The key to reducing the waste in your life is patience and grace. Whether a zero-waste lifestyle is your goal or you are just trying to do better, establishing new habits doesn’t happen overnight. If you try to do too much too quickly, you are likely to fall short of your expectations and you might feel defeated. Everyone has to start somewhere. Any contribution to waste reduction is better than none.
Reducing your wastes doesn’t mean you have to spend a ton of money on fancy products. It does require that you be more intentional about the waste you do produce. You also don’t have to live a completely depraved life in order to reduce waste. Some of that comes with perspective.
Cook At Home
By eating at home, you avoid all of the packaging involved with takeout and fast food. It is fun to discover new recipes and can bring families and friends closer together. Channel your inner chef and you might find that at-home meals are better than their fast food variants anyway. They are often healthier and more budget-friendly. When serving a well-prepared meal, make sure to use real dishes and utensils, and consider composting any scraps. Leftovers often make a wonderful and quick lunch for the next day.
Visit The Library
Libraries are wonderful resources that are often under-appreciated. If you are an avid reader, constantly buying new books can be expensive and wasteful. Visiting your local library is a great way to save money, reduce waste, and feed your love for books. Many libraries even welcome book suggestions. Librarians can offer reading recommendations, and you may even be able to join a book club. If the library is not your style, you can also reduce waste by purchasing used books or swapping with friends and family.
Stop Buying Paper Towels
Dish towels and old rags can often replace paper towels fairly easily. When old shirts and washcloths are beyond use, retire them for use as cleaning towels. Do an experiment. Avoid purchasing paper towels for at least a month. You might be surprised how easy the transition is.
Say No to Disposable Plastic
Stay away from disposable plastic like straws, plastic bags, and water bottles. There are often alternatives to these wasteful products that don’t require an additional purchase. Bring a cup from home or reuse a glass jar and fill it with water from the sink. Smaller purchases can be tucked into a purse or backpack. You don’t really need a straw in most instances.
Reducing the waste you produce is more about shifting your habits than about spending money. Be more intentional about the products you choose to bring into your life and pay attention to the items being tossed in your garbage bin. With a little imagination, you could decrease the amount of garbage you create and help the environment.
Narrator: This blog was thoughtfully written by Amy Gravlee. You can find her on Instagram @amygrvl.