Updated: Jun 24, 2020
Reducing your waste doesn't have to be hard. We've given you 10 simple steps to making a lasting impact on your garbage and recycling bin. Write them down, or visit this page to keep reminding yourself how you can make an impact.
1. Find Out Where Your Trash is Coming From
How can we stop making waste if we don't know where it's coming from? If you want to keep a journal of every piece of trash you consume you might have a tough time. But hey, if that's what works for you, go for it girl! If a "waste journal" isn't for you, we suggest a "Trash Jar".
A Trash Jar is easy. Just follow these steps:
Step 1: Find a jar (or a bag, or a box, or whatever container fits your needs)
Step 2: Put all trash (garbage and recyclables) into your jar. Compost always goes in the compost. (If you're not able to compost, download the ShareWaste app to give your compost to someone who will use it).
Step 3: After a week, take a look at the waste you created and see ways you can cut out some of the trash. Try not to get overwhelmed, you can do this!
2. Start in The Kitchen
Most of our waste starts at the grocery store. Try to bring your reusable bags to the store, buy NAKED PRODUCE (produce without packaging), buy what you NEED (try shopping more frequently to reduce food waste), and bring your own bread bag to buy fresh bread.
Avoiding meat and dairy are also great ways to reduce your plastic output (Canada, 2019)
Do we even need to say that you should use reusable plate ware, cups, cutlery, and napkins?
3. Make Your Own
Did you know you can make your own plant milk? What about your own vegan caesar salad dressing? Even breadcrumbs? Body scrubs and face wash? YUP. Kick it old school. Making your own products is an amazing way to reduce your waste. It does take some research and planning, but practice makes perfect. Getting your friends or family involved in DIY products can be a fun experience too. Comment below and tell us your favourite DIY recipes. Our go-to spot is Wellness Mama.
4. Remember Your Reusables
Never leave the house without the following:
Reusable mug/cup/mason jar
Reusable take-out container
Bamboo or stainless steal or reused plastic cutlery
Reusable napkin (Lexi uses an old face towel and Sarah uses an old bandana)
A big smile on your face because spread the love!
5. Buy Second Hand
Buying second hand is so in. Fashion is one of the largest contributors to CO2 emissions and pollution to our waterways (Perry, 2018). Harmful dyes and large amounts of textile waste have an impact on our earth than more people realize. Hit up your local thrift store for some cute vintage finds. Or download ThredUp or Poshmark to find trendy second hand stuff.
Lexi went a whole year with only buying a few new items. Almost everything she purchased in 2019 was second hand. It was a huge accomplishment for her and felt so good. 2020 her goal is NOTHING new (except when necessary.. aka: not buying used socks)
Have you ever been walking downtown and some cute millennial wants to hand you a sample of whatever product they're offering for an experiential marketing campaign? SAY NO (in the nicest way possible). Refusing waste is important because it tells companies that we don't want products that harm our planet. See you later garbage.
7. Did Someone Say Free Books?
Stop supporting Amazon and start supporting your local library. Free books, free quiet space, and access to movies, audiotapes, and so much more. Libraries are so underrated.. Let's bring 'em back! Any favourite reads right now? Let us know in the comment section below.
Instead of buying a new dress for your friend's wedding or that gala you're going to... Borrow an item from a friend, your sister, your mom, or find a site that allows people to lend their clothes to you, like Boro (a GTA based clothing-lending company). Save $$$ and reduce your waste.
9. Use What You Have
Instead of throwing everything out and buying all new reusable stuff, get crafty! Reuse what you have. Keep those plastic containers because they'll last you a lifetime. Save your towels to make reusable paper towels. Don't throw out those t-shirts before making them into No-Sew Reusable T-Shirt bags. Use your gift bags and ask for them back to reuse them again. Be smart and conscious of what you're using and how to reuse those items.
10. Food Waste
Nearly 1/3 of all food is wasted globally. Food waste that is not properly composted can produce greenhouse gases 24x more harmful than CO2 (Canada, 2019). Food waste costs Canadians billions of dollars each year. BUT THIS CAN BE AVOIDED (Flashfood.com, 2020).
Eat what you buy, buy what you need, and buy produce that is going bad (and use it up). If you want a way to save on food and reduce food waste, download the app FlashFood. This app allows grocery stores to post food that is going bad (soon) at a discounted price.
$5.00 for all these fruits and veggies? SIGN US UP!
Guys, reducing your waste is important! It's easy, inexpensive (can probably save you money), and feels GOOD. These 10 steps are a start that will make an impact. Having trouble in one area of your life where you can't reduce your waste? Have a success story with your trash jar? Let us know how you're doing. We're in this together Earthlings.
Sarah & Lexi
Canada, E. (2019). Food loss and waste - Canada.ca. [online] Canada.ca. Available at: https://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/managing-reducing-waste/food-loss-waste.html [Accessed 6 Feb. 2020].
Flashfood.com. (2020). Flashfood | Save money and reduce food waste. [online] Available at: https://www.flashfood.com/ [Accessed 6 Feb. 2020].
Perry, P. (2018). The Environmental Costs of Fast Fashion. [online] The Independent. Available at: https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/fashion/environment-costs-fast-fashion-pollution-waste-sustainability-a8139386.html [Accessed 6 Feb. 2020].