Ten easy ways to reduce waste at home

Payton Zagacki, Editor-in-Chief

With only around 12 years until climate change is irreversible, saving our planet is becoming more important than ever. There are so many ways you can help save the planet from the comfort of your own home. Here are 10 easy ways to reduce your waste at home.

  •  Use a reusable water bottle

Using a reusable water bottle can help reduce the amount of plastic in landfills and plastic that ends up in the ocean, disturbing ecosystems. A reusable water bottle also takes significantly less oil to produce than regular single-use plastic bottles, so not only can you reduce waste, you can also reduce your carbon footprint.

  •  Compost!

 The food that ends up in landfills breaks down and releases gases such as methane that contribute to global warming. Composting helps to significantly reduce the amount of food waste that ends up in these harmful landfills. It also adds valuable nutrients to soil, making it easier to grow a delicious garden.

  •  Shop local farmers markets

Farmers markets are a great and healthy way to help the environment. Farmers selling at these markets typically help reduce waste and pollution. Many have certified organic farms, significantly reducing the use of synthetic pesticides and chemicals that end up in the soil and water sources. You are also helping to reduce what is called “food miles.” Food that ends up in grocery stores typically has to travel long distances on trucks and ships to end up on shelves, adding pollution to the atmosphere. Farmers markets showcase locally grown food that has to travel shorter distances, reducing air pollution. Not only do you get to help save the environment, you also get to help support local businesses and farmers in your community.

  •  Avoid single use plastic

Around 40 percent of all plastic is single use. Single use plastic is a major problem for the environment. Plastic is not biodegradable, meaning when it ends up in landfills, oceans or other waterways it does not go away. Instead it breaks down into tiny pieces called micro plastics. These micro plastics are mistaken by animals for food, causing them to choke. Not only does plastic kill wildlife, the making of it also contributes greatly to global warming. 

  •  Recycle!

Recycling is a household must. Recycling helps to prevent the emission of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. It also greatly reduces water pollution and it saves energy.

  •  Use reusable grocery bags

While paper bags provided at grocery stores might not be as bad for the environment as plastic ones, reusable bags are still the way to go. Trees must be cut down to make paper bags, further harming the environment. Most grocery stores encourage using reusable bags by charging for paper or plastic bags or by rewarding customers with store points for bringing their own bags.

  •  Make a meal plan

Planning meals before shopping can greatly reduce the amount of food waste your family produces. It can also help you save money by encouraging you to not buy unnecessary food.

  •  Shop sustainable clothing businesses

Sustainable clothing businesses make their clothes using sustainable materials such as organic cotton. They also have eco-conscious business models, ensuring the safety of the environment is considered in all of their decisions. Some popular brands include Boden, Toms, Prana, Patagonia, Stella McCartney and H&M.

  •  Stop unnecessary mail

Unnecessary mail is a terrible waste of paper, which results in the cutting down of trees to make said paper. By stopping junk mail you can help save up to 20 trees and 7000 gallons of water. You can also help stop global warming emissions. There are many websites available that can help you put an end to this time consuming mail.

  •  Go paperless

This can go right along with stopping unnecessary mail. With such advanced technology, going paperless is simple and efficient. Going paperless might include opting electronic bills instead of paper ones. While going completely paperless might not be an option for some families, reducing the amount of paper you use in your everyday life still makes a positive impact on the environment.