7 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Waste in 2019

Here’s the thing guys, sea animals are dying. I honestly can’t research stats about how much trash is in the ocean and how many animals die from getting tangled in plastic, having their homes destroyed by waste, or eating trash because I just don’t feel like crying right now. So instead, I am going to share some SUPER EASY tips for reducing your trash output that I have adopted over the last few years.

Let us begin with a pet peeve shall we?

1) Stop putting your groceries in bags before you put them in more bags!

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Like honestly, you need to put your 2 oranges in a clear plastic bag to put them in your cart before you take them to the register to put them in ANOTHER BAG??? No you do not. I don’t care if you are buying 12 onions, take your cart to the onion stack and put the onions directly in your cart and then put the onions on the conveyor belt. If you are buying a large quantity of small things like green beans or brussel sprouts, alright fine you might need a bag to wrangle those small veggies. I try to keep the small plastic bags used for the little veggies and put them back in my reusable shopping bags so I can use them again. You can also use reusable produce bags. If that seems like too much for you for now, just leave the apples in their God-given packaging and don’t add unnecessary plastic layers! If you are a germaphobe and are grossed out by the idea of your fruits and veggies sitting on the checkout conveyor belt without that thin clear petroleum based layer between your food and some stranger’s food, I’ve got bad news for you. No matter what grocery store you shop at your produce has been handled by a lot of strangers, pooped on by birds, laid on conveyor belts, placed in dirty boxes long before they every reached your precious sterile plastic snow globe so you’re gonna need to wash them anyways.

2) Buy In Bulk When You Can

When you buy things generally, stop and think if you can buy the product in bulk. Buying more of the product at once cuts down on your waste because there is generally less packaging used per amount of product. Instead of buying the smaller tub of body lotion every month, buy one giant one that lasts several months and then, #foreshadowing, use that tub for something else.

3) Reuse Your Incidental Plastic

The other day I was thinking, like what did people do before all of their goods came in small plastic bottles? I honestly wasn’t sure for some things. Things like spray cleaner… I think there wasn’t spray cleaner. People bought soap flakes in cardboard boxes? Still unsure. I do know that you should never ever throw away a spray bottle. If you are buying something that comes in plastic, like cleaning spray, think if there is either another form of the product that doesn’t come in plastic, or if you can reuse the packaging to dispense the product and buy it in bulk and refill that packaging. For example, I refill the spray bottle of floor cleaner with a little bit of pine sol which I bought in bulk and should never have to buy again. Not only is it cheaper to buy in bulk (love that) but you can prevent constantly throwing away plastic items that are empty only to repurchase them full. Refill your soap dispensers, cleaning products, etc. Think about reusing things like take-out containers as well. We re-use yogurt containers and the containers we get take-out Pho in to pack our lunches for work and to store food in the fridge instead of buying tupperware. You can make it fun and call them Phockets like we do, or just tupperware… because that’s what they are.

4) Say No To Free Samples

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This one is something I just realized I was doing horribly wrong. I love free stuff! I mean I am all about saving money so when something offers me something for free, saying no seems outrageous. But if the thing that is free doesn’t offer you any, or merely minimal, value, taking it is a net loss because you are just creating trash for no reason. For example, when you buy something at Sephora or Nordstrom, they always/often offer free samples with your order. I have at least 10 little teeny tiny perfume samples from Sephora in my bathroom. Why did I ask for those??? Tiny plastic vials that contain approximately 3 puffs of sample when I have absolutely 0 interest in purchasing perfume. In fact, I am allergic to most perfume! Am I an idiot? Jury is out but I do know that I will no longer be requesting free samples of anything unless I am legitimately trying something I am interested in purchasing and want more information on the product. Otherwise, pure waste.

5) Cut It Out With The Subscription Boxes

You can’t need something you don’t even know exists. I think subscription boxes are generally a waste of money because you are paying for things that you previously had no desire for, but I get the general appeal. It’s like giving yourself a surprise gift and that’s pretty fun. But even if your delight in surprising yourself with a box full of trendy crap make the money you spend worth it to you, factor the environment into the equation. You are creating emissions, shipment packaging trash, and a lot of product and product packaging waste for that moment of joy when you unbox whatever it is this month that they were able to bulk order on the cheap and pass off to you for a markup. Just think about the sea animals next time you use that new inspirational quote coffee mug a few times before realizing you never would have bought it for yourself and throw it out.

6) Replace All Plastic Straw Use with Reusable Straws

I ordered these straws on Amazon because I am a straw addict. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first as to whether I would like them or actually use them. I use them all the time! I am drinking water out of one right now. II haven’t gone so far as to carry them around with me, but I do my best to say no to straws when I am out and might start keeping one in my backpack in the summer when I am drinking all the iced coffee.

7) Take Your To-Go Coffee Cup With You To Starbucks

The holiday cup is gone guys, there’s no excuse now to get a new coffee cup every time you go into a coffee shop just to throw it away half an hour later. Take your insulated coffee mug with you and get you delish latte poured in that sucker instead. Your drink will stay warm longer (just make sure they heat it up with hot water before pouring your drink in) and you might even get a discount on your drink for using your own mug! You know, coffee shops are where the dirty hippies live.

Annie LawsonComment