Lately, I’ve been seeing more and more posts about the amount of waste we produce and how bad it can impact the environment. I’ve probably been seeing more of them lately because Earth Day wasn’t that long ago. These posts got me thinking though that there really needs to be more conversation on reducing waste outside of Earth Day. In my humble opinion, every day is Earth Day and we all need to do our part to keep the planet healthy.
So, with that being said, today I’m sharing with you some of the ways that have reduced my waste over the years in the hopes that it will inspire you to do the same.
1. Ditch Plastic Containers
It’s no secret that plastic is a huge problem in today’s society. And thankfully, many countries have started banning the use and sale of single-use plastics and plastic bags! (yay) But if you’re like me and you’re not lucky enough to live in one of those countries, it can be hard to avoid plastic all the time. So how do we make a difference?!
One thing that I have started doing recently in it’s raw, container-free version. For instance, if I were to buy spinach or kale for a salad, instead of buying pre-cut spinach in a plastic container, I buy a bunch of spinach without the container. The same goes for pretty much all fruits and vegetables. Buy the fruit or veggie whole so you can avoid unnecessary plastic and packaging. (Also, I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper to buy it this way…)
The last part of the this is to try and swap out plastic for paper whenever possible. Paper is generally healthier for the planet because it can be composted and will biodegrade eventually. Plastic can never be composted and will not biodegrade. However, I recognize that sometimes plastic containers and such can be unavoidable, so the next best thing is to find another purpose for it once you’re finished with it. You can use it to store more food, or buttons, or crayons, or whatever… you get my point.
2. Say “bye” to Plastic Wrap
I, like a lot of other people, used to use plastic wrap to wrap up veggies and food that I hadn’t finished yet. After realizing just how bad it really was for the environment, I decided it was time to find a way to store foods without it. I haven’t bought plastic wrap for about a year now and I’m loving it!
There are a few ways you can go about not using plastic wrap, but what I have chosen to do is put my cut veggies and such in glass and/or plastic containers! It’s a super simple solution and your food will keep just as well, if not better than if it were wrapped in plastic. It was really hard to get used to at first because I had used plastic wrap my whole life, but now it’s truly second nature to me. weird to get used to at first, but as with anything I got used to it. Also, (bonus) I’ve definitely saved a decent chunk of change over the course of the year now that I don’t have to buy plastic wrap every few weeks.
Another solution is to buy reusable “plastic wrap” made out of beeswax. I haven’t tried this myself, but I’ve heard that this is a great alternative to traditional plastic wrap.
3. Cloth Napkins
I’ve been using the same napkins in my house for approximately the last 5 years. Yup! And it’s been awesome. While paper products aren’t as bad for the environment as plastic, the fact that we cut down trees to be turned into items that are meant to be thrown away is a very unsustainable practice. A few years ago I was talking to my mom about how we could reduce our waste, and this was something that we both thought would work very well. We went to Pier 1 Imports and bought about 10 red cloth napkins which were about $1-$2 a piece, and have been using them ever since.
Right there you’re doing a lot of good for the environment and your wallet! All you have to do is wash them (obviously).
Lastly, they can double as a makeshift bag if you need to carry something with you and don’t have a container. I’ve gotten into the habit of always carrying one of these napkins in my bag with me for just this kind of occasion.
4. Reusable Water Bottle
This one may seem like a no-brainer because it’s mentioned all the time in conversations about living more sustainably. I’m bringing it up today for the simple reason that it’s still important! We’ve already established that plastic is terrible for the environment. One of the most common uses of plastic that I come across is plastic water bottles. Do yourself and the planet a favor by switching to a reusable bottle.
Now let’s say you’re short on cash and you don’t want to shell out extra money on a reusable bottle, what do you do? Well, you can buy water that comes in a reusable glass bottle for $3 or so and, BAM! Reusable water bottle. Brands such as Voss, Gerolsteiner, Perrier etc, all come in a glass bottle that you can easily reuse once they are empty.
5. Reuse Your Bags!
Ultimately, getting reusable canvas bags is the main goal when you’re shopping. But even if you’re just reusing the bags that you get, that is so much better than using them once and throwing them away.
And if you’re one of those people who has reusable bags and forgets to bring them with you, try keeping them in your car. That way they’ll at least make it to the store with you and you can run out and grab them if need be.
What I have discovered over the last few years is that a huge part of living sustainably is about thinking outside of the box. We have been conditioned to behave a certain way when it comes to waste, but it doesn’t have to be that way at all. There are many ways that a person can reduce their waste and make a difference on the planet. I’m still finding new ways myself and I encourage you all to do the same.