5 Ways to Reduce Waste

Thu, 2013-01-31 10:29

If being kinder and gentler to the planet is on your list of things to accomplish this year, then a focus on one simple word may help get you started: REDUCE. Read further to find out five inexpensive and practical ways to kick off an eco-friendly New Year – using less!

1. Eliminate some of the paper in your life.

  • Before you recycle paper from your home or office, consider donating it to a local school or children’s art program if you only used one side of the sheet.
  • Stop the junk mail and catalogs by logging on to catalogchoice.org. This free online tool offers an easy way to opt-out of mailing lists.
  • Convert at least one of your accounts from paper billing and statements to online, paperless services.

2. Make your own eco-friendly alternative to replace at least one household product.

  • A good all-purpose cleaner can be made from vinegar, baking soda, and warm water.
  • Make your own dryer sheets. Dampen a washcloth and place a few drops of essential oil onto it. Throw it in the dryer with a tennis ball, which will help collect lint and fluff the laundry for more consistent drying.

3. Ditch disposable containers in favor of reusable ones.

  • Bring your travel mug to the coffee shop, and get in the habit of carrying a reusable water bottle to cut down on plastic bottle and cup waste. You may find that carrying your own bottle of water means you drink more water and less soda, which benefits both your health and your wallet.
  • There are all kinds of cool alternatives to plastic bags. Try a reusable mesh bag for your vegetables and switch to washable, reusable sandwich bags.

4. Let less water go down the drain.

  • Rinse produce in a basin of clean water instead of under a running faucet.
  • Keep a pitcher next to the kitchen sink as a reminder to save unused water from drinking glasses and cooking pots. You can use the pitcher to water plants.
  • Turn the water off while brushing your teeth. If you’re not using the water, why leave it on?
  • Use and refill just one cup for water to avoid washing each time you take a drink.

5. Reduce food waste.

Check with your curbside waste pick-up service to be sure you are properly sorting waste to take advantage of any food-scrap composting. If your provider doesn’t offer this service, they may provide information about composting on your own as a means to repurpose food scraps for enhanced garden soil.

Making an effort to do more while using less, not only extends product life cycles, but benefits the planet, your health, and your pocketbook. To learn more about being a champion of waste reduction and sustainability efforts in the professional realm, check out Everblue’s Sustainability Management course.

By Amy Malloy

  • Plan your menu before shopping, and plan meals around what’s already in your fridge or cupboard. There are several websites, such as SuperCook, to help you search for recipes matching the ingredients you have on hand.
  • If you have large amounts of untouched, unexpired food that you cannot use at home or at work, check out sites like the Feeding America Food Bank Locator to find out if you can donate it. One of my neighbors organized an effort to collect and donate the excess crop from fruit trees in the neighborhood.

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