When you decide to take the leap to minimize your waste it can feel overwhelming. The best thing you can do is just pick one thing that you can do and start! There will always be ways that you can improve and new things to learn about. Here are 10 tips to start your low waste journey today.
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1. Buy pantry staples in bulk
You can bring cloth bags or glass jars to your local health food stores to purchase bulk items. We like to buy beans, rice, nutritional yeast, spices, and more. By getting these items in bulk you can reduce the amount of money you spend along with the amount of plastic and waste you create. Here is a great article that shares exactly how you can shop in the bulk section to reduce your waste.
2. Save glass jars
If you don’t buy anything in glass jars, you can try asking friends, neighbors, and even local stores to donate them to you so you can start your collection. Glass containers are great for everything from storing food to holding DIY products. Here are some ideas of how you can use jars. You can reduce your waste just by reusing items or getting them second hand.
3. Reuse grocery and produce bags
You can save paper bags from the grocery store to use again or buy your own cloth bags. I love these mesh produce bags, but if I forget them I just get the produce without bags. The same goes for if I forget my grocery bags. Anyone can easily build the habit of saying no to using plastic shopping bags.
4. Bring your own utensils
These glass containers are perfect for taking food on road trips, picnics, outings, and even for taking home leftovers if you go to a restaurant. With this simple switch you can reduce your waste by passing on plastic to-go containers and baggies. These silicon reusable bags are a sustainable way to keep your food fresh on the go.
A simple first step you can take is keeping a set of cutlery in your bag or car to use if you ever get food while you’re out. You can also start by keeping a straw with you. Every little step you take to reduce your waste counts! You can make a difference slowly but surely.
5. Invest in your period products
You can save your health and money by getting reusable products for your menstrual cycle. These cloth pads can be washed with your regular laundry and stored in a wet bag. Thinx has different underwear that you can wear for extra protection or in replacement of a pad if your period isn’t too heavy. If you’re caught needing to grab something last minute and don’t have the money to spend on these reusable products at the moment these pads are better for you.
Lastly, you can get a menstrual cup like the dot cup. All you have to do is rinse it out each time it fills up and boil it at the end of each cycle to sanitize. Most women will spend $1000s in their lifetimes just on period products alone. This investment will pay off in the long term, for your wallet and your health.
6. Repurpose old clothes
Before consumerism and commercial products were at their peak, people actually took care of the products they had. They mended something or sewed it when it needed to be repaired. Sometimes it seems as if the days are long gone where we actually wear out the items we purchase. Instead of looking for the next best, cheap fashion you should at least look for ways you can use what you already have.
You can cut up old t-shirts and use them as rags for cleaning or napkins. Here are some other great ways you can repurpose old clothes. Fashion is the number two polluting industry in the world, second only to the oil industry. You can reduce your waste just by making the decision to buy thrift clothes when you need them or purchase high quality ethical clothing that will last a long time.
A great documentary on the price of fast fashion is The True Cost. If you watch this you will realize how important it is that you are conscious of where your money is going. What you spend your money on shows your values.
7. Cloth diaper
It is actually cheaper in the long run to buy cloth diapers. Especially if you are having multiple children. Disposable diapers fill up landfills, and many contain toxic chemicals that will affect your babies’ health.
8. Don’t buy things you don’t need
There is so much marketing in society promoting impulse buys because of the latest fad or trend. They make it seem as if the product will solve your problems and make you happy. When, honestly you more than likely won’t even use more than half of these things you buy. Before making a purchase be mindful of if you already have something that could serve the same purpose.
9. Create your own products
Another way to reduce your waste and save money is by making your own household products. It is simple and fun to DIY. It’s also better for your health to know exactly what products you are putting on and around your body. You can make your own cleaning products and beauty products for personal care.
10. Carry a stainless steel water bottle
This is something I’ve been doing for a while. Plastic releases harmful chemicals and is a serious problem for our environment. It’s super convenient and great for your health to carry a reusable water bottle with you. I’ve found that when I have a water bottle at all times I drink more water and reduce my waste by not purchasing plastic water bottles.
I hope these ideas were helpful! I would love to hear if you have any other ways that you have reduced your waste. Let me know in the comments if you plan to implement any of these ways to reduce your waste. Pick a friend to commit to these with and share this with everyone you know so we can all make a big difference together.
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