When it comes to trying to reduce waste I've learned that it's a lot less about what you buy and a lot more about building better, more sustainable, habits. I've put together a list of some of the habits I've adopted that help reduce waste. Some of these things I even did before going zero waste because they just make sense!
1. Cleaning out the fridge:
I can't be the only one who finds some really gross food in the back of my fridge from time to time! One thing you can do that's actually quite sustainable is making the act of cleaning out your fridge a regular chore for yourself. But also it's important to do it right. By this I mean that when you go through your fridge find things that are close to going bad but aren't bad yet and bring them to the front of the fridge so they get eaten ASAP. And grocery shop around these items so you can make meals with them before they go bad. Doing this once a week before you go grocery shopping will help you save money and reduce food waste, double win!
2. Take Navy Showers:
Did you know that the average American shower uses 17.2 gallons of water? That's a lot of water! I actually learned recently that a lot of European cultures normally shower this way too in what we Americans call a "Navy Shower". This is when you get in the shower and wet yourself down, then turn the water off while you lather up and then turn the water back on to rinse. I know not everyone will be down for this one but you never know until you try it, and think of how much water you'll save. Try it out and see if your water bill goes down too!
3. Using What You Have:
As is often said, the most sustainable thing is the thing you already own. And this is true for everyone! Whenever you're looking at buying something, see if you have an item on hand that will work instead. For example, we make a lot of recipes that have a seasoning mix in them for marinating tofu/vegetables. When we need to make a lot of it I love using an old empty spice jar and mixing together a big batch of the mix! I can then label it with what the mix is and I always have it on hand. I just re-use an empty spice bottle in lieu of going out and buying brand new spice bottles to keep on hand. Think about if there are any areas in your life you can apply this!
4. Turning the Lights Off:
I know I harp on this a lot but when you leave a room simply turning off the lights can be a huge energy saver. And it brings down your electricity bill at the same time so you have no excuses!
"Refuse" is one of those sneaky extra "R's" in the good old saying "Reduce, Reuse, Recycle". What we mean by this is refusing free things just for the sake of getting swag. At the dentist say no to the plastic toothbrush and toothpaste if you have plenty at home. At an event say no to all the swag that you know will just end up in a junk drawer by the end of the year. Say no at the store to getting plastic bags, either bring your own or opt for paper bags! Whatever it is, refusing also goes a long way to reducing our carbon footprint and reducing waste.
Join me as I document my journey to becoming zero-waste through this blog as a resource to others.