Have you been struggling to come up with ways to reduce your waste? Does it feel like you have a full dumpster of trash to go out every trash day. Do you catch yourself thinking, “Didn’t I just take the trash out?”
Well this post is for you!
Today we are going to talk about 10 simple, no-brainer ways to reduce your waste. Guys, there are SO many reasons why this is important. Not only does it help the environment and reduce your carbon footprint, it helps your wallet too! Who doesn’t want that?
I have to admit, I am still working on using all of these tips too. But it’s the small steps that count in the larger scheme of things and no one reaches their goals overnight, right? It is all a process. Since I started on my crunchy journey and dipped my toes into minimalist living, I’ve implemented most of the ideas on this list and I work hard everyday to be more mindful about the things I buy and what I throw away. There are also a few that my husband will NOT compromise on and I respect that! My goal is to keep making simple changes and raise my son to be more mindful and less materialistic. I think every parent wants the earth to be a healthy, lasting place for our littles to grow up and live in.
So take a peek at the list below and let me know what you think in the comments! You don’t have to do all of these at once. Start small and make one or two changes at a time until you feel comfortable and then move on to another one or two small changes!
10 Simple Ways to Create Less Waste
- Reusable Shopping Bags: This is probably one of the easiest changes to make on this list! Think about how many plastic shopping bags you get each time you go to the grocery store. How many actually keep them and reuse? Do you take them back to the grocery store and use them again or do they collect dust in a never ending plastic bag with plastic bags inside of it? How many of you just throw them out right away? I always threw them away but then I realized that they just go to a landfill. A lot of plastic bags end up in the ocean where fish try to eat them and then end up getting sick or dying!
Reusable shopping bags are great because they last forever, come in cute designs so you can shop in style and you don’t have to just use them for grocery shopping. You can take them with when you go shopping for clothes or need an extra bag for that trip to the beach. I like to get mine here. I’m pretty basic when it comes to my bags and go for solid colors but definitely do it up and get the cute ones!
- Reusable Containers: I’m not referring Tupperware here, I’m talking about reusable glass containers and baggies. I work in an office for my full time job and I pack my lunch everyday. I used to use plastic baggies and cheap plastic Tupperware that melts the first time you put it in the microwave. I never reused my baggies and was constantly buying new cheap plastic containers! So I decided to invest in some really great glass containers and reusable silicone baggies. Honestly, they really aren’t all that expensive when you think about how much you are going to use them. Plus you don’t get melted, BPA riddled plastic in your food and you are helping the environment by not throwing away plastic baggies all the time. There are so many options on Amazon for reusable baggies, containers, etc.
- Compost: Okay, this is one that I do not currently do but I had to add it to the list. Not only does composting reduce waste, it’s also easy to do and great for your soil! Just find a spot in your backyard to place your scraps of food and organic material and that’s it! You can start a pile right there or dig a hole in the ground. It’s a natural way to get rid of waste and put something back into the earth since compost has a lot of nutrients and minerals in it. If you don’t have enough space in your yard or don’t want a pile of “trash” try getting a composting bin!
- DIY Household Cleaners: This is a fun and cheap way to reduce your waste. Buy some glass bottles and make your own household cleaners. You can make anything from multi-purpose disinfecting sprays, window and floor cleaner to carpet fresh and furniture polish. What I love about homemade cleaning products is that you get a good, natural, fresh smelling clean that’s also non-toxic. I love that I can clean my son’s high chair and he can eat off it right away and I can spray down his toys and he can immediately put one in his mouth (this happens a lot!). This one took awhile for my husband to get on board with but he has definitely come around!
- Eat a Cleaner Diet: This is a multi-tip that is good for a few different areas. Adopting a “clean” diet is good for the environment, your wallet and probably your weight too! When I say a “clean” diet I mean cutting out processed foods and cooking yours meals from scratch. When you eat clean you reduce waste because you are eating more fruits and vegetables (so no packaging) and meat so less paper and cardboard from pre-packaged meals. I’m certainly not saying that that is all you should eat and I’m sure there are some things you buy that will still be pre-packaged. I LOVE Hamburger Helper and I know there are DIY versions of it but to me, nothing beats the real thing (especially on a busy night). But you could try getting your meat from a local butcher and your fruits, vegetables, and nuts/seeds from a local farmer’s market. When you buy from a farmer’s market you typically bring your own containers so that is cutting down on packaging waste as well as supporting local businesses. Win-win, right?
- Buy Used Clothes and Furniture: Instead of buying your clothes online or from a big-box retailer, try checking out thrift and second hand stores in your area. You would be surprised at the things you can find as well as the cheaper prices you get them for. The clothes you find at thrift stores are (for the most part) gently used but still have a lot of life left in them. It might take some digging or going to a few different stores to find what you are looking for but you could turn it into a fun day trip to go clothes hunting. This goes for furniture too! Think solid wooden furniture like a bed frame, entertainment center, bookshelf or coffee table. You can even get a second hand couch and give it a good cleaning before use.
- DIY EVERYTHING: This tip is SO much fun! I’m talking DIY skincare, makeup, hair-care and household cleansers. This probably isn’t one that you want to completely change right away. Maybe dip your toes in by trying DIY household cleansers and then move onto skin and hair-care and do DIY makeup last. The great thing about doing DIY is that a lot of the things you make are versatile. For example, if you make a DIY coconut oil face cream, you could make enough to use on your body as well. Or a DIY counter cleaner can be used for the bathroom as well as the floor. The possibilities are endless here and not only will you be reducing your waste by not having (and throwing away) 100’s of plastic bottles but you will save yourself a lot of money in the long term as well. Plus DIY is much better for your health because you won’t be breathing in those toxic cleaner fumes or be absorbing chemicals into your skin from your body products.
- Go Paperless: This is a simple way to create less waste and possibly save some money too. Change all of your bills and bank statements to paperless! Why keep paper statements of your bills when most companies have an online portal to pay bills? You’ll have less physical mail to open up which means less paper you are throwing away! Some companies even give you a percentage of your bill off if you switch to their paperless option.
- Cloth Diapers: This one’s obviously for parents with young children. Cloth diapers can be a big investment but they are well worth it in the long run. They’ll reduce waste as well as save hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars. I’ll admit, my husband and I have a love-hate relationship with cloth diapers. They are a lot more work than a regular disposable diaper. You typically have to wash them twice to make sure they are properly cleaned but the money that we saved from using them when our son was an infant made it worth it. We switch between cloth and disposables, mostly using cloth at home and disposable when we are travelling. I’ve found that it’s much easier to cloth now that my son is older than it was when he was a newborn but this is definitely a tip I would recommend to every parent. The great thing about clothies is that you can reuse them for other children if you take care of them properly. If the cost is too much for you at the moment try shopping around for gently used cloth diapers on yard sale sites. It’s a great way to dip your toes in and try a few different brands until you find the ones you like best!
- Family Cloth/Cloth Pads: Okay y’all, this is one that my husband could definitely NOT get on board with but of course that doesn’t mean it’s not not for everyone. Family cloth is reusable toilet paper. Much like cloth diapers, you do your business, use a cloth, wash and reuse. These definitely reduce waste and save a ton of money in TP every year but they are only for the most dedicated of people which is why I saved this tip for last. Ladies you can also try reusable pads (or a cup); same deal just wash and reuse. These are actually much healthier because they don’t have all the chemicals that mainstream pads and tampons have. A lot of women who switch to either a cup or cloth pads report that they have lighter and less painful periods so that is a plus too! I’d like to add onto this that there are also reusable paper towels too!
What do you do to create less waste? Let me know in the comments!
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