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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Wenzel

Sustainable Prepping: Reducing Trash in a SHTF Situation- Start TODAY!

Updated: Feb 2, 2023

Sustainable prepping and trash maintenance go hand in hand when surviving a SHTF situation. Trash can cause issues like rodents, bugs, and even unpleasant odors. Waste can also out you as a prepper when NO ONE needs to know this information. During the early days of the pandemic, trash removal was, in fact, LIMITED. Thrift stores were closed indefinitely, burning trash was temporarily banned, and our local dump was not taking certain items because they were deemed "non-essential business." If sustainable preparedness is your thing, you've come to the right place!

1. Avoid bringing as much in the first place. Online shopping and prepackaged foods create a lot of trash. If you can shop at a bulk food store that allows you to bring your containers, you're in luck here. Even if a store like this isn't in your area, you can get reusable bags for produce everywhere.

2. Cook foods with whole ingredients. Boxed foods create a lot of extra trash so opt for home-cooked meals with fewer ingredients.

3. Make your laundry soap! All the ingredients you need to make laundry soap come in boxes or paper packaging. Refill your old laundry soap containers to put the new soap into, and you'll save a LOT of trash over time.

4. Buy bar soaps- laundry, body, and hair soaps all come in bar form. Try them out! They also last a long time and save a TON of space as they are so small. Bar soaps are a great option for the apartment prepper with limited space!

5. Repackage foods in reusable containers while trash is still available. While it may not be feasible to repackage all the food in your home each shopping trip, you can still reduce garbage by putting cereal, pasta, and even rice into jars or reusable containers. Trash or recycle the waste immediately while services are still available. Repackaging foods in glass or thick containers also help prevent a number of pantry bugs and rodents from getting into your stash. It's a double win!

5. Grow a garden and preserve foods in reusable packaging like jars and bags. If you can't grow a garden, stock up on veggies that are in season and can or preserve them. Often times, there are bumper crops of certain produce so take advantage of the seasonal deals.

6. Burn trash! In a SHTF scenario, burning might not be an option, but it might be worth a try if you can have a small campfire in your backyard. Avoid burning during the day if possible, and only burn things like paper and cardboard so that the ashes are compostable in the garden. This option might be a stretch for some, but it may be the perfect path for you.

7. COMPOST! Create a space in your yard if you can save food scraps. Team up with neighbors with gardens, and you will make many new friends. Even if you don't have a garden, some neighbors do. They will likely welcome your compost. Ask first! Compostable toothbrushes, paper plates, utensils, and cups are excellent prep ideas.

8. Use concentrated cleaners. Add the water yourself and save a ridiculous amount of money. Yes, you will still have trash, but a gallon of concentrated cleaner could easily last 1-2 years!

9. Deal with your trash now and not later. During the early phases of the pandemic, trash removal and thrift store drop-offs were limited or non-existing. I'll never forget the massive dinosaur of a TV we had to throw away. The dump wouldn't take it! It was non-essential business. Here I am thinking, yes it is essential! It is a fire hazard because it's blocking an exit! To add to the chaos, we were doing home remodeling, and our garage was filled with materials. Thrift stores in my area were CLOSED. Period. I guess what I'm getting at is, take care of it yesterday! Don't allow donations to pile up; if necessary, make that trip to the dump now. Don't leave ANYTHING around that you don't need.

10. If you drink anything in an aluminum can, such as beer, sparkling water, or soda, consider purchasing a can crusher!

How are you maintaining trash in your home now? What would you do if an emergency scenario limited trash removal?

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