Many of us have been recycling for many years, but did you know that there are actually many opportunities to reduce your waste as well? By reducing our waste, we can reduce our ecological footprint and save money at the same time.
Here are 15 tips to help get you thinking about how you can reduce your own waste at home.
#1 Buy in bulk and reuse containers
Many stores such as local co-ops sell food and other items in bulk. This allows you to not only save money since you are not paying for packaging, but you can buy only as much as you need.
You can also bring your own reusable containers that you can reuse next time.
#2 Rethink your shopping and only buy what you need
You don’t always need to run out and buy the newest version of something, especially if an item still works well.
#3 Start a garden
Our global commercial food system produces a lot of waste, especially with all of the energy required to produce and transport it.
Then, once the food sits in you refrigerator, it could go bad even before you eat it, which is wasteful.
By growing our own food in our own gardens, we reduce a lot of this waste and can harvest food fresh just when we need it.
#4 Compost at home
Most of our home waste is composed of organic materials such as fruit and vegetable scraps that could be separated and turned into soil-enriching compost.
Starting a home compost system is easy, or you could do some research to find out if your municipality has facilities for collecting your home organic waste.
#5 Buy quality from the start
Cheaply made items tend to break down sooner, requiring replacement.
By buying a quality product in the first place, you will decrease the need to buy more of that item in the future.
#6 Buy items that can be repaired
The more that you can repair an item, the less often you will need to buy a replacement for it.
#7 Reuse things, and wear them out
You could reuse that glass jar to store something, or those cardboard boxes in your garden to block weeds… The possibilities are endless!
#8 Mason jars are awesome!
Mason jars can be used for more than just canning. They have many uses, such as containers for storing homemade goodies, herbs and spices, dried goods, bulk food items, leftovers like homemade soup, and can be used as lacto-fermentation vessels to make things like sauerkraut and kimchi. The smaller ones can even be used to store things like homemade body care products.
#9 Make your own at home
Try making some of your own granola bars, deodorants, lotions, and other products, many of which can be made out of ingredients that you already have at home.
This saves money and decreases our waste by eliminating the packaging that comes with many of these items that we buy pre-made. You will also have the advantage of knowing all of the ingredients that are in these items.
No more chemicals that you don’t recognize going into your body!
#10 Cook whole foods from scratch at home
What we eat makes a huge difference with the amount of waste that we produce.
While pre-packaged and processed foods are convenient, they also require a lot of energy to produce, lots of packaging for storage, don’t taste that great, and often contain unhealthy preservatives and other unsavory ingredients.
You will be doing your health and your Earth a favor if you cook from scratch at home.
#11 Buy or obtain used when you can
The saying that “One person’s trash is another person’s treasure” often holds true. Garage sales and thrift stores often have many gently used items that we can give a second life in our homes.
Online resources such as Craigslist and local “Free Market” exchanges allow people to give away things that they don’t need for free and provide opportunities for others to find free things that they might need.
You might be surprised what you may find!
#12 Make your own cleaning supplies
This is easy, inexpensive, and eco-friendly.
Most of these homemade products can be just as effective as many of the more expensive and toxic commercial products available on the market today.
For the average home cleaning tasks, baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils can go a long way in keeping your home clean.
#13 Buy reusable water bottles and use them
Kick the disposable plastic water bottle habit!
If you are concerned about the quality of the water coming out of your tap, a number of high quality water purifiers are available on the market that last a long time like this one.
#14 Bring your own food
Bring your own lunch from home to work or school and utilize reusable containers.
# 15 Consider borrowing an item instead of buying it
How many lawnmowers or ladders does one community need anyway?