Unless you have a zero waste lifestyle, there is always room for improvement when it comes to caring for the planet.
While the abstract idea of reducing waste can be overwhelming, a good place to start is within the comfort of your own home.
Small changes, like switching to cloth bags instead of plastics or making a concerted effort to recycle cans and bottles, can make a big difference in waste production.
Here are 9 simple changes you can make to reduce waste in your home.
1. Know the rules of recycling.
Don't be intimidated by complicated symbols and classification rules. Navigating the recycling system is actually pretty simple once you do a little research. Since recycling standards vary from place to place, find out the rules specific to your area.
While it's best to implement reusable packaging in your home whenever possible, recycling is the next best option and will prevent excess waste from going to landfill.
2. Get rid of plastic bags.
One of the simplest ways to decrease the amount of waste you produce is to use reusable bags while shopping. Rather than relying on plastic bags from your grocery store, bring your own cloth bags to pack your items and take home with you. Keeping plenty of extra bags in the trunk of your car or by the door is an easy way to make sure you don't forget them at home.
3. Make a meal plan.
In addition to material waste, food waste is a huge problem in American homes. However, it is completely preventable if the consumer follows a simple rule: only buy groceries that you know you will eat. It seems obvious, but you would be surprised how much food is regularly thrown away in America.
4. Start by relying on reusable containers.
Once you start shopping for just what you need, take it to the next level by storing food properly, which will extend its shelf life and keep it fresh for as long as possible.
Invest in quality airtight containers for ingredients like baking ingredients, cereal, and other things that can go bad quickly. If you buy loose foods at farmers markets or in bulk containers at stores like Whole Foods, reusable containers are especially important to have in your kitchen.
5. Start composting.
Every day, a lot of what you put in the trash can be composted and put back in the dirt. If you have a bin and some extra space, you can easily start a compost that can feed back into your garden. Your excess food won't go to waste, your garden will be packed with nutrients, and you can feel better about your impact on the planet. Win win win.
6. Learn to repair rather than discard.
When was the last time you fixed something broken instead of throwing it away to buy a new one? I can not remember? Same. But buying some high-quality items and repairing them when needed is much better for the planet than buying lots of cheap, disposable things.
The next time a strap comes loose from the top of a tank or a lamp stops working, take a few minutes to see if it can be repaired, rather than throwing it out and ordering a new one.
7. Cancel unnecessary mail.
If your mailbox is overloaded with catalogs and junk mail every day, take a few minutes to unsubscribe and stop unsolicited junk mail. It can be as simple as going online or picking up the phone to remove it from a mailing list. It's a bit of an inconvenience, sure, but your coffee table will be less cluttered and the amount of paper waste you'll produce will be significantly reduced.
8. Stop using disposable plates.
Even if washing dishes is the bane of your existence, it's not worth the waste created by paper plates and plastic utensils. Stop using paper and plastic and get your hands dirty.
9. And at least stop buying plastic water bottles, please.
Water bottles and paper coffee cups are huge waste of material. Buy a durable water bottle and a cute coffee thermos so you can take your drinks wherever you want. You will feel much more hydrated and much less wasteful.
By Landess Kearns
Original article (in English)