Unsplash | Megan Hodges
Reducing waste is no longer an option; it’s a dire necessity. You see, we’re running out of places to store our ever-growing piles of trash. From the depths of our oceans to the heights of Mount Everest and everywhere in between, our planet is overrun with waste.
Tossing things away without a second thought is contributing to air quality and groundwater pollution and threatening the health of both humans and animals alike. It’s beyond time we do something.
Here are the first steps you can take to reduce waste in your household in 2019:
Boycott single-serving beverage containers
Anything you use once and toss in the recycling bin creates a major drain on already-limited resources. Make it a habit of bringing your own reusable water bottle and coffee mug with you so you’re not tempted to impulse buy beverages in single-serving containers.
Bring reusable produce bags to the store
Most of us have already switched to reusable shopping bags, but it’s less often you see reusable produce bags being used. These cotton or mesh options prevent you from using those thin plastic bags that get tossed and never fully decompose. They also help to keep your produce fresher for longer, reducing food rot and waste.
Shop bulk stores with your own refillable containers
You can find cereals, dry pastas, grains, spices, snacks, and more at bulk stores for a fraction of the price and sans any packaging. Make sure to remember your own refillable containers (old jars, tins, muslin bags, etc.) to avoid using their plastic to-go bags.
DIY household products
Hand-making your own soaps, shampoos, and surface cleaners in reusable bottles cuts down on costs, toxins, and plastic bottle waste. Plus, doing things yourself means you get exactly what you want, when you want it. Most household items can be made in a matter of minutes with just a few ingredients like essential oils, Castile soap, vinegar, and baking soda.
Get a library card for books and magazines
Let’s be honest: when we buy new books and magazines, we typically read them once and never again. It’s not cost-efficient or eco-friendly. So instead, save some money and resources by getting a free membership and supporting your local library.
In 2019, there really is no reason to get paper bill statements in the mail. Almost everything can be done online, so opt to go paperless and help save some trees. The best part? Since this helps reduce costs for companies, many will offer a rebate or reward when you sign up for paperless billing.
Start a compost bin
Composting helps to reduce food scraps and waste from ending up in landfill where they decompose and release methane gas. When you compost at home, you’re also creating a free source of nutrient-rich soil for gardening. It’s a win-win.
Donate to nonprofits and charity organizations
There are endless organizations that will take used clothes, toys, and even beauty products that you no longer need or want. Donating these goods for someone else’s benefit helps keep them out of landfills and supports the good deeds of your community.