Want to do your part but not sure where to start? One of the best ways to begin working towards a cleaner environment is to start reducing the amount of waste you create in your life. A reduction of the amount of things you throw away and/or recycle goes a long way towards helping to clean up the environment for current and future residents. Luckily, this is actually pretty simple to do so there is no reason you couldn’t get started this afternoon. Let’s take a look at some easy steps you can take to reduce your impact on the environment. (And if you already know/do all of these, send this article to a friend or relative who could use some help!)
Think before you buy. Do you REALLY need whatever it is you are considering purchasing? Can you wait and take a breather to stop the impulse buy at that moment? Can you find it used? I am not saying not to go back later and get whatever it is should you decide to do so, but even stopping a few impulse buys can drastically reduce the amount of trash you contribute to the waste stream.
When you do buy, buy well-made products. Too many of the things we buy are designed to have a very limited lifespan, which requires us to dispose of and replace them quite often. This is not sustainable behavior. Disposable furniture is one of the biggest wastes there is, so when you buy new stuff buy well-built, solid pieces that can last forever.
Simplify and pare down. Purchase items that serve dual purposes or at least can be reused as something else at the end of its useful lifespan. Check out 25 Ways To Reuse Everyday Items Instead Of Throwing Them Away for some tips.
Stop all your junk mail ASAP. Catalogs, credit card offers, coupon flyers, etc. – if you aren’t using them, make them stop. I no longer get any junk mail at my home, and often I go days without getting any mail at all. For help stopping the stream of paper waste coming into your home, check out the following sites:
Use paper towels sparingly, if at all. I have a drawer full of cloth rags and napkins that I use for cleaning the entire house with. Why use paper when you can use washable fabrics?
Buy in bulk when possible to reduce waste. Granted, I don’t need most of the food products sold in bulk at the neighborhood Costco. But I try to always take my own reusable containers to the grocery store for any spices, coffee, granola, fruit & vegetables so I don’t have to use those plastic bags they provide.
BYOB. There is absolutely no excuse anymore to not bring your own bags to the grocery store. Leave a few in your car at all time so you always have them with you. Looking for some good places to find bags? Check out my post Where to find cheap or free reusable bags for some help!
Are each of these steps easily accomplished right away? Yep – every single one of them can be implemented starting today. And each of them are simple and will make a difference for yourself and the rest of us living on earth. Still not convinced that reduction isn’t the best way to start? Maybe you need to watch The Story Of Stuff, which I wrote about a few years back. Go ahead, watch it…You will have a different view of how much impact waste has on our lives and planet.