11 Tips for Living a Low-Waste Lifestyle
This year, in lieu of resolutions to lose weight or save more money, many of us are choosing to focus our goals for the new year on living a more low-waste lifestyle. If you’ve been thinking about taking steps to become more eco-conscious, you’re in luck. We’ve brought you 11 easy ways to start living more sustainably. Read on below so that you can begin incorporating these tips into your daily routine.
1. Bring a tote bag with you
One of the easiest ways to start living low-waste is to take plastic bags out of the equation. You can do this simply by carrying a reusable bag like a tote bag everywhere with you. If you have a car, this is as easy as storing a few bags in your trunk, so that you have them on hand when you need them. If not, you may want to invest in a bag that folds up nicely and do your best to keep it in your purse or backpack.
2. Invest in a reusable coffee cup and water bottle
Other good reusable items to invest in are a multi-use coffee cup and water bottle. If you carry these with you wherever you go, you’ll be able to do away with two of the biggest single-use offenders. Plus, they’ll serve as a good reminder to help you stay hydrated throughout the day.
3. Say no to single-use items, in general
These days, single-use items are everywhere. From cutlery, to napkins, and drinking straws, trying to avoid these things can feel like navigating a minefield. The key is just to commit to saying no whenever possible and to make it a point to use multi-use alternatives instead.
4. Shop secondhand
Another thing that you can do to live more low-waste is to start shopping secondhand. Whether you’re looking for clothes, furniture, or electronics, there are sure to be plenty of good previously-owned options on the market. Nowadays, many thrift and consignment stores also offer online shopping services. Odds are, with a little research, you’ll be able to find whatever you’re looking for.
5. Shop locally whenever possible
When you have to buy new, do your best to shop locally. Not only will supporting your local retailers help you cut down on your carbon footprint, but you’ll also have a better chance of supporting independently-owned small businesses rather than big-box stores. You can also take advantage of community events like farmer’s markets, clothing swaps, and yard sales to find whatever you need.
6. Buy in bulk
If you do need to head to the store, always try to buy in bulk. Often, buying in bulk means there’s less disposable packaging with which to contend. Many grocery stores have bulk bins, which allow you to bring your own container and to simply fill it up with as much of the product as you’d like. In this case, the pricing is done by weight and you should only be charged for the weight of what you bought.
7. Preserve food that can’t be used immediately
Food waste is a huge problem for many of us. Learning food preservation skills like canning can go a long way towards making sure that you aren’t throwing away anything more than is absolutely necessary. Think about going to the library to check out a book on the subject or doing some research online to see how you can get started doing this in your own kitchen.
8. Find creative ways to use up food that’s going bad
Even if you can’t start canning right away, you can still do a lot to cut down on food waste. For starters, you can make it a point to use up any food that’s about to go bad. In this instance, over-ripe fruit could become a smoothie or a pie while you could give your veggies new life by making them into a soup or a salsa.
9. DIY your home and beauty products
Did you know that many of that many common personal grooming and cleaning products can be made at home for a fraction of the cost of buying them in-store? Plus, you get to skip the packaging process. Look up some recipes online and see what you can do to take some household items off of your shopping list.
10. Track what you throw away
Remember, living low-waste is a process. Most of the time, we don’t even realize how much we end up throwing away. When you’re ready to get more conscientious, start tracking what goes into your trash. Often, the results will surprise you and help you start thinking of new ways to reduce, reuse, or recycle.
11. Start composting
The last tip we have about how to live more low-waste is to start composting. While this move isn’t for everyone, it is one of the best ways to cut down on the amount of stuff that you throw away.