Spring brings about so much natural beauty: the trees begin to bud, flowers pop up from warmed soil, and the sun makes an appearance more frequently. It’s a beautiful time that reminds us of all the world has to offer and how much joy it brings us. It also makes us think about the degree to which we’re working to preserve it.
Americans create a lot of trash each day; in fact, the average U.S. citizen creates around 3.5 pounds of trash per day. That’s a lot of garbage heading to our landfills and disrupting our ecosystems!
Luckily, it’s easy to reduce the amount of trash you create. It starts with a few simple steps, each of which is easy to implement and mold into your daily life. How can you start to reduce waste and protect our earth today?
- Simplify your life. Simplification is a huge part of reducing waste. Go through your home and see what you truly need. What brings you joy? What inspires you? What do you really use? Think through this and change your purchasing behavior to reflect the answers to those questions. Having a ton of stuff not only causes stress and makes for a cluttered home, it also has a huge impact on the environment.
- Repair before throwing away. Many items these days are made with short shelf lives and don’t last as long as they should. Investing in high quality items that last is a great step in reducing your waste. When your items do eventually break down, prioritize repair over trashing; this is particularly fruitful with clothing (get out your sewing kit!) or furniture (grab a hammer!). Repair can be easier than you think and can seriously cut down on resource use.
- Limit your habit of grabbing single-use disposables. Between plastic/paper shopping bags, coffee cups, straws, cutlery, and paper towels, there are many single-use (i.e. non-reusable) plastics and paper products out there that contribute to our unending waste stream. Reduce the amount of packaging you use by refusing a straw or plastic cutlery at restaurants. You can also use your voice to gently encourage businesses to adopt reusable alternatives.
- Replace with reusables. Ultimately, it’s best not to use many plastics at all, but if you need to (we need our cup of joe!) replace them with high quality reusable products. Take a reusable bag with you at all times, grab a ceramic coffee mug for on-the-go java, and replace paper towels with cloth rags that you can throw in the wash. Bring jars or reusable produce bags to the grocery store to limit packaging use. Reusable straws are easy to order online, while throwing reusable forks and knives into your bag for take-out orders is a piece of cake.
- Eat whole foods. This might not seem like a way to necessarily reduce waste, but we assure you, it is! Oftentimes processed food comes surrounded by packaging to maintain freshness (think: cereal, crackers, chips, etc.). Whole foods, on the other hand, have their own protective layer (think: apples, oranges, broccoli). Prioritize whole, healthy foods to limit your waste production. On top of this, try your best to plan your meals (particularly portion sizes) and eat everything you buy.
It’s easy to limit consumption, reduce waste, and decrease your impact on the earth by adopting a few simple, green daily practices. At the end of the day, your trash can (and mother earth) will thank you!