Studies show that approximately one million pounds of material is produced for one person alone in a year. Take a minute and think of the waste you produce on average, from plastic paper bags to water bottles. Think about the coffee mugs you use and throw away. Think about the paper towels you use once and discard. Imagine the package involved in every product you are using.
Now, multiply that with over a hundred million other people, and it equates to lots of money spent, too much fuel and resources used, and simply a lot of waste per individual. What people across the globe need to remember is that change begins from within and by individual action. So, how can the planet reduce the million pounds of material produced annually? Let’s take a look at 10 super easy ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle.
- 1. Replace plastic bags with reusable bags
Plastic bags create a lot of problems and plastic pollution to the ecosystem because they do not decompose. They clog waterways, a menace in parks and are problematic to people and animals.
Disposable plastic bags are simply too many to recycle and most of them come from shopping as they are used to wrap or package at the checkout. Instead, invest in different sizes of reusable bags to help lessen your consumption of single-use plastic bags and other packaging.
- 2. Replace disposable paper towels with cloth towels
You may think to yourself that paper towels do no harm since they are biodegradable, but the fossil fuels used in producing and transporting them are not exactly environment friendly. Invest in dish towels and cloth napkins instead. As opposed to disposable paper towels, the cloth ones can be used over and over again for an extended period because they only need washing after use.
- 3. Reuse or stop using aluminum foil
It might come as a shock to most people, but aluminum foil can actually be washed and reused. Even better, one can replace aluminum foil with glass Pyrex pans when roasting or baking. It is actually healthier for both the environment and you, as it doesn’t cause aluminum to leak into the food. In storing food, it is healthier to store it in reusable glass containers.
- 4. Ditch the plastic coffee mug
In western countries, plastic coffee mugs are becoming a real problem especially in high production states and towns. Instead of helping a landfill fill up, you can buy your own coffee mug. There are even those that are actually thermos mugs with metal casings so that they do not break.
- 5. Stop using cotton buds
The plastic at the center of a cotton bud is not biodegradable. Cotton buds are being used at a very fast pace which is creating a menace for the environment. Besides, their usage is totally inappropriate because if you value your health, you know you need the wax in your ears. Instead of using the cotton buds, just wash your ears with a clean cloth and leave it at that.
- 6. Take your own containers
In the case of products that cannot be stored in sacks, bulk stores allow you to bring your own containers and jars. Containers can be used to store oils and jars for pastes and jams. These containers and jars can just be washed and reused anytime the product runs out. It’s just a matter of ensuring you know the volume of your jar container. Also, the use of specific containers and jars for specific products is essential at ensuring the products don’t go bad easily.
- 7. Buy your own water bottle
Is it really necessary to buy that bottle of water each day and add three hundred and sixty-five non-biodegradables plastics into the landfill each year? Here is a better idea; just buy one water bottle to carry your water everywhere you go.
- 8. Go back to the kitchen
Do you know how much waste you save by making your own food and beverages? Instead of buying a plastic bottled juice, why not just blend or use a juicer? Instead of ordering takeout that comes with disposable waste, why not cook a proper meal and use plates and cups that can be washed and reused? You will be reducing the amount of waste greatly if you instead take time to learn cooking for yourself.
- 9. Replace disposable diapers with cloth diapers
Is there a garbage truck that is not filled with diapers these days? Unfortunately, the casing of a diaper is plastic and since they are disposable, they are causing a major menace since their invention. Sure, they are convenient, but in exchange, the environment suffers, and the reproductive health of babies are affected due the chemicals in the diapers that can even cause rashes.
- 10. Learn to reuse
A disposable product can be reused in the area it was used in before or used in a totally different area. For example, an old toothbrush can be used to clean the keyboard of a laptop. Old clothes can be made into washing and wiping rugs. Cardboard boxes can be used as ceiling in a tree house and worn out brushes can be used to wash the pets. Before you throw away something, ask yourself if you can repurpose it instead.