Let’s start with the basics: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. We often forget that these are listed in such order… The most important R is reducing and the last resort is to recycle (it’s not a pick and choose system). Landfills are one of the biggest emitters of methane into the air, so by eliminating waste you are also saving the atmosphere! Here are some tips to reducing your everyday waste:
-Grocery Shopping: bring your own bags (and encourage local grocery stores to invest in paper bags instead of plastic), don’t make them print that extra receipt unless you really need it, don’t buy it unless you need it or will eat it.
-Commercial Shopping: Buy used (thrift stores have great deals and finds + remember that you are a consumer and you make the demand, therefore the less the consumer demands the less they produce!), bring your own bags, only buy it if you need or love it, do you really need those receipts if you love it???, donate your clothes (so many people in need!), have/attend garage sales and flea markets (this is a great way to enjoy your Saturday mornings and you will fine some great/hilarious finds!)
-Fix ‘er up: A great way to reduce your waste is by fixing up old items and using them again: learn to sew or embrace Grandma’s skills, get your shoes repaired or shined (keep the industry alive at the same time!) and furniture/appliance repair is also an easy and cheap option.
-Plan Ahead: with reusable supplies for your outings: bottles/tupperware/cutlery/cups/containers/
-Buy Bulk: this allows you to use reusable containers and save a few bucks.
-Compost: this is a great way to reduce your waste and gain your green thumb some credibility! (*warning: keep compost well-sealed, don’t put yourself or the wildlife in risk).
-Proper Disposal: things like paint, batteries, pens, household chemicals, electronics or even light bulbs all have specific disposal directions. If you are unsure about an item, google it or shoot me an email! Stores such as staples make it easy to recycle office supplies and appliances, not to mention campaigns like “Zinc Saves Lives” that use batteries to cure zinc deficiencies in developing countries! (there are so many positive benefits to recycling, take advantage of them.)
-Get Digital: with your bills, newspaper, penpals and more! It’s easy to switch your energy bill from mail to email, and even easier to check the news on your iPhone. Also sending projects via email or on a USB stick can save paper, ie: trees (USP “stick”… hah)
-Borrow: if you won’t use something often, try to borrow it from a neighbour or rent it out instead of buying it new! (also by returning the favour, you get the chance to connect with people you may otherwise have not).
-Paper Products: paper products are usually unnecessary: such as paper towel and cotton balls or swabs, invest in dish cloths and face cloths (these guys are the true “quicker, picker, uppers!”).
-Feminine Hygiene: Okay, let’s talk girls for a second. Gal pals, periods suck PERIOD, but not just for us females! Tampons and pads are just another way we are polluting this planet and there are other, easier ways to deal with mother nature’s monthly gift! Whether it’s a washable pad or a diva cup, ladies it’s time to make the change. (here is a link to a website with options: http://www.bepreparedperiod.com/reusable-products but don’t rule out a stop at your local Walmart, eliminating some of those fossil fuels.) PS: The Diva Cup may seem like a scary things at first, but she’s going to be your BFF in no time! (truly a change worth making, not just for the world but for yourself!)
-Embrace Broken Goods: this may seem like a crafty, cuckoo, crazy, cat lady idea, BUT things such as broken glass or ceramic can be crafted into cute, new items! (such as a fun way of tiling a floor or a unique garden border). Old, stained mugs??? = new homes for potted plants!
Looking for more ideas, check these websites: