7 genius ways to reduce waste in everyday life
From plastic water bottles to soda cans to fast food packets, our everyday lives are packed with single-use items that are discarded with high frequency. While we may not see them again, the little chips packets and candy wrappers can take decades to decompose. Often, in the absence of an adequate waste disposal system, these bits and bobs of plastic can make their way to rivers and other water bodies where they pose a significant threat to marine life. If you’re looking for ways to reduce unnecessary waste from everyday life, this handy guide will get you started.
Minimise grocery wastage
Given the short shelf life of fresh groceries, it pays to keep a vigilant eye to avoid them from getting spoiled in the fridge and ultimately discarded. If you’re looking for a little help in keeping track, it pays to follow the ‘first in, first out’ rule. When buying new groceries, place them at the back of the shelf and keep older ones at hand so that you can use them first and prevent them from spoiling.
Switch to reusable masks
Given the current health crisis that has gripped the world, another catalyst for waste has arisen: disposable face masks. When not recycled adequately, these masks often find their way to water bodies where they can suffocate marine animals. For your safety as well as the environment’s, make the switch to reusable cloth masks that can be recycled. Also, make sure to cut the straps out before discarding it to ensure that it doesn’t become a trap for animals and, as always, discard responsibly.
Switch to paperless billing
Make a quick check of the inside of your handbag and you’ll likely find it littered with old receipts. Modern billing systems mean that even a token purchase of chewing gum at a supermarket will necessitate a printed bill of its own. These little scraps of paper add up to compound the earth’s waste problem. Do your bit for culling out unwanted wastage by insisting on digital receipts for your purchases and forgoing printed bills.
Opt for natural toothbrushes
It is a known fact that 99% of all toothbrushes are constructed from non-biodegradable plastic and every year, around 3 billion toothbrushes are thrown away. The first step towards reducing this number starts by making the switch to a natural bamboo toothbrush. The old ones can be further recycled by using them for cleaning purposes around the house.
Cut back on cutlery
The excessive amount of disposable cutlery and napkins provided with takeout purchases has long served as a source of humour for parodies and memes. But beyond the quick laughs, the single-use nature of cutlery makes it a major culprit for the current waste problem. When ordering takeout at home, request the restaurant to avoid sending any disposable cutlery over as you can use the ones already at home. It also pays to put together a takeout kit of cloth napkins and steel or bamboo cutlery to be taken with you whenever you’re grabbing takeout outside. This will help you dial back the use of disposable options.
Buy your food and everyday goods in bulk
There are multiple benefits to this practice, both economical and environmental. When purchasing everyday rations and non-perishable groceries or other household items in bulk, you’ll be able to downsize your bills by a significant amount. By negating the need for multiple trips to the supermarket each week, you’ll also be able to reduce the amount of packaging involved. Sounds like a win-win, yes?
Donate old belongings
While it is natural to want to refresh your wardrobe with the latest trends, it helps to pay attention to the clothes you already own. Instead of discarding them once the trend has passed, look for meaningful ways to donate it to local NGOs and shelters where it can be put to good use. The same also holds true for old toys, technology and furniture.
The world population is currently estimated at 759 crores, and it is easy to imagine the amount of waste that can be generated by crores and crores of people on any given day. It pays to take the first step towards leading a more sustainable life by opting to reduce waste in all aspects of life.