5 Easy Ways to Reduce Your Waste

So, I’ve mentioned before that I’m an earth lover. We only have one of them and we should take care of it. I’m sure we all like to visit the beach or other exotic destinations. I know I do!! Well in order to sustain those, we all have to do our part in protecting the greatest of all creations….Mother Earth.

She provides so much for us and we rarely show our gratitude and respect. The United States produces more waste per person than any other nation. Which means we also have the chance to make the biggest impact on saving by reducing that number. I’ve compiled 5 easy things you can do to reduce your waste and help save the planet. Not to mention none of these things require ANY extra spending!

1. Reusable Grocery Bags

We’ve seen them all over. Just about every store has them at the front near the registers. Did you know you didn’t have to purchase the ones at the store? As a matter of fact, any bag or sack will suffice. If you’re like me, you’ve accumulated a few over the years. Well pull them out, dust them off and put them to use! Most stores don’t care what bag you have to carry your groceries. They just want you to spend money. I mean be reasonable people. Don’t roll your suitcase in there and start loading up your groceries. Just simple tote bags will work perfectly. Each American uses an average of 1500 plastic bags every year! Of those 1500, only 1% of those are recycled. Those 99% end up in landfills and oceans and kill 100,000 marine life every year.

2. Containers instead of plastic sandwich bags

Y’all, in the south, saving butter bowls is basically a religion. I feel like your character is questioned if you don’t save your butter bowls. You can use them for all your storage needs. Food or otherwise! So, why not replace your plastic sandwich bags? Yes these bowls are still a plastic, but the key word being a REUSABLE plastic. By using that butter bowl (or other reusable containers), you reduce your waste dramatically. The amount of single use bags the average family uses is astonishing… 500 bags a year! Instead of using bags for your sandwiches or leftovers, put them in reusable containers. You might have to wash a few extra dishes, but most people have dishwashers, so your argument is irrelevant. You’ll save dozens of animals just by using something other than those pesky plastic bags.

3. Pass on the straw

Straws are one of the few plastics that can’t be recycled. It’s a single use item. Not going to lie, this is the hardest thing for me. I love drinking out of straws, but they are SO BAD for the environment. Have y’all see the video of a group pulling a straw out of a turtles nose?! It made me physically hurt. The easiest way to reduce your straw waste is to simply pass on it. When someone asks if you would like a straw, politely decline. I promise it won’t kill you to drink from the glass. If you just can’t bare the thought that, there are reusable straws you can purchase for pretty cheap. Here’s a 4 pack for $5. Don’t be the reason a turtle has a straw up it’s nose.

4. Refill bottles and cups

I don’t really drink that much throughout the day. However, if your the bottled water drinker then this is for you. 80% of those plastic bottles never get recycled. That means 38 million end up in a landfill every year. That’s a lot of bottles. The solution is to use refillable bottles and cups. Ones you already have will work just fine. You can get good quality water from plenty of sources. Bottled water isn’t that great anyway, it’s just convenient. Even if you limited yourself to one plastic bottle a day, and refilled it, that would still reduce your waste impact. It’s not ideal, but to each their own. Bottom line is, if you’re not going to remember to recycle plastic bottles, it’s best to not even use it in the first place. Not to mention bottled water is not cheap! You would be better off buying a $5 water bottle from Walmart and using the water fountain at work. Saves the environment, saves your wallet!

5. Cloth towels instead of paper towels

The old faithful dish towel. Every house has a stash. They can be more beneficial than just wiping down the counter. Leave a few near the sink to dry hands or clean up spills or you can even use them with your meals. Paper is the largest municipal waste in the United States. Contrary to popular belief, not all paper is recyclable. Paper towels is one example. Much like the straw, one use and that’s it. If you don’t want to multipurpose your trusty dish towels then think of alternatives. Old T-shirt’s cut into small pieces are great napkin squares. Have some set aside for various things. Gets rid of closet clutter, saves money, saves the environment. Win-win-win!

I’ll go ahead and say I am by no means perfect. I still produce plenty of waste. The main point this is that you try and are conscious of what kind of impact you are making. Reducing waste doesn’t have to be a lot of work. It really is just simple life changes. It doesn’t require loads of time or money to make significant contributions. A lot of people think “I’m just one person, I’m not really hurting the environment.” The problem is when everyone has that same mentality. Then it becomes billions of straws in turtle noses or plastic in pelican stomachs. If everyone did these 5 simple things, we could decrease our environmental impact tremendously. Then we might not have to worry about our marine life dying or the fact that 3 billion trees are cut down each year. We need to sustain and enjoy the beautiful gifts Mother Earth provides us with and then we can feel good about future generations being able to do the same.