Going Green: How To Reduce Waste In The Home
Taking care of the environment is becoming increasingly important as the years tick by. Scientific studies, news reports, and scary photos on social media have made it clear that our traditional approach to waste isn’t sustainable. Chances are, you’ve bought yourself a reusable coffee cup and reliable canvas shopping bag by now (because the idea of literally billions of these things being added to the pile each year and taking a human lifetime to break down is truly terrifying), but what else can you do? We’ve compiled a list of easy changes you can make around the home to reduce waste even further and do your bit for Mother Earth.
Say no to single use
If you haven’t already, switch out single-use plastic bags, coffee cups, straws, and water bottles for more sustainable options. As well as being far better for the planet, it’ll also help your wallet: many cafes now offer discounts for reusable cups, a sturdy metal water bottle will set you back around $20 and last a lifetime, and taking your own bags to the grocery store will save you paying the nominal amount most stores are now charging for paper bags.
Look for less packaging
A number of supermarkets have come under fire recently for their excessive packaging of fresh produce. Join the protest by refusing to buy shrink-wrapped cucumbers, pre-packaged corn cobs, and anything presented on Styrofoam bases. Outside of fresh produce, make better choices by buying items with only one layer of packaging (e.g. bread in a single bag rather than a double-wrapped loaf), and saying a polite no to excessive wrapping where appropriate. When it comes to household cleaning products and personal hygiene products, you can also reduce packaging by buying refills or buying in bulk. The smaller the plastic to product ratio is, the better.
Regiment your recycling
We’re far more likely to recycle things if we make the process easy for ourselves. Small tweaks like keeping a separate recycling bin in the kitchen, bathroom, and study can reduce the amount of paper, glass and hard plastic that makes its way to landfill. If your council has separate bins for different recyclables, replicate this in your home to keep things running smoothly. It’s also a great idea to take the time to educate yourself on what can be recycled, both via your ordinary recycling bin and through council service centres (electronic waste and lightbulbs are two great examples).
Reinvent your leftovers
Australians throw away $8 billion worth of edible food every year, usually because we buy too much or don’t know what to do with leftovers. So, rather than letting those carrots rot in your crisper or Tuesday night’s stew get tipped in the bin, dedicate some time to getting creative with what’s in your fridge. Those carrots might be perfect in carrot cake and that stew might make perfect filling for pot pies. If you struggle to make this approach work for you, consider making changes at the other end by buying fewer groceries more frequently or changing up your storage (e.g. transferring open packets to airtight containers or moving things to the freezer after a few days).
Get cosy with compost
A large proportion of food waste can be put to good use in your garden rather than taking up space in landfill. If you have a backyard, start a compost bin for food scraps and use that instead of fertilizer. You’ll save money, reduce waste, and have healthy, happy plants.
You might be surprised how much of your mail be delivered online. Next time you get a bill or an appointment reminder, get in touch with the sender and ask if you can make your account paperless. You can also affix a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign to your letterbox and shift your newspaper subscription from physical to online delivery.
Buy items built to last
While it can be tempting to buy cheaper versions of whatever you need, it’s always a good idea to invest in quality. While it will be a bigger upfront cost, you won’t be forking out for a replacement in six months’ time, which is better for your wallet and the environment. Here at Canningvale, we’re proud to offer a 5 year warranty with all our products, from our beautiful bedding and luxurious towels, right through to our gorgeous range of sofas . It’s our way of bringing quality into your home and discouraging a disposable approach to homewares.
Say no to impulse buys
Following on from the above, resisting the urge to make spur of the moment purchases is also great for your hip pocket and for reducing the world’s waste. A recent study by Paramount Pictures found we spend an average of $5400 a year on impulse buys (which adds up to around $324,000 over the course of a lifetime), and a separate study by the British Government found that the majority of these poorly-thought-through purchases end up in landfill, even if we donate them to charity. So next time something catches your eye, take the time to ask yourself whether you really need it.
Remember the five R's
At the end of the day, all these tips and tricks can be summed up in five little words: refuse, reduce, re-use, recycle, and rot (compost). If you take these with you into your daily life, you’ll be able to make better choices all round and do good things for the environment.
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