10 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste

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Since becoming plant-based, I’ve become much more aware of my carbon footprint and environmental impact. My family has been focusing on ways to reduce waste in our life. I want to do more to help protect the environment, and becoming zero waste is my ultimate goal. How cool would it be to have NO trash, save money, and help the world be a better place?!

But it can be a bit overwhelming and difficult to know how to start.

Here are 10 easy ways to reducing waste. And if this is too much for you right now, read this for an even easier way to start!

1. Stop buying bottled water.

The only reason you need to buy bottled water is if you do not have access to clean, safe, drinking water, which most of us do.  If the taste of tap isn’t palatable to you, invest in a filter for your faucet. Buying single-use plastic water bottles is costing our water sources and environment.

Click here to learn about what’s in your drinking water. If the results are dissatisfying, purchasing a filter is still a better option that single-use plastic bottles.

2. Replace paper towels with rags.

Compared to paper towels, rags are reusable and super absorbent. Instead of spending $5 on a 3 pack of paper towels, spend the extra buck or two and invest in some bar rags. You can use them for cleaning up spills and wiping down surfaces. They are also easily used as napkins.

3. Use reusable bags.

I’m sure you’ve seen people in the grocery store with their own bags. This is becoming a huge trend after California, Hawaii, and New York banned single use plastic bags in grocery stores. Single-use plastic bags are not recyclable, compostable, or eco-friendly. 

Many grocers now sell reusable bags. Heck, you can use a cardboard box or cooler and not have to spend a penny.

4. Take your own mug.

This is a gimme. How many of you have your favorite Yeti, Artic, Hydroflask, or other insulated cup? Take it with you everywhere you go – the office, on road trips, on the plane, bus, train, and definitely to your local coffee shop. You can keep your drink hot or cold, all while saving the environment.

If you want to get really adventurous, take your own to-go and carryout containers. Any tupperware or bowl will do.

5. Buy used clothes.

Each year, the average American tosses 80lbs of clothes into the landfill. Purchasing used clothing encourages more people to consign/donate clothes items and creates less of a demand for new textiles, thus preventing waste.

6. Borrow or buy used toys.

Not only does buying used toys or borrowing toys save money. It also helps to reduce waste! Less demand = less production = less plastic = less waste and one happy mom 🙂

7. Up-cycle used furniture.

Buying or up-cycling used furniture is great for the creative folks out there. Lots of furniture is made with cheap materials, which break easily and end up in the landfill. Furniture made from hardwoods causes deforestation. Prevent waste and over consumption by up-cycling furniture for every room in your house. 

If you don’t have the time or patience for big projects, check your local used furniture stores. You’ll be surprised at the gems you find!

8. Buy more produce (and buy more bulk if available to you).

Buy more produce, but ditch the plastic produce bags. You can easily keep your produce in your shopping cart or basket without having to bag it. But you want to keep your produce organized? Grab some reusable, mesh produce bags to go with your reusable shopping bags!

Steer clear of prepared produce, which includes pre-packaged, pre-cut fruits and veggies.  We want to purchase more unpackaged grocery items to cut back on waste in the home and the grocer. 

9. Buy locally.

This may not seem so obvious. When you buy locally, you reduce the need for packaging and transport, thus preventing waste. You’re also supporting your local farmers, craftspeople, and economy by purchasing locally. 

10. Don’t stress!

There is A LOT to keep up with – family, work, and now going zero waste?! No one expects you to go zero-waste overnight. Staying mindful of your decisions is the first step to creating more environmentally-friendly habits.

If you’ve already started zero waste, but need more ideas about how to continue being zero waste, check out my Kathryn Kellog’s list of 101 ways to be eco-friendly! She’s my hero.

How do you reduce the waste in your life? Tell me below.

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