The idea of living a totally waste-free lifestyle is appealing, isn’t it?
But the truth is, it can also feel pretty overwhelming…especially with all the real-world things on your mind, like having to pack lunches and clean up spilled marinara sauce and stay hydrated throughout the day…and…well, you get the picture.
But all hope is not lost, because the secret to reducing waste is actually surprisingly simple…
In addition to limiting your plastic consumption, you should also try to limit the all-or-nothing pressure you put on yourself about going green.
Because the truth is, you won’t become the picture of environmentalism overnight. And that’s ok!
After all, your days are busy.
And your choices are sometimes limited.
And your children are sometimes screaming for snacks even though they just ate, like, 10 minutes ago.
But the good news is that every little bit of conscious living adds up.
So take a breath, focus on one small change at a time, and embrace the baby steps you’re taking toward waste-free living.
Here’s a simple, life-friendly list of habits to help you get started:
1. Go Paperless
Do the planet (not to mention your cluttered countertops) a favor by eliminating unnecessary physical mail. Pick a time to sit down and manually unsubscribe from any useless junk mailing lists you’ve landed on. If you receive physical advertisements or coupons from brands you actually do shop with, simply change your preferences with them online or by phone to indicate that you only want to receive those offers via email. And be sure to switch as many bank and utility statements as possible to digital! Especially if something is on auto-pay and digitally archived, there’s no reason to waste paper.
2. Pass on Plastic
Plot twist: single-use plastic is terrible for the environment. Still, if we don’t set ourselves up for success, it can be tempting to opt for convenience over consciousness when we’re out running errands or in desperate need of a quick coffee. Invest in durable, eco-friendly water bottles and coffee cups to keep with you while you’re on-the-go. Wash every night so they’re ready to be used the following day. Small details can make a big difference in how likely you are to stick with a habit like this!
3. Meal Plan
Most of us are responsible for a shameful amount of food waste each year. Reduce how much you toss by planning ahead before shopping for groceries. Having a sense of how you’ll use each ingredient will help you be more mindful of what you buy. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself haunted by having to toss an unopened bag of spinach that you completely forgot about.
We’ve all been there. But rest assured, we all can do better.
4. Re-Consider Your Containers
Swap plastic and disposable food storage containers for glass options, which don’t pose the threat of potentially harmful germs and chemicals. And don’t just stop at your Tupperware. Single-use sandwich and freezer bags are also a huge source of material waste. Consider a reusable, silicone-based replacement, like Stasher bags.
5. Brush Better
It might not be the first thing you think of when it comes to waste, but your family’s plastic toothbrushes have a relatively short lifespan, after which they will more than likely end up in a landfill. A better alternative? Toothbrushes made from biodegradable bamboo, which can be safely recycled once they’ve served their purpose.
Ditching the disposable lifestyle that so many of us are unfortunately used to is easier said than done…but it is doable. Especially if you start small.
What are your go-to ways to be more mindful of the environment in your day-to-day life?
Let us know in the comments below!