We get a lot of questions on Instagram about ways to reduce our everyday waste. From the kitchen to the bathroom… waste happens. And it’s easy to feel overwhelmed when we look at our super-stuffed trash bags, despite the zero-waste efforts we’ve already made.
While we’ve put together a list of our 10 go-to ways to waste a little less, we’d be lying if we didn’t admit that we still struggle to plan our meals more than 30-minutes in advance and sometimes forget our bamboo utensils. The point is, we do the best we can!
So, instead of trying to do everything at once, celebrate the changes you do make. Small steps, big goals.
How to reduce your everyday waste
Relieve landfills of waste and connect to Mother Earth on a deeper level by composting. The EPA reports that food scraps and yard waste make up more than 28 percent of what we throw away — all of which could be composted. Yikes!
To get into an eco-friendly, composting groove, check out the post we wrote with absolutely everything you need to know about composting.
2. Embrace reusables
Reusables are essential to maintaining a zero-waste (or almost zero-waste) lifestyle.
Here are some of our must-have reusables:
- Reusable sandwich bags (like these from Stasher Bag)
- Reusable water bottle
- Bamboo utensils
- Vegan food wraps
- Bamboo “Be The Change” straws
- Small Acts Multiplied By Millions Can Transform This World tote
- Live Gently Upon This Earth mug
- Diva Cup
3. Plan your meals
Planning ahead and making lists will not only help you save waste, but also save you money.
Here are 5 lunches you can prep in advance for the best week ever. And don’t miss this post with absolutely everything you need to know about meal planning.
4. Store food without plastic
From mason jars and glass containers to cloth towels, reusable bags, and food wraps — a world of sustainable plastic-free food storage awaits you. You won’t miss those plastic bags even a little!
5. Say “no” to things you don’t need
One of the simplest ways to live more sustainably is to simply reject things we don’t need. Maybe that’s saying no to extra napkins, avoiding impulse purchases, or holding off on buying something just because you have a promo code (we’ve all been there!).
6. Ditch paper towels
Thirteen billion paper towels are used every year, according to the Ocean Conservancy. Take advantage of cloth towels — they’re reusable, long lasting, and do the same job as paper towels.
And make it a habit by keeping cloth towels handy and putting paper towels out of sight, out of mind.
Knowing your recyclables from un-recyclables is huge, and often, it’s a lot harder than it seems!
Here’s a list of items that are usually recyclable, depending upon the trash facility/recycling program.
- Cardboard boxes
- Cereal boxes
- Junk mail
- Plastic bottles
- Glass jars
- Wine/ beer bottles
- Aluminum cans
- Wine corks
- Soup cans
- Plastic jugs
- Aluminum foil
And take our quiz to make sure you’re putting your trash in the right place!
Then do these 11 things to be the best recycler you can be.
8. Stop junk mail
Junk mail has a way of showing up. Tired of it? Download the PaperKarma app, take a pic of your unwanted junk mail, hit the “unsubscribe” button, and the app takes care of the rest.
9. Try to repair before you replace
Trying to fix before you ditch is a great way to help the planet and save your money. Plus, there’s a Youtube video for pretty much everything! So whether you have a rip in a t-shirt, a leaky shower head, or worn-out heels — it may just need a little TLC.
10. Shop mindfully
We’re huge fans of supporting local businesses (with your reusable bag, of course). But if you’re going to shop online, try to merge your shipments into one order — that way, you’ll avoid unnecessary boxes.
Learn more of our favorite zero-waste tricks and check out these posts:
- 10 easy ways to introduce zero-waste into your life
- 9 Simple ways to phase plastic out of your life
- 10 Eco-friendly habits you need to adopt now