World Health: 7 Ways To Reduce Waste
The problem of waste can feel overwhelming, but we can and should take action to reduce our impact on the planet.
Our daily shifts don’t have to be drastic. An easy way to start: Invest in reusable containers and #ChooseToRefuse shopping bags, straws, takeaway containers and coffee cups when you’re out.
The easiest way to reduce waste is to not create it. Think twice before your swipe or click. Only buy things that are really needed. Reducing your consumption will shift the waste buildup in your household and the industrial and manufacturing waste we don’t see.
The benefits of online marketplaces are substantial. While we can and should continue to enjoy access to incredible, unique products from all around the world, we must become strategic in our consumption. Buying goods online generates an enormous amount of waste; fuel is needed to get the goods to us and packaging is necessary to keep them safe. Consider taking one small and strategic action: Buy your food locally. Nix online grocery shopping and avoid packaged foods. Instead, consume fresh, local fare. Our planet and your body will thank you.
Avoid Packaged Foods and Drinks
Bring reusable containers and bags to the store with you and, when possible, buy groceries in bulk. Stick to the outer edges of the grocery store and avoid the inner aisles—they are chock full of packaged goods. If you eat out a lot, use your own container when buying prepared food. Head to local markets to buy direct from producers like farmers and bakers to reduce packaging waste and reduce the disposal of produce deemed unsellable or damaged by conventional grocers (visit Imperfect Produce to learn more). Plus, farm-fresh or unprocessed foods will probably be of higher quality. Reducing your consumption of packaged goods will improve your nutrition and quality of life, so don’t be surprised if you feel better after making this change.
Choose Quality Over Quantity
To prevent a buildup of waste hidden in your closets and garage, buy items that will last for a long time. Cheap products quickly become trash. Enjoy the quality of a well-made product.
Use Less Water
Water is often overlooked as a waste-product, but all of the water we use in our homes and buildings needs to be processed and cleaned before it is released back in to our watersheds. Take shorter showers, wash your clothes only when they are dirty, and wash the dishes mindfully. Protect our watersheds by using natural products to clean, bathe and wash. If possible, install a gray water system to reuse water from your laundry and water your plants. Reduce water usage outside by landscaping with native plants that require little to no additional irrigation and mulching your yard.
Enjoy The Used Goods Economy
Reusing what you have and purchasing previously-owned items makes for a dramatically lighter carbon footprint. Donate your goods when you are done with them, and if you need something brand new, consider buying items that are manufactured using ethically-sourced materials (we recommend companies like Patagonia and Reformation when it comes to buying clothes). Bonus points for using recycled materials.
Be The Change: Take Action in Your Community
Even if it isn’t your waste, consider being the change and taking action. Keep it simple by picking up trash you see on the ground when you are out walking in parks and on beaches—you may even inspire others. Carpool with neighbors to reduce vehicle emissions; find a tool lending library; and share items so others don’t have to buy them. In addition to small choices you can make every day, there are many organizations that are fighting to reduce waste. Find one that speaks to you and support it—this may be the most effective way to reduce large-scale manufacturing and industrial waste.
Photos by Jilbert Ebrahimi and Anne Preble on Unsplash
- Nature Conservation,