Trash happens. Unless you opt for a radical waste-free lifestyle, that is. But if you value other commitments over the waste-free lifestyle, you'll occasionally find yourself with an item that can't be re-used, recycled, upcycled, donated, composted, or woven into a floor rug. Here are three tips for greening your trash disposal habits to minimize the environmental impact of these forays into the world of landfill use.

1. Use green bags

Of course it doesn't matter what the literal color of your bags is, but did you know that "green" trash bags with minimal environmental impact are easily available now? You can find bags made with recycled material or opt for bags that will break down easily in the landfill. Ideally, though, your "green" bags should both degrade easily in landfill conditions and close the loop by using recycled material.

2. Keep it safe

One of the reasons landfills are so hazardous is that people don't follow guidelines for hazardous waste disposal. This may sometimes be because they don't realize that what they're throwing away is hazardous waste. You realize that batteries shouldn't be thrown out with the regular trash, right? But take a look at this list of dangerous items that often make their way to landfills:

  • Cell phones
  • Other electronics (making up about 70% of hazardous waste)
  • Aerosol cans (yes, this includes whipped cream cans)
  • Fertilizer
  • Motor oil and antifreeze
  • Paint
  • Cleaners such as toilet bowl cleaners

Because these mistakes so often happen, it's important to think twice about anything you throw away and look it up if you're not sure whether it's considered hazardous waste.

3. Select a green trash company

When you do require waste removal, you have the option of shopping around for an eco-friendly company, especially if you live in an area without municipal trash pickup. Whether your situation calls for residential-sized trash cans or larger roll-off dumpsters, be sure to select a company that minimizes its impact on the environment with eco-friendly fuel and that encourages and facilitates recycling. Other green business practices to look for include:

  • Paperless billing
  • Using green energy
  • Educating customers on eco-friendly lifestyles

Partnering with your trash removal company this way can help you take better control of the effect your trash has on the environment.

As you can see, these three tips can help you minimize the environmental impact of your trash even as you send it to your landfill. When used in cooperation with good recycling habits, these tips will help you live a green lifestyle every day.