1. Recycle. Our lack of trash is due to the fact that we recycle. I found a great place here in Wichita that takes about anything: cardboard from packaging, any type of plastic, cans, glass, newspapers, magazines. I've had the best help going here and usually volunteers help you get unloaded in a hurry. Recycling those take some thought and a little space but it's worth it. Here's a picture of my frugal recycling system. I purchased these bags for .50 bags at Walmart. I covered the logo with fabric and then ironed on labels. Simple and easy and they hang on the wall so they don't take up too much space. The smaller size forces me to recycle often.
2. Use Cloth Napkins. Rather than letting my cloth napkins collect dust I decided to pull them out and start using them. I haven't purchased napkins since Christmas and I've only gone through a couple rolls of paper towels. I also try to save any napkins that we didn't use when we get take out or fast food. These make great napkins than can be thrown in you lunchbox or used for messy meals. If you like to sew, it's a breeze making your own. The hardest part is mitering the corners here's a great tutorial on how to make them.
3. Wash plastic utensils. My husband takes his lunch everyday to work and I usually send him with plastic utensils, that I just throw in the dishwasher when he gets home. This stretches the amount I plastic utensils I have to buy and I don't have to worry about our silverware getting misplaced. Once they are broken or cracked I just throw them in with the recycling.
4. Use our plates. There have been a few times over the last year when I have pulled out the paper plates but these times have been few and far between and I still have the same package I purchased last year. Rather than reaching for disposables we choose to use our plates, it doesn't take too much more work to throw them in the dishwasher along with the other dishes we're bound to have. There certainly is a time and place for disposables but we like to use them wisely.
5. Compost. Currently we do not compost, although we would love to. If we would be in one place long enough we would completely do this. We've done this in the past and you'll be surprised how much space rinds, vegetable peels, and eggshells add up. Here's a great website that provides some info on composting. Composting is a wonderful way to save space in your garbage can and will help enrich your soil over time. What a win win money saving solution.
For other great tips check out Works for Me Wednesday over at We are THAT family.