In today’s society, waste is a major problem. We might not like to admit it, but most of us throw away products worth hundreds of KGs every year. Whether it’s old clothes, leftover food, or broken electronics – we produce a lot of trash.
Although throwing away trash might seem harmless at first sight, it has to be understood that our waste production actually has a major influence on our environment. Regular waste that is stored in landfills pollutes the soil and the waste that is burned produces large amounts of CO2. And then we have not even talked about our chemical waste yet. Altogether, waste is a major problem in today’s society.
Luckily, it’s not that difficult for regular people like us to make a change. Just by taking a couple small steps, you can already make a major difference. And although we do not believe nor urge anybody to go completely zero waste, we do believe that we should be more aware of and careful with our waste production. Below, we have listed 5 simple steps that you can take to reduce your waste production. And although these steps won’t help you go completely zero waste, they do put you on the right track of living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
- Do not buy new clothes unless necessary
Did you know that people in the United States alone throw away more than 25 Billion pounds of clothing every single year? As a result, old clothes are among the largest polluters when it comes to human waste production. We throw away clothes because they break down or simply because we are not happy with the design anymore. And did you know that hot fashion items are often made of poor-quality on purpose? In today’s consumer society, companies do everything to have us running back at the stores to buy more of their (seemingly) cheap goods. So, how can we get around this problem?
To start off, it’s a good idea to go through your entire wardrobe to find out what clothes you no longer need or want. Once you have selected the clothes you can dispose of, remember not to throw them away. Instead, sell them online or donate them to others. Now, have a look at all the clothes you have left and try to match them together by making new outfit combinations. You’ll find that you have tons of possible clothing options available even with a limited amount of clothes. If you really are running out of clothes throughout the year, a good thing to do would be to shop for secondhand clothes. By doing so, you make sure that another person’s clothes do not end up in the trash. Added to that, it gives you a great opportunity to save some money!
- Reuse and recycle
Okay, we all know that it’s impossible to live a 100% zero waste lifestyle. No matter how hard we try, we always produce a little bit of trash. Luckily, this does not have to be a problem as there are many smart and environmentally friendly ways to deal with leftovers and trash.
The first thing to do when one of your items has broken down is to consider whether you can reuse it. When thinking about it, many products you have at home can actually be used for other things besides their main purpose. Take a broken t-shirt for example. You can cut it in pieces and keep the cloth for DIY ideas, sewing tasks, or simply use it as a cleaning cloth. Other items that can be easily reused are empty packaging materials. Empty glass jars and bottles, for example, can be used for storing leftover foods. Empty cookie tins and wooden boxes can be used for storing other items or for decoration purposes. Just because a project has lost its original purpose, does not mean it has become obsolete.
If an item really cannot be reused, then there is no other way than disposing of it. In such a case, the best thing you can do is to check whether your item can be recycled. Many metal, wooden, paper, and plastic product, for example, can be recycled and turned in to new goods. Leftover foods and green trash can be used for making compost. If we would just take a little bit of time to dispose of our products wisely, we can have a major positive influence on the environment.
- Eat less takeout food
Today’s technology-driven world makes life so easy for the most of us. We communicate through apps, buy groceries online, and no longer have to cook for ourselves as we can now get it delivered right to our doors. Yes – life has gotten much easier in the 21st century. But although life has become easier, it does not necessarily mean it has also become healthier and better for the environment. In fact, a simple act of laziness such as ordering food online has a major influence on our environment.
You may not have thought about it before, but most takeout foods come wrapped in multiple layers of plastic. It comes in a plastic container with plastic cutlery, plastic sauce packs, and an unnecessary single-use napkin that has been packed in an even more useless plastic wrapper. And if that was not enough, all this usually gets delivered in a neat plastic bag. Altogether, a single order of takeout food probably contains more waste than food! And then we have not even mentioned the CO2 yet that was produced by the delivery guy just bring you your food. So, if you want to live green, try to prepare your own food. Or if you really don’t have time, try to go out for dinner to an affordable local restaurant. By doing so, you can significantly cut down on your waste production.
- Stay away from plastic
One of the major polluters to our earth is plastic. Plastic is cheap, durable, and highly customizable. As a result, it can be turned into nearly anything. Ranging from plastic bags to packaging materials and cheap single-use items, in today’s world it seems difficult to get around the use of plastic.
Luckily, there are some very simple steps that we can take to reduce our plastic use and waste. Perhaps the easiest and most important step to take is to stop using plastic grocery bags. Instead, take your own linen bag and carry it along with you when you go grocery shopping. While you’re shopping, pay attention to the packaging materials used to store the products you wish to buy. Instead of products wrapped in plastic, try to purchase similar goods with a more sustainable packaging option. Glass jars and metal tins, for example, are green packaging materials that can be easily reused or recycled after usage. And while you’re at it, stop using plastic straws and use lighters that can be refilled, eat less gum, and purchase reusable diapers made from cloth.
- Cloth beats paper
Paper towels are a perfect example of a product that most of us have grown accustomed to, but are, in fact, completely unnecessary. Paper towels are not only a waste of money, they also are a major polluter to our environment. After all, they have only been designed for a single-time use. In fact, it is so bad that if every US citizen reduced their paper towel use by just one piece per day, the US would produce 571,230,00 pounds of waste less every year! Just imagine the difference we could make if we’d be rid of paper towels completely.
So, how do we cut down on the use of paper towels? Well, it’s easy! Simply buy yourself a pack of reusable cloth towels or washable rags that will do the dirty work for you. And, as mentioned earlier throughout this article, you can even make your own cloths by cutting up old clothes you no longer wear. You can use these cloth towels for virtually anything. Whether you use them for drying your hands, sniffing your nose, or cleaning off dust – these reusable cloths won’t let you down. Not only does the use of cloth towels reduce your waste production, it also helps you save significant amounts of money throughout the year.