If you’re looking to become low or zero waste, it can be difficult to know where to start and what options are available to you. Plastic waste is one of the largest waste problems. There is a growing debate about what to do with plastic waste and how we can have a life free of plastic waste.
Plastic is not good for our health, but it is also not good for the environment. It’s also one of the most common things that we use and dispose of, which means in many cases it’s easy to reduce the amount we use.
In a rapidly urbanizing world, we are increasingly aware of the need to reduce our reliance on plastic, and we also want to make sure that what we do use is reusable and sustainable.
It is a big problem. Plastic is used in every stage of the manufacturing process, from the raw materials to the finished product.
Table of Contents
- Easy Ways To Reduce Waste Today
- Start recycling
- Take note of your own waste habits
- Stop using plastic bags
- Use a glass or metal water bottle
- Start shopping at a refill store
- Donate your old items
- Buy second hand
- Wear more layers to stay warm
- Benefits of Reducing Your Waste
- It makes our food safer
- Conserves natural resources
- Reduces landfill
- Saves energy
Easy Ways To Reduce Waste Today
This is a list of things you can start to do now that are sustainable and could even save you money.
Visit your local council’s website and learn more about your local recycling program. Find out exactly what goes in the landfill bin and what can go in your recycling bins. There should be a list of what you can put in the recycling and what state it needs to be in.
Take the time to properly sort your waste, and you’ll quickly begin to reduce the number of items that go into landfills and can be reused.
Sometimes you won’t realize your own habits. Try to go through your own garbage and your
recycling bin and you can even sort it in different piles and just have a look at what’s in there. It’s highly likely that something has been miscategorized, for example, paper bags.
You’ll also get a better idea of where your garbage is coming from once you know how to properly dispose of your garbage and you know how much garbage you’re producing.
Avoid using plastic grocery bags! Plastic bags are one of the most common types of waste that many people create, and they are also one of the most harmful. Plastic bags will not easily break down once they are disposed of, and can cause damage to animals and the environment.
An alternative option for using plastic shopping bags would be to reuse the shopping bags that you do have until they break. Simply buy some canvas or rope bags to carry your groceries around in.
A lot of people buy a single-use water bottle and dispose of it after a single-use, which is very wasteful. Instead, use a metal bottle that you can just rinse out after every use.
Plastic bottles are not great for your health or the environment: they can release chemicals into the water, and they will pollute our oceans and rivers as they will take hundreds of years to break down.
If you buy bottled water for your home, you could try water filters and a jug to help to clear your drinking water.
Another disposable product that a lot of us are using every single day is coffee cups from a cafe. Despite the fact that they look like they are paper cups, they’re often lined with plastic which means that they’re essentially not able to be recycled. Get a thermos coffee cup to carry around with you, cafes even often charge you less for not taking a plastic cup!
You could even carry a food container and some folding cutlery in case you visit a takeaway place, so that way they may not need to give it to you wrapped in plastic.
Instead of buying your produce at a supermarket, buy your vegetables and dried foods at a zero-waste store, which aims to sell food without plastic wrapping. You can buy the food in bulk using your own bags and containers, which is a really great way to reduce the amount of packaging that you’re consuming.
See if you can find a zero-waste store or if there are any local farmers’ markets to buy fresh and local produce. Eco-conscious blog Pick Ethical has created a directory of zero waste stores to help you find one. If you don’t have anywhere nearby that’s okay!
Just shop around and try to choose as many fruits and vegetables that don’t have packaging.
Try to prioritize buying things that are in cardboard or glass or in cans because they’re recyclable.
Instead of throwing away old furniture, clothes, toys, and other unwanted belongings, donate or sell any good items. Things you may find useless could be worth some money to someone else!
There are a lot of apps to help you sell your second-hand items, but if you’d rather give to charity there are many local shops that will take donations.
On the other hand, buying second-hand items will help you save money and waste. There are a lot of online thrift stores to help you find good quality branded second-hand clothes like Thrift Plus.
You could also find used furniture on the Facebook marketplace, which could even be more sturdy and better quality than new flat pack furnishings that you find in a shop.
Living a zero-waste lifestyle isn’t just about the things that you buy at the supermarket! Avoid wasting energy and save money on your bills by using less gas or electricity.
Try layering up before turning on the heating, which will save you a lot of money and will most likely keep you warm.
If you can help it, keep your heating off in late spring, summer and Autumn, and if it gets cold simply just put on some more socks or an extra jumper.
The world produces more than 300 million tonnes of plastic each year, and as much as 12 million tonnes of it ends up in our oceans. A lot of that plastic is food packaging. It may seem harmless, but it can be toxic. Plastic isn’t biodegradable, and it can stay in the environment for hundreds of years.
In fact, when most of that plastic ends up in the ocean, it breaks into tiny pieces, into what are called microplastics.
These small pieces are then consumed and enter the food chain, which eventually ends up on our dinner plate… Consequently, we can be exposed to potentially harmful chemicals.
Producing new materials requires the use of natural resources like oil and water. We can stop using as many natural resources by recycling and reusing what we already have. Natural resources are non-renewable and we will run out if we keep using them at the rate we are now.
Reducing the amount we dispose of will conserve the amount of space we use up in landfill sites. Plastic can take up to 400 years to break down in a landfill site, and even then it can leave toxic substances such as cadmium.
According to the University of Colorado, recycling one aluminum can will save enough energy to power a television for two hours. Manufacturing products and creating packaging to put the products in creates greenhouse gases, which contribute to climate change.