It might be hard to imagine that cutting down on the amount of waste you create every day could make a meaningful difference, but small and simple lifestyle changes really do add up over time. While you don’t need to strive for a zero-waste lifestyle right off the bat, you can start reducing waste right away by taking the following steps.
Recycle everything you can
While many people already recycle at home and into available recycling bins while on-the-go, it’s easy to get a little careless and accidentally throw away a recyclable item or use a garbage bin when a recycling bin is not available. Others might not be properly educated on what is recyclable and what isn’t. Make it a point to learn everything you can about what can be recycled and to make sure that all of your recyclable materials reach the proper bin.
Food waste has received a lot of attention lately, and for good reason. When food waste ends up in the landfill, it isn’t able to break down into soil and instead releases methane, a powerful greenhouse gas. You can help divert food waste away from the landfill by composting at home and taking part in your municipality’s composting program or creating nutrient-rich soil for your own garden.
Carry reusable drinking containers
The use of disposable plastic bottles and disposable coffee cups is responsible for a great deal of the daily waste produced in the modern world. By purchasing reusable drinking containers, you’ll not only cut down on the amount of waste you produce, but you’ll save a significant amount of money in the long run. Many coffee chains will even offer you a discount if you come in with a thermos for your coffee or tea.
Say goodbye to plastic straws
We’ve come to expect them in so many of our beverages, but the minor convenience of single-use plastic straws just isn’t worth the resulting waste. The good news is that, if you need to use straws or if you simply prefer drinking through them, there are fantastic reusable glass and metal options available.
Use reusable shopping bags
Plastic bags, on top of contributing to landfills, are one of the main sources of marine pollution. Amassing a collection of reusable cotton or canvas shopping bags is relatively easy and inexpensive, and you’ll be able to use them for many years to come. The trick is to actually remember the bags when you leave for the store!
Opt for recyclable/compostable packaging
Practicing discernment in the type of packaging used for the products you buy will help reduce your waste and send a message to producers that they should pay attention to their packaging as well. Where possible and where your budget allows, try to opt for compostable packaging or at least for minimal recyclable packaging.
When you first start trying to reduce your daily waste, it will likely require a bit of extra effort and forethought. However, before very long, these small lifestyle changes will become second nature.