Check out Athens’ video Recycling Essentials: The Do’s and Don’ts for more tips.

  • Choose recycled content products when purchasing items. By purchasing recycled content products, you support closed-loop recycling systems.
  • Using material with at least 30% recycled content can reduce significant water and energy use, air pollution, and mining waste.
  • Look for products that denote pre-consumer or post-consumer recycled content on the packaging.

Knowing what is in your trash will help you understand where changes can be implemented. Follow these steps to visually audit your waste containers over a one week period.

  1. Review Athens’ Recycling Cheat Sheet.
  2. Count how many bags of trash and recycling were created over the week. Consider weighing them for more accurate results.
  3. Identify how much food is being wasted. Weighing wasted food will provide a more accurate assessment.
  4. Separate out by type the common items in your trash and recycling. Take inventory of how many items you have in each stream.
  5. Identify where some items could be switched out for reusable or recyclable alternatives.
  6. Use what you learned to make changes in your purchasing and consumption habits.
(aka compost)

WHY ROT? Organics, such as food scraps and green waste, are the largest source of material being sent to the landfill, accounting for 30% disposal. Food scraps alone account for half of that 30%. Decomposing organics in the landfill are the second largest source of human-related methane emissions in the State of California. When organics are composted, we return nutrients back to the soil, create healthy plants, sequester carbon, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


Athens offers combined green waste, food scraps, and food-soiled paper (100% fiber-based) collection service for commercial accounts and residential areas.

Check your city page (residential or commercial) for the latest updates on food waste collection in your city. If your city does not accept food scraps in the organics container at this time, consider home composting or local drop off locations, or as a last resort, dispose of food scraps in the trash.

  • Home composting systems – Consider one of many home composting options, such as Backyard, Vermicompost, Bokashi, Food Recyclers machines, and more. There are YouTube tutorials online for each method.
  • Workshop – Sign up for a composting workshop hosted by Los Angeles County or the City of LA. Composting equipment is also sold at a discount through the LA County Smart Gardening program.
  • Community drop-off – Find a local compost drop off organization (LA Compost) or community garden that accepts food scraps from residents.

Did You Know?


“25 million trees are killed to produce
45 billion disposable pairs each year.”

– Bian Jiang
Secretary-General of the China Cuisine Association


“Americans consume yearly on average 2,200 paper napkins or 6 napkins per person per day.”

– New York University

Copyright (C) 2022 Athens Services. All Rights Reserved. Website designed & developed by 789, Inc.