How To Reduce Waste: Tips For A More Sustainable Lifestyle

Most individuals are unaware of how much food they throw away daily, including uneaten leftovers, rotten products, and edible portions of fruits and vegetables.

The United States wastes one-third of its food. According to the EPA, over 81 percent – 20.3 tons – of home waste food ended up in landfills or combustion facilities in 2018.

One of the simplest and most effective ways to save money, reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and preserve natural resources is to reduce waste. This article will look over ways how you build habits that reduce your everyday waste. 

Plan your meals

Planning and Shopping Tips

Excessive waste happens in every part of the planet, and it is a huge global problem because it’s turning Earth into an unsuitable place for both humans and wildlife. Here are some easy tips to help you reduce the amount of waste to help the environment.

  1. Plan your meals: Having your weekly menu saves time and money.
  2. Make a list of what you need: Before going shopping, list ingredients you will use for the week. This way, you’re not buying unnecessary products that will be wasted later.
  3. Plan to reuse and recycle: Reusing and recycling your empty containers also reduces the amount of waste you produce daily.
  4. Reduce the amount of meat you consume: Meat production contributes significantly more to global warming, pollution, and water usage than plant-based food production. Eating less meat lessens the need for animal agriculture.
  5. Shop local: Buying locally means that your food doesn’t have to be transported from faraway places and isn’t exposed to unnecessary transportation methods such as airplanes and railways. Try to buy only seasonal fruits and vegetables.
  6. Buy in bulk: Buying in bulk is cheaper and can reduce costs by 30 percent. Bulk buying also minimizes the amount of packaging you use that will end up in the trash later.
  7. Consider reusable containers: Using reusable{+} containers for packaging reduces the amount of plastic you use and helps you control your portion sizes.
  8. Use leftovers creatively: Try to be creative with leftovers and find new ways to turn them into fresh meals. For instance, you can use pumpkin leftovers to make soup or cookies.
  9. Use leftovers as compost: If your leftovers are not fit for consumption, you can use them to add nutrients to your soil.
  10. Be aware of food expiration dates: Always check for expiration dates on foods you buy. Discarding food that is past its expiration date means that not only will you be throwing away good food, but you also will be throwing away money.
reusable containers

Reduce Waste in the Workplace

We know that decreasing trash is essential to maintaining our planet’s resources and safeguarding them for future generations. Fortunately, many of us are aware of our influence and strive to decrease trash at home by recycling, returning bottles, using ceramic plates instead of paper plates, etc. But what about waste reduction in the workplace?

From the day we open our businesses, many people throw things in the trash without even giving them a second thought. However, aside from the environmental issues this brings, there are substantial cost implications to discarding trash. Let’s take a closer look at some ideas on how to reduce waste in the workplace.

reusable coffee mugs

  1. Set aside time to learn how to recycle and reuse paper in the office. Paper recycling is an easy and effective way to reduce the amount of waste you discard and reduce unnecessary costs later. Recycling paper also reduces reliance on deforestation and reduces your contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
  2. Adopt a paperless office: Since office equipment and employees generate lots of printed papers per day, this is another simple way to reduce workplace trash and cut unnecessary expenses. Also, ensure employees are aware of the importance of reducing office waste.
  3. Provide custom-labeled trash cans: When your employees throw away the trash, ensure they place it in the designated places. Instead of providing every employee with a desk-side trash can, some companies prefer to place the trash cans in shared areas such as the conference room and kitchen.
  4. Provide reusable coffee mugs: If you provide coffee for your employees, provide them with reusable coffee mugs to encourage using these instead of disposable coffee cups.
  5. Encourage employees to bring lunch from home: If you provide lunch for your employees, consider providing them the option to bring lunch from home. This will cut the extra costs of preparing lunch and reduce trash.
  6. Switch your light bulbs to compact fluorescent: Replace your incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or light emitting diode (LED) light bulbs, as these consume half as much energy as incandescent bulbs and last much longer as well.
pack lunch in office

Reduce Waste in Your Community

Every community can participate in various initiatives to cut waste. We can make a difference by reducing, reusing, and recycling the trash in our communities and motivating our neighbors to do the same.

  1. Organize a cleanup of the neighborhood: Organize a cleanup of your community and its surroundings, like getting together with a group of volunteers to clean up the local park for example.
  2. Adopt a school or a nearby farm: Organize cleanups and work together to plant trees, build community gardens, etc.
  3. Establish a community garden: If your neighborhood already has a community garden, consider adopting a plant and donating seeds or compost to keep the garden going.
  4. Take part in a trash cleanup campaign: If there are nearby beaches, mountains, rivers, or lakes in your community, you can organize a cleanup campaign to reduce waste.
  5. Work with neighbors to develop a waste reduction plan: If you organize a cleanup effort in your local community, invite your neighbors to participate and give them some ideas on reducing waste by reusing and donating.
  6. Encourage paper recycling in local schools: Get in touch with the local school and encourage them to recycle paper and teach students about paper recycling.
  7. Participate in a citywide trash cleanup campaign: If you have the time and resources to participate, participate in your city’s citywide cleanup campaign.

Reduce Waste While Traveling

Even when they try not to, travelers make a lot of trash. Whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, there are a few easy things you can do to reduce your waste, save resources, and make your trip less harmful to the environment.

  1. Choose more eco-friendly transportation: Try to use public transport as much as possible. Also, consider renting a hybrid car or choosing eco-tourism, such as walking and bicycle tours, instead of driving your vehicle.
  2. Avoid disposable products: Bring reusable shopping bags with you on your trip to avoid buying disposable bags. Also, bring your refillable containers when eating out.
  3. Use eco-friendly products: When you book a hotel, choose an eco-friendly hotel only. When traveling abroad, try to do your part to preserve that country’s natural resources by choosing eco-friendly products.
  4. Recycle when appropriate: Look for recycle bins and use them whenever possible to help preserve our planet’s resources.
  5. Carry your water bottles when traveling: Prevent purchasing plastic bottles while on vacation and always carry your reusable plastic or stainless steel water bottles with you.
  6. Use public restrooms sparingly: Use the bathroom at restaurants instead of at a local gas station or cafe.
Carry your water bottles

Author’s Note

Consider adopting some of these lifestyle changes to minimize waste. This will reduce not only unnecessary pressure on our planet’s limited resources but will also reduce unnecessary expenses. It will also help you achieve your financial goals while significantly contributing to our planet’s health. Thank you for reading!

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