11 Ways to Generate Less Waste
Small changes with big effects
The world is turning into a dumping ground, resulting in great repercussions for the environment, humans, and animals. But generating less waste is easier than you think! Just take these tips to heart and do something good for our planet in your daily routine.
Have even more tips to reduce waste on a day-to-day basis? Share them in the comments!
1. Fabric is the Future
More and more stores now charge for plastic bags, and in many countries, they are prohibited entirely. Paper bags seem like the better option at first, however their production requires a lot of energy for a tool that is basically not reusable.
Therefore, stay away from plastic and paper bags, if you can! Upgrade to some pretty fabric bags to get your groceries home in style.
2. Plastic, Plastic, Everywhere
Grocery stores might remove plastic bags from their checkouts, but other sections of the store tell a different story. If fruit and vegetables aren’t wrapped in plastic already, single use plastic bags are often made available near the scales. Next time, pass on the bag and put the sticker right on the fruit or vegetable—or bring your own bag.
There are multiple smaller stores declaring war on plastic and functioning completely without the use of it. There, you can fill your own jars or produce bags with cereal, rice, and even buy bottled milk. Farmers markets are also a great alternative, since you can buy fresh produce from local farms completely plastic-free.
Of course, you can always try to grow your own produce in your garden or on your balcony.
3. Goodbye to Single Use Cups
Invest in a reusable to-go cup and put an end to burning your hands on flimsy paper. The choices are endless, and you will definitely find a model that suits you. Another advantage is that many coffee shops give you discounts on your cup of Joe for bringing your own mug. Not in the coffee shop of your choice? Try suggesting it to them during your next coffee run!
4. Goodbye to Single Use…Everything
Try and generate less waste in the kitchen by switching from paper napkins to fabric, or switching out plastic straws with stainless steel or bamboo, for example. You can even exchange tea bags for loose tea and a strainer, or paper towels and wipes for washable kitchen towels made out of recycled materials.
5. Picnic Deluxe
Instead of using paper or plastic plates for your next picnic or barbecue, invest in a bamboo or enamel set that you can use for a longer period of time—they’re nicer to eat off of anyways. Of course, you could also splurge on a real picnic basket to have everything in one place. You’ll never have a problem with food transportation again.
6. Coffee Capsule Catastrophe
Capsule-machines are very harmful in regards to the environment. The production of these aluminum capsules requires a lot of energy and, until now, only Switzerland can properly recycle them. If you really don’t want to miss your capsule coffee, however, you can look for biodegradable capsules or invest in a stainless-steel capsule that can be refilled with the coffee of your choice.
7. Homemade Beats Prepackaged
Instead of being satisfied with prepackaged, to-go salad from the supermarket (which is often full of withered leaves and contains many artificial flavors and enhancers), we recommend making salad yourself.
Just chop up your favorite ingredients and take them with you in a bento box. Alternatively, get together with a colleague, bring whatever you have from home, and mix your own, delicious salad to share right at work.
8. Preserve the Summer
Previous generations grew up doing it, and it’s about time we learn to do it too! Instead of buying canned tomatoes, buy fresh tomatoes when they are in season, boil them down, and enjoy delicious sun-ripened tomatoes throughout the whole winter. It is actually super simple, tastes better, and saves you a trip to the store.
9. No More Store-Bought Smoothies
If you are a fan of smoothies and juices, maybe it’s worth investing in your own blender or juicer. You’ll not only save money, but also prevent the proliferation of plastic bottles that the juices and smoothies come in.
And in a nice jar, your fruit drinks look way better anyways—and since the ingredients are 100% up to you, they will always taste the way you want!.
10. Goodbye Sell-by-Date
The truth is, the sell-by-date does not say how long something is edible for, just until when the producer can guarantee its flawlessness.
Most Products are therefore good until well after the printed date. Still, most products that are close to or past their sell-by-date are simply thrown in the trash, since the consumer falls victim to this common misconception.
Many now argue the date should be removed from the packaging, since more than 40% of our food ends up in the trash unopened. To avoid throwing out good food, just rely on your senses. If it still looks, smells, or tastes good, you can definitely still enjoy it!
11. Refill, Don’t Rebuy
Many supermarkets offer refills in multiple different product categories: laundry detergents, cleaning liquids, soaps, spices, and many others. Refill packs contain less plastic since they don’t require extra components, like a spray nozzle, and are therefore less harmful for the environment. You would do our planet a huge favor by just refilling instead of rebuying.
Published on September 3, 2017