Waste Footprint: What is it and 9 Ways to Reduce it

Humanity's ecological footprint

Reducing your waste footprint is an important step in creating a healthier planet for current and future generations. There are so many simple ways you can reduce your ecological footprint. Composting with an electric composter like Lomi and choosing reusable instead of single-use plastics are just some ways to lower your environmental impact.

Here's what we'll be talking about in this article in case you want to jump ahead:

Before we learn more about how you can reduce your waste footprint, we should get a better understanding of what your waste footprint is and why it's important to make improvements. Interested in learning how to lower your carbon footprint? We have an in-depth article on reducing your carbon footprint that will also save you some money.

What is your waste footprint?

Global footprint network natural resources

Your waste footprint is the amount of waste that you produce each day. This includes the waste we create from food, clothing, packaging and materials, tech devices, etc. Everything that you do creates some sort of waste in one way or another. It becomes a problem when we consume more resources than our ecosystems can generate.

Curious about the size of your ecological footprint? Check out this nifty calculator by the Global Footprint Network. Your waste footprint is calculated based on your lifestyle, carbon emissions, and the amount of waste you generate.

Why it’s important to improve your waste footprint

Waste footprints raw materials

The average person in the United States generates an average of one ton of waste every year with just their lifestyle choices alone. According to the Global Waste Index, the US has the highest amount of waste out of 36 of the largest countries in the world. The US (and many other countries) is running an ecological deficit or using more resources than what their ecosystems can regenerate.

So why's it necessary to cut back on your ecological footprint? There are several reasons why you should reduce your overall ecological footprint. It reduces greenhouse gas emissions, prevents pollution, saves energy, reduces the amount of waste requiring recycling or landfills, saves money, and helps sustain the environment for future generations. It's a great way to reduce climate change.

How to reduce your waste footprint: 9 simple changes to make

There are a few simple changes that you can make to reduce your ecological footprint and they don't require any major life changes. These small changes can have a big impact on the health of our planet.

1. Plan your meals

Meal plan environmental impact

Ever go to the grocery store with no list and wind up spending way too much? Or maybe you end up with a bunch of expired food at the end of the week because you bought too much. Meal planning and shopping with a grocery list ensures that you won't overbuy. This means less food waste at the end of the week because you have a plan for everything you're buying. It also saves you money!

Pro tip: Before you shop, take stock of what you have in your fridge, freezer, and pantry. This way you aren't buying more of something you already have and using up what you have before buying new.

2. Compost your food scraps

Human footprint composting

No matter what you eat, you are bound to have food waste. Instead of throwing your vegetable scraps and coffee grounds in the trash, turn them into nutrient-rich fertilizer for your plants. Composting is good for the environment, reduces your waste footprint, and feeds your plants. You can create a simple compost pile in your backyard or create a compost bin out of a storage bin, it doesn't have to be complicated. Check out our guide on composting for beginners to get you started.

Pro tip: If you don't have a lot of space, try Lomi the electric kitchen composter. It sits right on your counter and with the push of a button, you have nutrient-rich dirt for your plants in just a few hours.

Lomi by Pela



Lomi allows you to turn food waste into plant-ready nutrients in under 24 hours. Boost your plants while reducing your waste.

3. Swap out your disposables

Ecological footprint water bottle

You likely use some disposable items like plastic bags, straws, face wipes, coffee cups, or plastic bottles in your everyday life. To lower your ecological footprint, swap these out for reusable items like silicone baggies, silicone or metal straws, and a reusable water bottle or coffee cup. There are so many different zero-waste kitchen products, toiletries, and other products to help you lower your waste footprint.

Pro tip: Don't feel the need to change everything out at once. You can start with one item in your home at a time and slowly build your zero-waste collection.

4. Stop impulse buying

Global scale impulse shopping

We've all been there: you see this really awesome thing and you just HAVE to have it! But do you really need it? Sometimes we think we really need or want something only to get it and decide, for one reason or another, that it really doesn't work for us. And then what happens? You throw it away. Stop wasting your time and your money by cutting out impulse buys. Make a conscious effort to take the time to think about what you're buying.

Pro tip: If there is something you see online that you think you want or need, put it in your cart and leave it for a few days. If after a few days you still want it, buy it.

5. Avoid unnecessary packaging

Waste footprints grocery shopping

So much of the waste generated by people comes from unnecessary packaging. From your fruits and vegetables wrapped in plastic to your packages that are way bigger than necessary with tons of plastic padding. Think about the things you purchase each day and how you can cut back on packaging waste.

Pro tip: One way to avoid excess packaging is to bring your own. Find your local bulk store and bring your own containers, bring reusable grocery bags to the store, or put your produce right in the basket to avoid extra plastic waste. This is a great way to cut back on waste and could help you save money.

6. Reuse or repair

Reuse plastic containers environmental footprints

We live in a world where if something breaks, often we toss it and buy another one. Instead of tossing items, first see if they can be fixed, reused, or given to someone else. You might even find some creative ideas for using items you would have normally just sent to the landfill. You can make plant holders with old plastic bottles, have your shoes resoled, and a variety of other items have a lot more life in them if you get creative.

Pro tip: Reuse your empty glass bottles and jars in a variety of ways. Create cool art or reuse old pasta jars as drinking glasses or store your bulk items in them.

7. Recycle the right way

Recycling aluminum cans and glass

We all know that recycling is a great way to lessen our carbon footprint, but did you know there's a good chance you're doing it wrong? If certain rules aren't followed, it could result in a whole batch of recycling having to be trashed. Remove caps from plastic bottles, make sure your items are rinsed and don't put broken glass in the recycling bin.

Pro tip: The EPA has a great breakdown of how to recycle common items. Be sure to check with the recycling department in your area to find out what items they accept and can recycle.

8. Buy second-hand

Resource use buying second-hand

Creating new products uses up a lot of natural resources and creates a lot of waste. Buying things second-hand is an environmentally friendly and sustainable way to give things a second chance at life. Creating new products requires not only the materials used for the item itself but other precious resources in the production of the product. Choosing second-hand items means the item already exists so there is no additional waste generated.

Pro tip: Instead of buying something brand new, check online marketplaces as well as second-hand stores to see if they have it first. You can find a lot of great deals on clothing, furniture, and a whole lot of other useful items.

9. Go paperless

No paper bills

An easy way to reduce your ecological footprint with very little effort is to opt to get your bills and receipts online. Most utilities have options on their websites to choose paperless billing, some even have rewards for doing so. It only takes the click of a button and all of your bills will be sent to your email which makes them easier to keep track of as well.

Pro tip: A lot of stores have the option of getting your receipt printed or emailed. Choose email the next time you get the chance. You save paper and won't have to dig through stacks of paper if you have to make a return.

These are just some of the many ways to reduce your waste footprint. We hope it was helpful in getting you started on a more eco-friendly lifestyle. If you really want to reduce your ecological footprint, invest in a Lomi electric composter. You'll significantly cut back on your food waste and lower that ecological footprint of yours. Users love how little effort it takes to compost their food scraps and the big impact it has on the planet.

Written by: Sarah Kendal