5 Easy, Low Effort Ways to Reduce Your Waste
The convenience of single use items is often too good to pass up. But, the harsh reality is that for the short amount of time these items are of use to us, they will go on to outlive us. The zero waste lifestyle seeks to reduce the amount of trash we produce.
Transitioning to zero waste can be overwhelming, so much so that it seems like an impossibility.
Side note: No one will actually ever be zero waste. It is a goal, one that is unachievable, and I think that anyone who claims to live or pursue a zero waste lifestyle knows that. It is not about being perfect. As I stated in my last post, it’s about believing that every choice we make matters because we have value.
There is this mindset that there is a huge start up cost in order to be zero waste. I know that I had that mindset for a long time and honestly, I used at an excuse not to start. I thought I had to have the perfect stainless steel container or bamboo cutlery that would go along with a beautiful Instagram aesthetic. That is completely wrong (see side note above). It is not about being perfect. It’s about starting somewhere.
So where can you start? Here are 5 easy, low effort ways to reduce your waste.
1. Ditch the straw. It is estimated that every day in America we use over 500 million plastic straws. The majority of these straws end up in our oceans, polluting the water, and killing marine life. It’s time to ditch the plastic straw! You don’t have to invest in expensive glass or metal straws in order to make an impact. Just ask for no straw when ordering your drink at a restaurant or coffee shop. Better yet, bring your own cup (see #3).
2. Say no to plastic bags. I can guarantee that most of us have some sort of reusable bags lying around our homes. If not, you can find them almost anywhere for around a dollar a bag. Saying no to plastic bags is a simple way to cut down on waste. Just keep your reusable bags in your car or by your front door so you always have them on hand. And let’s be honest, not having a huge mound of plastic bags spilling out of the bottom of your pantry is a bonus!
3. Bring your own. Reducing your waste doesn’t have to be restricting if you are prepared. It is all about thinking ahead! Keep a reusable cup in your car so you are ready whenever you feel like popping into a coffee shop for a drink. Tuck a metal straw in your purse for when you head to a restaurant with a friend. You could even bring your own container for any leftovers you may want to bring home. It is the little things we do every day that add up to a greater impact.
4. Shop secondhand. Shopping secondhand is an easy way to reduce your waste. By shopping secondhand, you are keeping clothing (or other items) out of the landfills and giving them a new life. Plus, you can often save money this way!
5. Recycle your contacts. Contact lenses and their packaging was one area of waste that I wasn’t sure would be remedied. My dry eyes require me to use daily contacts, which needless to say, creates a lot of waste. Through some research, I came across the One by One Recycling Program offered through Bausch + Lomb. In collaboration with TerraCycle, they are able to recycle used blister packs, top foil, and contact lenses. All you have to do is collect the waste in a small cardboard box, print a FREE shipping label from their website, and drop it off at any UPS store or ship it from home. The best part, besides it being free, is that they take any contacts brand, not just Bausch + Lomb!
What are you going to start implementing in your day to day life to reduce your waste? Let me know in the comments!