How to Create Less Waste and Help the Environment

These days it seems like everywhere you turn more waste is being generated. Packaged foods, plastic bags, sandals that you throw away after two weeks, shampoo bottles and old electronics. Fortunately there are some tried and true ways to reduce your waste and help the environment at the same time. Here’s a guide.

Why It Matters

The reason it matters is that we are all creating far too much waste for the good of our planet and our ecosystem. In the US alone, there were 267 million tons of waste generated just in 2017 which works out to around four-and-a-half pounds per person. The truth is that the way many people live in modern consumer societies is just not sustainable and is doing long-term damage to our nature, oceans and air. Learning to live more sustainably will simplify your life and help the planet. And some small steps you can take are easier than you think – and will make a big difference if more people do them.¹

Reduce Waste at Home

There are a number of steps you can take at home to reduce waste. One of the most important is to start a compost pile where you throw organics like egg shells and vegetable leftovers. In addition you can take some smart steps like not cutting your lawn so short – if you have a lawn. This will help keep it shadier during the summer and stop weeds and grass from growing up as much. If you have a fireplace you can also think about using the ashes on your compost pile as they have a lot of helpful nutrients. More ideas include showering for a shorter time, getting energy-efficient appliances and reducing how often you keep lights on especially if you’re not using a room at the time.²

Recycle Right

You often hear about the importance of recycling but it’s not always clearly explained how to do it properly so that it actually achieves its purpose of reducing waste and helping the environment. Recycling isn’t just about tossing various items in some place. Dirty food containers, for example, can make it hard to sort through everything once the recycling begins for the company and will make a recycling landfill reject the contents. In addition, make sure you follow all recycling directions about sorting metals, plastics, papers and other materials as not doing so will just result in it being thrown into the pile of general garbage and not recycled at all.³

Use Old Clothes Or Sell Them

Clothing is one of those things that all of us buy a lot of, but in these days of fast fashion and constant sales it often doesn’t last long and gets tossed aside or left to rot in some landfill. Instead of this, thoughtfully go through your clothes from time to time and give the ones you don’t want away to charity or use the others for cleaning rags and towels around home. In addition, think about buying from more organic sustainable brands and spending a bit more on higher-quality clothing than you may be used to which has the potential to last longer and often even comes with a warranty.⁴

Limit Plastic

One of the simplest things you can do to help the environment and reduce your waste is to stop using so much plastic. Even though it can be recycled, plastic is no friend of the environment – and it seems to be everywhere. Buy things more in bulk so you only have a few plastic bags, use your reusable canvas or cloth shopping bag and generally try to shop at places that also work on reducing their plastic and packaged products. This will go a long way.³