These tips make it simple to reduce waste
Reducing waste doesn’t only apply to big things. We can make a big difference by making small changes, especially when lots of us make those changes.
Since we’ve spent so much time at home this past 10 months, it was a good time for me to evaluate where we could make some changes. We’ve always recycled and I’ve composted off and on over the years but I felt it was time to make a focused effort to be more environmentally responsible. (Keep in mind that while recycling is important, a huge amount of plastic isn’t actually recycled even if you put it in the bin). I’ve challenged myself to see just how empty both our trash and recycling can be each week
Here are a few of the ways we have significantly reduced the amount of waste we generate:
How many of you try to make as few trips into the house as possible when you get home from the grocery store? I’ll practically cut the circulation off in my hands to avoid an extra trip. Who’s with me? What if there was an easier way that also helped reduce waste?
I carried reusable bags back and forth from the store for a long time, but then I discovered collapsible totes. I only need a couple for most all of my grocery trips, and they are so easy to carry; I generally only need to make one trip from the car. And BONUS, they fold flat for storage.
Using these totes made it simple to get away from plastic grocery bags. Putting the collapsible totes back in the car as soon as you’re done unpacking groceries helps you have them on hand whenever you need them
Sometimes if we need just a few items we don’t use a bag at all. Think about how automatic is for a cashier to put even one single item in a bag. It happens at the grocery but also at home improvement stores, discount shops, and just about anywhere that sells stuff. It’s definitely unnecessary. I can certainly carry that one paint brush or picture frame to my vehicle without a bag. And now I don’t have to find a place to stash 5 million plastic bags…
Check and see if your grocery store sells collapsible totes, or check out these gems from Amazon.
Simple product swaps
Sometimes the only change you need to make is a change in what brand you are buying. We’ve switched over to the “If You Care’ brand for foil, parchment paper, wax paper, and paper sandwich bags. They offer brown chlorine free paper products (that are compostable), 100% recycled foil, and a lot more. This is such a simple way to reduce waste and support a business that uses recycled products. I throw the used paper products in my compost bucket, so we’re reducing what we throw away and making our garden better.
Thrive Market carries a large assortment of If you Care products, or you can order directly from their website. I love their parchment sheets. They are precut pieces of parchment paper just the right size for a cookie sheet. I’m not super coordinated when it comes to tearing the paper on those little serrated edges on the box. I often end up with a disastrous mess.
If You Care products are produced with a view to reducing the amount of waste in our waste streams. If possible, nothing should remain after the product has been used and properly disposed of. The packaging is made from unbleached recycled cardboard or paper which can be recycled again.
Reduce single use items, especially plastic
You can easily reduce the amount of waste in your household with simple swaps that require just a tiny bit of forethought and time. For example, use real plates and cutlery when you’re at home. I know a lot of us aren’t big fans of washing dishes, but it really doesn’t take long to wash a few plates (or put them in the dishwasher).
We no longer buy plastic bottles of dish soap, instead we use dish soap bars. If you’re interested in soap making, they are fun to make (here’s my favorite recipe) but they have also become more readily available to purchase. We sell them periodically when the soap store is open. Make sure to get on our mailing list so you don’t miss a chance to shop!
And finally, help reduce the number of plastic bottles in the landfill. Instead of buying single serving bottles of water, get a good water filtration system and a snazzy water bottle. We have a Berkey and absolutely love the quality of the water that it provides. It’s a bit of an initial investment, but quickly pays for itself if you’re typically a bottled water user.
There you go, a few tips on reducing waste in the kitchen that aren’t ridiculously difficult! Once you get started, you’ll probably start noticing other things you can do as well. And then maybe you’ll be challenging yourself to see how empty your trash can can be.