Updated: Jun 27, 2020
Being green is a big part of today’s media, more and more we are being urged to watch our waste and reduce our carbon foot print. Some believe climate change isn’t real (nice one Trump), however it is real, but don’t panic as there is still time to make some changes. When it comes to the environment there’s the familiar motto "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle." These three actions are easy to stick to. We are not trying to cram you with ways to live your life, we are just offering some easy ways you can cut down on your waste. So, we thought, what’s the right number of suggestions? 10? 20? Let’s meet in middle and give you 15 ways you can reduce your waste.
Pretty obvious to be fair, you would be surprised at how many people still don’t recycle. The EPA estimates that 75% of the American waste stream is recyclable, but only recycle about 30% of it. It’s easy to recycle these days, we are provided recycle bins and someone collects it, it couldn’t be easier.
2. AVOID FOOD WRAPPED IN PLASTIC
This is tough as most items come within plastic packaging. For fruits and vegetables try to buy loose without a plastic bag and simply wash when you get back home. Because most items come in plastic this can be a tricky one to avoid but just keep an eye out for when you can avoid plastic.
3. TAKE REUSABLE BAGS
Pretty much every supermarket is charging you for plastic bags these days, save yourself some money and waste by carrying some reusable bags for when you know you will be visiting the store. Even if its plastic bags you’ve previously bought last time a small change is better than none.
4. AVOID SINGLE USE ITEMS/FOODS
Batteries are the main culprits for this but there is an easy solution, buy rechargeable ones. Be mindful when using paper plates, plastic cutlery and straws etc. It's excessive and really not needed for the amount of waste they create.
5. GET YOUR OWN REUSABLE BOTTLE
Buying water in a single use plastic bottle is just shit, again this is just creating waste that could easily be avoided. Purchasing a metal water bottle will not only save you money but will keep your water cooler for longer during the day. The same method applies when visiting a coffee shop, bring a travel mug and ask the barista to put your coffee in it instead of a Starbucks single use cup with your name misspelled.
6. DITCH THE STRAWS
The less I say about this the better, however, a lot of companies are switching to paper straws which can be composted so there is light at the end of the tunnel. If you really are dead set on needing to drink from a straw then purchase a one-off metal one and simply bring that with you.
7. THRIFT SHOP/CHARITY SHOP
Thrift stores I feel get a lot of stick; people seem put off by purchasing clothes previous worn by another human being. You can really get some decent clothes for a fraction of the price, give it a wash and it’s all yours, no one will know it’s “used”. Also don’t forget to donate clothes rather than simply throwing them away, one’s trash is another one’s treasure.
8. REPAIR ITEMS BEFORE PURCHASING A NEW ONE
Explore your DIY skills and fix items rather than chucking and replacing. There are many tutorials online on how to repair items, I mean know your limit if your item is trashed beyond repair then get rid of it. This tip especially applies to phones, a lot of people will replace phones once the screen is smashed for example, why? Get it replaced for the fraction of the price a new phone would cost.
9. BUY REDUCED ITEMS AT THE SUPERMARKET
Buying reduced items at the supermarket save you money but will be more than likely thrown into the bin at the end of the day thus creating more waste.
10. CUT DOWN ON ELECTRICITY USE
If you’re not using it simply unplug it. Unplugging items around the home will save you money on your energy bill for sure. Putting appliances on standby uses unnecessary energy and costs you more in the long run, you may be surprised at how much you could save by consuming less energy within the home.
11. STOP JUNK MAIL AND PAPER BILLING
Nothing worse than coming home to junk mail jammed in the letter box. Most junk mail has a free number you can call, give them a ring and ask them to take you off their mailing list. As for paper billing, it's 2019, get your bills sent to you by email.
12. RECYCLE AND REUSE FOOD JARS FOR STORAGE AND REFILLS
Ever drank a beer out of a jam jar? It's perfect for any hipster with that edge, however, you can use old jars for things such as smoothies, overnight oats or any sauce leftovers, use your imagination. If that’s still not your thing just make sure you recycle.
13. MEAL PLAN
Planning your meals for the week will not only save you money but will also save waste as you will only buy what you need from the supermarket.
14. BUY THINGS IN BULK
Buying in bulk overall saves on packaging, like for example toilet roll, we all use it.
15. STOP BUYING STUFF
If you don’t need it, don’t buy it, just appreciate what you already have, we live in a world where we buy in such excess. I’m not saying convert to minimalism however don’t fall for the latest bull that advertisers are throwing down our throats.