Simple Tips to Reduce Waste
Going through our daily lives we can accumulate a fair amount of waste.
Recycling can be a great means to give new life to used items from aluminum, glass, paper, plastic, and etc.That being said, it can take a lot of energy and processing to bring trash back to life. This article is focused on simple things you can do to cut down on things that need to be trashed/recycled. Below are some easy tips and tricks to help reduce the amount of waste you produce and maybe save a few bucks while you are at it.
Reusable Water Bottle
Using a reusable water bottle or cup is one of the simplest ways to cut back on plastic waste. If a person drinks two disposable bottled waters a day every day of the year, that is 730 bottles or roughly 14 kilograms(31 pounds) of plastic.
It takes roughly 2 gallons of water to process a plastic bottle. 50 billion bottles of water are consumed in the United States over a course of a year and the vast majority are not recycled. Reusing a cup or bottle is one of the easiest ways to cut down on plastic usage and save a little bit of money.
Grocery Tote Bags
While tote bags are becoming more popular and common, the majority of individuals still use paper or plastic to bag their groceries. Tote bags are often durable, washable, and reusable; making them an easy substitute for the plastic bags at the store.
Even if you use plastic bags, there are still plenty ways you can reduce waste by reusing them to collect trash, separate soiled/wet clothes in luggage, and countless other things. I recommend sticking a couple in your car glove compartment so you have them when you need them. Also, note that several grocery stores have a drop off location to recycle grocery bags.
When an option, set up your credit cards, bank accounts, and utilities to deliver statements and newsletters electronically as opposed to mailing out hard copies. The average person can get 30 lbs of paper mail a year which adds up over time. Going digital cuts down on the amount of trash and recycling needed. Also, this can save you from a lot of shredding if they are documents with sensitive information. Also for receipts and records online, you can also save items as PDF's and when needed print the ones out that you need to present. There are various freeware PDF printers online if you do not want to break the bank. One example is BullZip.
Here are a few simple ways to reduce the amount of paper used for printing. One of the easiest ways to save paper is to go electronic. Save and print files to PDF's if hard copies are not needed. If you do need to print using duplex settings are a great way to cut paper usage in half. Furthermore, for documents that will be viewed briefly, circulate a few copies as opposed to giving every individual one. Lastly, for paper copies no longer needed, use them for scratch paper before recycling. Roughly 16 reams of paper is equivalent to a tree.
Linen Napkins and Dish Towels
Each paper towel and napkin we use adds up. Fabric napkins are a great way to save and conserve paper. They are reusable, washable, and add that restaurant style flare to dinner at home. Also, you can save money and resources using remains of old fabric at the house. While you do have to wash and dry linen napkins as they get soiled, the net impact can be much less severe than paper napkins especially if you hang dry.
Turn Off Electronics When Not In Use
Turn off and/or unplug appliances and electronics that are not in use as opposed to leaving them in stand by. This may seem like a no-brainer, but the vast majority of us, including myself at times, leave appliances plugged in that do not need to be. When in standby, many pieces of electronics continue to draw a small amount of electricity and some continue to use energy even when turned off.This can apply to computers, video game consoles, laptops, printers, scanners, cell phones, televisions and various other appliances. Many appliances have remote controls or timer features which can help trigger power shut offs easily.
Using a clothes line is a simple way to conserve electricity by saving you loads in the clothes dryer. A hefty rope, good clothes pins, and amicable weather are great starting points. We have a very inexpensive drying rack for indoor drying. Also, putting shirts on hangers and placing those on the clothes line to dry can be a great time saver. Also consider that each load hang dried may save over 3 kilowatt-hours. In regards to emission savings, 4 loads powered by energy from fossil fuels are similar to emissions from a gallon of gasoline.
Composting is a great way to give new life to items that would otherwise fill a landfill. Egg shells, coffee grounds, vegetable scraps, grass clipping, leaves, untreated wood sawdust and weeds that have not gone to seed are all excellent for making a compost heap. I have a tumbler that is filled through out the year and used to prepare my garden soil.
Make a Grocery List
If you are like me and go to the grocery store without a plan, you can go rogue (especially if hungry). If you determine what you want to eat use for the next week, it helps make sure that everything you buy has a purpose. Also, if there are some ingredients that you will not use the whole bunch or box of; it helps you think of other ways to use up what is left.
How do you reduce waste?
What tips do you have for reducing waste? Leave your tips and tricks in the comment section below.
© 2015 Daniel Gottlob