If you are anything like me, you love this big beautiful planet that we live on. So we have to put in some effort to give it the love and respect that it deserves! Over the past 2 years I have upped my effort to eliminate how much waste I am producing. Now, I know that a lot of people say or feel like "it doesn't matter anyways, what one person does won't change anything." But that is so wrong!! It all matters. One person doing their part has a bigger positive outcome than you realize.
I put together a list of simple things that you can change right now to reduce your household waste. These 5 things require minimal effort up front but provide a huge payoff in the end. I can tell you that I practice each of these things in my own house and have significantly been able to reduce how much garbage we produce. In fact, most times I only take the garbage out every other week and it is always pretty empty. It sure puts a smile on my face when my recycling bin is 3x as full as the garbage can.
So here you go....
1. Replace paper products with cloth. You can easily replace paper towels with cloth towels and paper napkins with cloth napkins. Both will cost very little money upfront, but end up saving you a ton of money in the long run. Plus, there is the more important benefit that it is helping to save the planet :-)
We started doing this in the past year and it has made a huge difference. I do still keep some paper towels on hand just in case, but otherwise I buy them maybe once a year. No more cleaning the house with a whole roll of paper towels, just use the cloth towel instead and throw in the washer once it is soiled. I get a fair amount of use out of each towel before I have to wash it. Use a natural cleaner and you don't need to worry about harsh chemicals ruining the towels. My favorite one is from a local small business called simply pure- check them out here!
2. Stop using ziplock bags. A simple household item that every pantry probably holds, but these can easily be replaced with glass containers to store snacks, sandwiches or leftover veggies. I also find mason jars to be very versatile and use them often. Added bonus, when you use glass containers you don't need to worry about whatever was in the baggie getting smushed! You can also find re-useable bags which are machine washable, but I personally prefer the containers. If you do find yourself needing to use a ziplock bag for something, be sure to rinse it out and get another use out of it!
3. Re-useable shopping bags. They have been around for a long time now but most people still are not using them on a regular basis. I mean, how many times have you been guilty of running out of the house and forgetting them?? I sure know I do that! Work on making it a habit of putting them right back into your trunk after you unload the groceries, that way you will never forget them again.
4. Learn what you can and can't recycle and be diligent about it. For instance, did you know your recyclables must be completely free of food waste? How about that you cannot recycle plastic grocery bags (there are special bins at the grocery store you can put them in though)? Make the extra effort to follow the recycling rules and it will ensure your waste gets where it needs to go. Try purchasing a nice looking recycling container that you can keep right in the kitchen, that way it is easily accessible. I got mine at Ikea :-)
5. Only buy what you will eat at the grocery store. Food waste has always been particularly important to me, maybe it is because I came from a family who rarely threw anything out. Sit down at the beginning of the week and make a grocery list and meal plan. This way you know exactly what you need for the week and how much of it. Don't just plan out dinners- think about if you will eat the leftovers again for dinner another night, lunches and even what to pack for snacks. Again, a little extra work up front means not having the waste in the long run. Plus, it makes you feel more efficient during the hectic work week!
Of course, there are so many ways you can reduce, reuse and recycle but I hope this short and sweet list has given you some ideas of easy ways to do your part.
Comment below with your own favorite things to do!
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