In the age of consumerism, it can be difficult to avoid being wasteful. However, if you are willing to make some changes in your life, there are many ways that you can live more sustainably.
You might feel overwhelmed by the idea of making significant changes in your life. But there are small things that you can do every day that will make a difference for the planet.
By following these ten habits, you’ll find that living low on waste doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive. These small steps will add up over time and help you create a sustainable lifestyle right for your budget!
1. Using soap
Using soap is the easiest way to reduce plastic waste. Most conventional liquid soaps come in plastic bottles, challenging to recycle. On the other hand, soap bars are made from soap and water only—no plastics are needed!
When you’re finished using your soap bar, cut off any remaining bits and store them in a reusable container like a Mason jar. This way, you can use the same bar of soap for a few months, saving plastic and excess waste.
2. Bamboo toothbrush and powder toothpaste
Several months ago, I switched from a plastic toothbrush to a bamboo one, and it works great. I like that bamboo is a sustainable material, and it’s compostable. You can also get a toothbrush with a replaceable head which reduces waste.
As for the toothpaste, I’ve been using powder toothpaste for over a year now, and I love it. It comes in a glass jar, and you just need to add a tiny bit of water to make it into toothpaste. It lasts for months, and I haven’t had any problems with it.
3. Bring our own bag to the grocery store
Did you know that between 500 billion and one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide every year? That’s insane! Plastic bags can take hundreds of years to degrade in landfills, and even when they do, they often leave behind harmful toxins.
You can use any bag, from reusable cloth bags to sturdy cardboard boxes. Just make sure that it’s big enough to fit all of your groceries. Many stores offer discounts for customers who bring their own bags, saving you money in the long run.
Don’t forget to bring your own bags when shopping for other items, too, such as clothes and shoes!
4. Start a compost bin in your kitchen
Composting is one of the best ways to reduce food waste. Food scraps are packed with nutrients and can be used as compost for your garden, helping you grow healthier plants while reducing your carbon footprint.
You don’t need a lot of space to start a compost bin in your kitchen. If you have room on the counter or in an unused corner, you can use a small container to store your food scraps. You can also get composting bins that fit under the sink or in the garage.
If you’re not sure how to start composting, plenty of online tutorials are available. Just follow the instructions carefully, so you don’t create any smelly piles of rotting food.
Once you get the hang of composting, it’s easy to maintain and will help you reduce your waste while growing healthier plants!
5. Use stainless steel or glass containers instead of plastic bottles
Plastic bottles are one of the most common forms of plastic waste. Unfortunately, they’re also one of the most difficult to recycle.
Try to switch to stainless steel or glass containers instead of plastic bottles if you can. Not only are they easier to recycle, but they’re healthier for you and the planet. Glass and stainless steel are both non-toxic materials that can be reused over and over again.
Plastic bottles also leach chemicals into the water, which can harm your health. By using stainless steel or glass containers, you’ll reduce your exposure to these harmful chemicals.
6. Use natural dish washing scrubbers
Conventional dishwashing scrubbers are made from plastic and can be challenging to recycle. They also tend to harbor bacteria, which can be harmful if you’re not careful about cleaning them.
Instead of using a traditional dishwashing scrubber, try using a natural sponge or brush made from bamboo, wood, or even coconut fiber. These materials are biodegradable and can be composted or recycled, which is a much better option than throwing them out to sit in a landfill.
7. Use dishcloth to reduce wipes waste
Disposable wipes are another common form of waste, and they can be challenging to recycle. Most wipes are made from plastic and non-biodegradable materials, which means they take hundreds of years to break down in a landfill.
Dishcloths are a great alternative to disposable wipes. They’re made from natural materials, such as cotton or bamboo, composted or recycled. Plus, they’re much cheaper than disposable wipes!
You can also use old towels or sheets as dishcloths. Just wash them regularly so they don’t harbor bacteria.
Many appliances and electronics still draw power even when they’re turned off. This is called a “phantom load,” or the amount of electricity a machine uses while plugged but not actually on.
“Phantom loads” can account for up to 15% of your home energy costs. By unplugging electronic devices when you’re not using them, you can reduce your energy consumption and save money on your electric bill.
If you don’t want to unplug everything every time you leave the house, try plugging all of your electronics into a power strip and turning it off when you’re not using them. This will kill the “phantom load” and save you some energy.
Recycling is a great way to limit your trash or have another use for items. You can take most recyclables, such as paper and cardboard packaging or glass jars and bottles, to any local recycling center.
I often used expired coffee beans to make a natural air freshener. Just put them into a cloth net or even an old shower net, tie it up and hang it in a closet, near the entrance, or in the bathroom. The smell of coffee beans slowly diffuses into the air, leaving a fresh scent.
10. Bring your own eco-friendly straws
Plastic straws are one of the most common forms of plastic waste. They’re also difficult to recycle and can leach chemicals into your drinks.
By bringing your own eco-friendly straws, you can reduce your reliance on disposable plastic straws. There are various eco-friendly straw options available, such as bamboo, stainless steel, and glass straws. You can also find biodegradable straws made from paper, cornstarch, or even edible materials like seaweed!
Living a low waste lifestyle can seem to be a daunting task initially, especially if you are not familiar with the terminology or concepts, but it doesn’t have to be.
Like anything else, you can break it down into manageable steps. And once you get started, it becomes easier and more natural, and soon you’ll be living a zero-waste lifestyle with ease.