With our population skyrocketing (250 births per minute to be exact), it’s becoming even more important to reevaluate the ways we manage our trash. Currently only about 25% of plastic are recycled each year, with 4.8 and 12.7 million tons dumped into the ocean annually.
Though both multi-national companies and individuals are becoming more environmentally conscious with their choices, the struggle to leave less of an environmental impact has never become more crucial.
Starting your waste-free journey doesn’t have to feel like a diet fad. You can make a real impact on the Earth and future humans when you decide to choose reusable vs. disposable and when you make a serious effort to participate in various recycling programs in your neighborhood.
Below I’ve listed 10 ways you can reduce waste in your home as well as in the world around you. Already a zero waste enthusiast? Take a look and see if you can incorporate anything new or comment below with some of your favorite waste-free tips. I’d love some pointers! If you’re new to a zero waste lifestyle and want to play a role in saving our beautiful planet, implement these small switches and tips to make Earth a little less trash-filled. 🙂
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1. Switch to Reusable Stainless Steel Bottles
Say goodbye to plastic water bottles and say hello to reusable bottles. Stainless steel water bottles are a great replacement since they’re durable, easy to clean, and there’s no worry about harmful chemicals leeching into your water unlike with plastic bottles.
With reusable bottles, make sure you buy a bottle brush so that you can clean it thoroughly. Stainless steel bottles come in a lot of sizes and shapes – purchase a large one to push yourself to drink more water. Adequate hydration is essential for health and clean, clear skin!
2. Install a Water Filtration System
A water filtration system is ideal if you want to enjoy pure, clean-tasting water right from your sink. For a little under $200, you won’t have to worry about lugging gallons of water from your car into your home.
The filtration system you decide on should be one that adds alkalinity to water, making it healthier than most store-bought waters. Alkaline water has a higher pH than regular water and helps to neutralize the acidity in your blood. Alkaline water is even believed to possess anti-aging properties, colon-detoxifying properties, ability to support weight loss, cancer resistance and the immune system, though more research is needed to confirm this.
3. Opt for Products Made Out of Recycled Materials and or Biodegradable
School’s in session and though we can’t opt out of buying pens and paper (what a great excuse that would be…), we can strive for smarter choices. Notebooks, pens, and even pencil pouches can all be produced from recycled materials so reach for these when shopping for stationary.
4. Walk or Bike
If you work or attend school nearby, bypass the car and opt to walk or bike instead. Not only will you sneak in some extra exercise, it’ll save you gas money as well.
You can even do this when you go to the grocers, but make sure you bring along a dolly if you’re walking, or my favorite, a VersaCart to make the way home a breeze.
5. Use a Reusable Tote Instead of Plastic Bags
Stash your car and handbag with reusable totes to save plastic. If you already have plastic bags, you can reuse them too.
6. Switch to Reusables in the Home
The most inconvenient aspect when it comes to switching to reusables is the “clean-up.” While in the beginning these small changes may seem really strange (and annoying), like going from a toss into the trash can to an extra 5-10 minutes washing dishes, it’ll soon become second nature and a seemless part of your routine.
7. Swap for Reusable Straws
Straws contribute an overwhelming amount of plastic to our environment every day. Just think of all the plastic straws you use at restaurants, beverage houses, and Starbucks.
Straws are also notoriously lengthy decomposers as it takes anywhere between 200-500 years to fully decompose a single straw. That’s alarming for something so thin and small. But the sheer abundance of straws used every day is astonishing as well, floating around 500 million a day, and that’s just in the U.S.
An easy way to be part of the solution for a world filled with less plastic, swap straws for reusable ones, or simply drink from the cup. In addition, you can even choose to not add plastic lids to your drinks.
8. Donate Clothing and Buy Secondhand
Donate your used clothing and shop at thrift stores to find amazing deals while doing a huge favor for the planet. Don’t forget to ask for a tax deduction when you donate!
9. Go Paperless
Save paper on bills by going paperless. How? Simply log on to your statements and choose paperless billings.
In addition, you can choose to have coupons and catalogs sent to you via email instead of by mail.
10. Say No to Packaging
Did you know an easy swap for zero waste is to purchase products without packaging? Ethique carries a line of packaging-free shampoo and conditioner line. What’s better is each small bar is equivalent to 3 bottles of shampoo or conditioner. Whoa.
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