The trick to knowing how to decrease your trash output - is actually know what you are throwing away!
Do I mean NOT throwing your trash out for a whole month so you can lay it all out in the driveway? Nope, sure don't. All you need is some paper, a pen, and a clipboard. (Or the notes app on your phone, or google sheets - you get the picture.)
Dump all the trash in one can-full out and make a list of what you are throwing away. You can use tally marks for repeated items. (Think Qtips, bottles etc)
Do this for a week, or a month. Once you have all your data - organize it by frequency. (Did you use google sheets? If so, this part is a total breeze for you smarty pants)
Now you know what you can reduce to make the biggest impact. Why is this important? Because going zero waste can be overwhelming if you go too fast, but a deliberate foray into waste reduction is setting yourself up for success.
Are you a fan of instant gratification? Yeah, me too. So, start at the top of that list and get to swapping.
Is it plastic bags? BOOM reusable tote bags.
Paper towels? HELLOOOOO UnPaper towels!
Food scraps? Composting here you come.
Sparkling water cans? Try out a soda stream!
Once you are in the groove, repeat the trash audit a couple times a year so you know what to tackle next. Little changes can make a big difference, even when we are living in a flawed system. If you are ever feeling discouraged - just remember, we don't need a few people doing zero waste perfectly - we just need a lot of people doing it impoerfectly.