Unless you’ve committed to living a zero-waste lifestyle, there’s a good chance that you may have room in your life to find ways to reduce waste. While the general concept of reducing your ecological footprint may seem abstract and overwhelming, one of the best places to start is by reducing waste at home. There are small things you can do in the comfort of your own home that can go a long way, like using cloth bags for your grocery shopping or making an effort to recycle your bottles and cans.
But why should you reduce waste?
One of the main reasons for reducing waste at home is to lower your ecological footprint and protect the environment. Some of the benefits of this are:
Another great benefit to reducing waste at home is that it can save you money. By buying less things and taking care of what you have to extend its life, you may be able to save money in the short and long term.
While it might be a hard to reduce waste at home to a microscopic amount, trying to implement a few waste-reducing practices may be able to help you shrink your ecological footprint and help the environment.
So, how can you start working towards reducing waste at home? We’re going to break it down for you.
The first tip here is a simple one: If you’re looking at an item you don’t really need, don’t buy it. This even includes things that you might be able to get for free, like:
It might be hard to say no to things that you could get your hands on for free. After all, if you’re living on a tight budget, the lure of free things can be enticing. But the truth is, nothing in life is really free. While you may not be paying for the mousepad you’re given at a work conference, someone has to pay for it in one way or another.
When you’re thinking about how to reduce waste, it’s important to realize that an item isn’t really free because of the toll it takes on the environment to manufacture and distribute it. There’s also a good chance that this item will find its way to a landfill eventually. By refusing a free item you’re offered at a conference or by a company, you send the message that their customers don’t need cheap giveaways, and that they should think about new ways to incentive customers instead of manufacturing and distributing garbage.
This is one of the best tips on this list for someone looking to save money by reducing waste at home. The idea is simple: try to cut back on the amount of things you consume and buy. Whenever you’re thinking about buying a new thing – this can be anything from snack food to clothing – think about whether this is something you really need. You may find that the answer is often no. If you start viewing all of your purchases through this lens, you might be surprised to find how many things you’ve stopped buying. To reduce your output of waste, try to do things like:
Do your best to reuse, re-purpose, and stretch out the lifespan of everything you can. You may have to use your imagination for this one, or learn some new skills along the way.
For example, if you pull on your favorite t-shirt just to find that it has a new hole in it, don’t just throw it out or donate it right away. Grab your sewing kit and get to mending! If you’ve never sewn anything before, look online for tutorials or watch a video. While you might have to make an initial investment to get your sewing materials, making a small fix might be able to stretch out the life of that shirt for another year or two!
When this shirt finally wears out to the point of no return, you may still be able to find a use for it. Cut it up into wide strips and use these as multi-use rags instead of using paper towels. With a little creativity, you can find ways reduce waste at home by getting as much use out of an item as possible.
When you’ve finally gotten all you can out of an item, it’s time to recycle it. This involves more than just dragging your recycling box to the curb each week. It also means that you need to know how to properly recycle specific items and materials. There are different options to recycle items that may be harder to deal with than relatively simple things like plastic water bottles. If you’re unsure of how to recycle a particular item, take a look at this list or do some research online.
If you want to get rid of something that you don’t use anymore but still has some value, you can also consider selling it on eBay, Craigslist, or even put on a garage sale. This is a great way to make a few extra bucks while you’re reducing waste at home and recycling items!
The last thing you’ll want to do to start reducing waste at home is to make sure you compost. This basically involves separating organic matter like food and cardboard from your normal garbage bin.
So, why should you compost?
For starters, it can save you money – particularly if you have a home garden – in a few different ways:
It’s also good for the environment, it helps to keep resources out of landfills, requires less water as it helps with moisture retention in soil, and helps in plenty of other ways.
While reducing waste at home may not be an easy process at first, if you start to slowly implement some of the practices we’ve mentioned here today, you may be able to start saving money and reduce your ecological footprint.
Try to embrace things like shopping secondhand and try to be creative when it comes to reusing and re-purposing things you already have.