By Mackenzie Pittman
In a time where mass amounts of trash is commonplace, it’s easy to ignore the problems surrounding waste. You’ve all probably heard of living a “zero-waste” lifestyle. This implies that you follow strict guidelines to create next to no waste, which in turn reduces your footprint on the earth. While leading a zero-waste life is difficult, and at times unreasonable for many people and families, there are still many habits that can help reduce your personal waste. These 9 tips will help you do just that while encouraging others to follow your lead to a greener and cleaner earth.
- Bring reusable bags with you when grocery shopping! The flimsy plastic bags stores give you creates up to 80% of the waste that ends up in the ocean each year. Keep a stack in your trunk so you’re always prepared for unplanned trips to the store.
- Pack your lunch instead of buying. By packing your lunch, you can control the amount of food you bring, meaning less food going to waste
- Once you start packing your lunch, use containers instead of Ziploc bags. Please. Ziploc bags can only be used once whereas containers can be used, washed, and reused hundreds of times.
- Start composting. Once you set up a compost bin (you can make your own or buy one online), collect food scraps, some wood shavings, and in a few weeks you’ll have soil which you can then return to the Earth.
- Use a reusable coffee filter over single use paper filters. And if you drink tea instead of coffee, you can buy a tea infuser for loose leaf tea, getting rid of the unnecessary packaging of tea bags.
- Get an electronic or bamboo toothbrush (easily recycled and decomposed). The plastic toothbrushes most people use can take up to 1000 years to decompose.
- Recycle old electronics and batteries. Best Buy will take any used tech and if it still has value, you can get in-store credit for trading them in.
- Bring your own coffee cup to coffee shops. Coffee shops will let you use your own cup skipping the step of plastic or foam cups. This is also cheaper since you are only paying for the drink instead of the packaging so it’s a double win. Most paper coffee cups are not recyclable due to a plastic film that covers the paper.
- Invest in a reliable, decently-sized reusable water bottle. Only 1 in every 5 plastic water bottles are recycled, so take away the problem and use your own. Even better if your reusable water bottle is made of easily-recyclable materials like glass or stainless steel.