We’ve heard it before; reduce, reuse, recycle. It’s something that has been instilled in us from a young age. However, it’s no surprise that in recent years, the amount of waste produced in each household has gotten a bit out of hand. Plastic film, water bottles, disposable cutlery, handfuls of ketchup packets; they all add up. In light of many companies reinventing the wheel when it comes to disposable items (avocado straws, anyone?) we thought it’s time we do our part for the environment too.
Here are some easy, and cost-effective ways we can reduce everyday waste in our households.
Reduce Food Waste
If you’re looking to reduce some household costs, look no further than your fridge! Food makes up a large percentage of waste that is sent to the landfill each year, and not only is it wasteful, it’s costly. If it’s hard for you not to waste food, some people suggest looking at food and seeing its monetary value. You wouldn’t toss out that $5 bill, so why would you do the same with a carton of blueberries. The best practise for avoiding food waste is to plan your meals and make a list or shop more often and buy fresh as you need it. If you’re really looking to make a difference, turn your food scraps into compost for your garden, freeze items that can be before they go off or learn to cook with food scraps.
Go Reusable as Much as Possible
Luckily, a lot of companies have already jumped on board with this one by implementing small changes like charging for plastic bags. However, the more we assist as consumers, the better it will be. Start bringing reusable bags with you for all your shopping; clothes, groceries, books etc. and be more proactive in purchasing products with less packaging. Ditch single-use plastic containers and purchase yourself a decent water bottle or coffee mug. Look at the alternatives for plastic wrap and food storage, there are several reusable waxed paper wraps or vegetable covers that can be easily cleaned and reused. Reuse jars as containers and set up a proper system for recycling in your household (check your cities local website for printable charts to assist you!)
Change the Way You Clean
Time to ditch the single-use cleaning items like paper towels and wet-wipes and go old school. Try using old rags, T-shirts or purchase some towels you are happy to wash and reuse to do your cleaning with. Do your research and look into environmentally friendly soaps and cleaners, or better yet, make your own using common household items like vinegar and pure alcohol. Add a touch of essential oils to improve the smell, and ditch toxins in your house like air fresher canisters. If you prefer to purchase your cleaning supplies, buy in bulk so you reduce the packaging, or look into stores that offer refillable stations so you can reuse the bottles.
Buy Used or Refurbish
Looking for a new piece of furniture? Want to update your wardrobe? Why not turn to local shops that sell reused clothing, or better yet, work on consignment so you can recycle your old clothing and use the money to purchase other used pieces. Shop in local antique or salvation stores for furniture pieces and make it your own by refurbishing it to your taste/style. Go online to various buy/sell sites like Craigslist or Facebook’s Marketplace, it’s a great way to keep items out of the landfill, while saving yourself some money. This trick works for a lot of items we use every day, so think outside the box.
Be Conservative with Energy Consumption
Start being a little more proactive when it comes to your household’s energy consumption. Does the heat need to be cranked, or could you just add an extra layer for now? Run the dishwasher only when it’s full, do full loads of laundry, and hang your clothes to dry! Make the most of your natural light by opening up curtains and turning off lights in rooms that aren’t being used. There are also tons of small (and large) upgrades you can do to make your home more energy efficient, so do some research and budget for them next time a renovation is mentioned.
Instead of constantly tossing out flyers and junk mail you receive, why not look into how to opt out of them?. To do this, simply put a note on your mailbox stating you do not wish to receive “Canada Post Neighbourhood Mail”. If it continues to get placed in there, check out their online help desk. This also works for bills, as most companies now allow you to sign up and go paperless with e-billing. While you’re add it, do yourself a little self-care and opt out of those pesky junk emails as well – you’ll be glad you did!
There are several more ways you can reduce your household waste, so do some research, chat with friends, come up with a plan and make sure that everyone living with you is on board!