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.
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.
Take note of your own waste habits
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.
Stop using plastic bags
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.
Use a glass or metal water bottle
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.
Start shopping at a refill store
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 and solely focuses on reusable bags. 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 or limit their packaging waste as much as possible. Try to prioritize buying things that are in cardboard or glass or in cans because they’re recyclable. Even using reusable containers goes a long way in consuming less plastic produce bags and single-use plastics.
Donate your old items
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. This is one of the most simple ways of reducing waste that has been going on for years.
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 sturdy and better quality than new flat-pack furnishings that you find in a shop.
Shopping thrift is an easy way to buy new-to-you clothes without breaking the bank. You can find pieces with unique designs and styles that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. By shopping secondhand, you can save yourself money and help reduce waste at the same time!
Wear more layers to stay warm
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.
See Related: Best Compostable Plates
Compost your food waste
Composting is a great way to reduce food waste that ends up in landfills. Composting breaks down food scraps, like vegetable peelings or coffee grounds, and other organic waste into nutrient-rich soil that can be used in gardens or lawns.
Not only does this help reduce the amount of waste that goes to landfills, but it also provides valuable nutrients for plants and helps them grow. It’s an easy and natural way to reduce our carbon footprint and help create more sustainable communities.
To start composting, all you need is a compost bin or container, a shovel or pitchfork, and some organic material such as leaves, grass clippings, food scraps, or fruit and veggie peels. Once you have your materials gathered, simply layer them in the bin so the top layer has more green matter than brown matter.
Over time your compost will break down into rich soil that you can use in your garden. So don’t throw away those food scraps – turn them into something beneficial with composting!
See Related: How Does Saving Water Help Climate Change?
Use silicone mats
Silicone mats are incredibly useful and versatile tools that are gaining in popularity as people become more aware of the need to reduce waste.
Silicone is a strong, heat-resistant material that is perfect for use in the kitchen. It can be used for a variety of tasks from baking to roasting, and it’s easy to care for. The mats are non-stick, making them easy to clean up after use. They also offer superior insulation compared to other materials, meaning food cooks more evenly and quickly.
But perhaps the best benefit of silicone mats is their ability to reduce waste by eliminating the need for parchment paper or aluminum foil. You can use it all the time without worrying about running out or having to buy new supplies every time you cook something. Silicone mats are an essential tool for anyone looking to reduce their environmental impact while still being able to enjoy delicious meals.
Dispose of e-waste responsibly
Disposing of e-waste is an important part of responsible living. Electronic waste, or e-waste, encompasses a wide variety of devices and components that contain hazardous materials like heavy metals, toxic chemicals, and plastics that can be detrimental to the environment if disposed of improperly.
Properly disposing of e-waste involves taking it to an appropriate recycling facility or donating it for reuse. These methods offer a safe and responsible alternative to simply dumping e-waste in landfills where these dangerous materials can leech into the soil and groundwater.
If you have old electronics you no longer need, consider researching recycling centers in your area or donating them to charity before throwing them away in a landfill. Doing so will help ensure that electronic waste is disposed of responsibly and kept out of our ecosystems.
Plant your own garden and grow your own veggies and fruits.
Growing your own garden is a great way to reduce your water usage, save money, eat healthier, and reduce your carbon footprint.
You can get started by planting seeds or seedlings at home. The more you plant the better it will be for you in the future because it helps with saving water and keeping them healthy.
When growing your own plants or fruits/vegetables they require less water than if you were buying them from the store so once again it will help save money in the long run because of this feature alone you will hopefully not waste as much water.
Use cloth diapers instead of disposable ones.
If you’re a parent, you’ve probably heard that cloth diapers are better for the environment and your baby’s skin. But did you know they’re also cheaper? A family who uses cloth diapers will save $2,000–$3,000 over two years compared to buying disposables.
Cloth diapers are easier to use and clean than disposable ones as well. Plus they’re more comfortable—they wick moisture away from baby’s skin instead of trapping it as disposables do. They come in a variety of sizes (from newborn through potty training) so they grow with your child, which means more bang for your buck over time!
Live with Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle Everyday
Reduce, Reuse and then Recycle is the way to go when it comes to living a greener and more sustainable life. Reducing your consumption of products is the first step in this process. Buying less not only saves money but also helps reduce the amount of waste going into landfills.
Reusing items such as clothing or furniture is another great way to reduce waste and save money on new items. Lastly, recycling should be done to make sure that materials are properly disposed of and reused in another form.
This helps keep hazardous materials out of landfills while also preserving natural resources like trees and water. By following these simple steps, you can help create a healthier environment for everyone around you.
Benefits of Reducing Your Waste
It makes our food safer
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.
Conserves natural resources
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.
Why is reducing waste important?
By reducing your waste, you are reducing the pressures on our planet. By changing your patterns of consumption, you’re also making a difference in your own health and well-being. Reducing waste not only helps you save money, but it also brings other benefits like improved mental health and reduced stress levels. As a bonus, it will help build community awareness about the importance of sustainability.
What does waste reduction mean?
Waste reduction means conserving resources by reducing the amount of waste that is produced. It can involve reducing, reusing, and recycling materials.