On Earth Day, it’s important to take a minute to think about ways that we, individually can reduce waste. I’m sharing 5 easy ways to reduce waste.
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how can we reduce waste at home
There are so many small and large ways we can reduce waste at home. A few simple ones to start with are:
- Shop secondhand
- Invest in reusable containers to store your food. Glass jars are great because they’re easily accessible and relatively inexpensive. You can even clean out and use glass jars from condiments and other food items.
- Throw compostable items in the yard waste bin (ie: produce, egg shells, etc). Search compostable items + your county to learn what you can include in your area.
- Learn what goes in the recycling bin, garbage, and compost/yard waste bin. We all come from different backgrounds & understandings when it comes to recycling/composting, and that’s ok, but take it upon yourself to learn exactly what you can & can’t throw in whichever bins you have. This is a simple way you can reduce waste and send your trash to it’s proper destination. Again, look up your region and company specific services.
If you have the means, here are a few of my favorite shops/resources
- Hello Bulk Market (a zero-low waste market in Salt Lake City)
- Bulk sections at Sprouts, Winco, Harmon’s, and other grocery stores
- Wild Minimalist, they also have a great blog with tips to reduce waste
- Marley’s Monsters (I love their duster, unpaper towels, and sponge)
are there any easy changes to reduce waste?
Yes absolutely. Start small. Learn how to properly dispose of trash, shop secondhand when you can, and try any of these other tips. Living more sustainably can seem overwhelming, but don’t feel like you have to do everything. Try a few things and see what feels doable to you and go from there.
here are my favorite and easy 5 ways to reduce waste
- buy larger quantities when you can. Instead of buying small portions of a product, buy the larger ones. For example, if you can, buy the largest bottles of shampoo and conditioner at the store, or buy the largest bottles of condiments. Yes they do cost more, but more often than not, they cost less per ounce, so you’re actually saving money because it’ll last longer and you’re saving by using less packaging. Same goes for those individual cups of yogurt. Yes absolutely, they’re convenient, but they create a lot of waste. Weigh out your individual pros/cons before choosing that single serve product.
- Wash plastic bags. You will have to buy thicker bags, I’ve had some that melt, but many can be washed again and reused. Just turn them inside out, and wash with warm-hot soapy water and let air dry. If you want to take it to the next level, invest in reusable bags, I LOVE my stasher bags. They’re made with silicone, they can be washed in the dishwasher, you can even use them in an instant pot and to cook food! how cool is that?!
- Think before you buy. Whether it’s food, clothes, housewares, whatever. Take a second to ask yourself if you’ll actually eat/use it, and how long you think it’ll last. Ask around, peruse reviews, you do you. I always rolled my eyes when I’d hear my mom say “eh, it’s not better than what I have at home” but now I always ask myself this when I’m deciding whether or not to buy something. Is it better than what I already have, or I’ll ask myself how I plan to use said item. This has helped me buy less, which keeps my apartment less cluttered, my bank account ready for purchases that I really want to make, and me actually using the things I have.
- Get a reusable water bottle & drink tap water. Water is safe to drink in most cities in the US at least. Flavor can be another story, but even there there are a couple filter options. I think having a reusable water bottle on hand is one of the easiest things we can do. Keep an old plastic water bottle, buy a sustainable one, whatever you can do, try it out. Take it to work, school, in the car, to restaurants, to move, travel, wherever you may need it. Unless it’s a nice sit down restaurant, where there are glass glasses on the table, you can save the plastic by just filling up, or asking to fill up your water bottle. Plus you can keep drinking great tasting water from restaurants even after you leave.
- Make clean out the fridge meals each week. These types of meals have ended up being my favorites. It forces me to get creative with flavorings, and allows me to stretch my food a bit longer saving me money, time, and groceries. Save those leftover veggies, grains, & proteins and throw them together to make a delicious lunch or dinner. For example, I had leftover asparagus, leeks, pasta, pork, and my favorite sharp cheddar cheese. Each was from a different meal the week before. But I combined it all into a really tasty & super easy pasta dish. Even though I originally made the pork, marinated in a citrus glaze, it tasted really great with the fresh spring veggies I had in the fridge. Try it, it’s fun! I recorded a video on this recently, check it out here.
BONUS TIP: shop in the bulk sections. 1, spices in the bulk section are so much less expensive. I can refill a bottle of cinnamon or herbs for less than a dollar usually, when it costs at least $4 to buy a whole new bottle. Bonus points for bringing your own baggie or spice jar to get refilled. Also, you can try certain foods that you’re not sure about. ie: you want to try farro because you’re intrigued by my white bean & farro bowl (don’t blame you, it’s delish), but you don’t know if you like farro or not. Buy just a bit in the bulk section so you can see if you like it without as much of a commitment.
These tips are meant to be ideas, I never want to make anyone feel guilty about what they’re buying or throwing away, but take these ideas as ways to get creative and see what you can do to help protect Mother Earth. And also, understand that you won’t always be able to follow these & other tips 100% of the time, even if you really want to. Situations come up, life gets in the way, you forget. It all happens, and it’s ok.
- what are your fave easy ways to reduce waste?
- are any of these tips doable for you?