23 Most Effective Tactics to Reduce Waste at Home
Why should we reduce waste? You've probably heard a lot of scary statistics about plastic pollution and climate change killing a ton of animals around the globe, and threatening us humans as well.
Obviously this is bad, and I'll give you a ton of ideas of how you can help stop this from happening.
Want to read 21 Zero Waste Tips You've Never Heard Before?
Why we should reduce waste
Did you know that the ocean is projected to have more plastic than fish by 2050. And that 1 million animal and plant species are facing extinction. This all seems pretty scary, so this begs the question: How can we stop all of that from happening?
Well, the simple solution would be to reduce waste at home. What I mean by that is to help both climate change and plastic pollution by changing our individual habits. That seems like it should be pretty easy right?
How you can cut waste down at home
In my opinion, the best place to start reducing waste is right at home. You'll save money on energy, hydro, and grocery bills while helping the environment. We'll start with cutting energy and water waste, then get you prepared for reducing food and plastic waste.
Unplug electronics to prevent energy waste
Many people don't know this, but electronics still draw energy from outlets even if the device is turned off. This is called vampire energy and it wastes a ton of energy and money. The EPA says that "the amount of energy used by products when they are in standby mode is high. The average home spends $100 per year to power devices while they are off (or in standby mode)."
Properly insulate your home to save energy
You'll save a small fortune on your electricity bill by insulating your home properly. Keep the heat in and avoid having to use a heater in your home. This will definitely help reduce energy waste and save you money.
Install a low flow shower head
Low flow shower heads are a great way to reduce bathroom waste. These are specifically meant to reduce water consumption in the shower. This allows you to easily reduce water waste.
Install a low flow toilet to reduce water consumption
In older toilets, the average flush uses 6 or more litres of water! With low flow toilets, you will definitely notice a difference in your hydro bill. Low flow toilets drastically reduce the amount of water wasted by only using 4.8 litres of water per flush.
Make sure your air conditioner is working properly
Hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs, are chemical compounds that contribute to global warming. They trap thousands of times more heat than carbon dioxide. The New York Times said that "If your air-conditioner is working properly, it won’t release HFCs into the atmosphere." However, some molecules could release into the atmosphere if it's leaking or broken (New York Times, 2016).
Collect rain water for your plants
Every little thing to help the environment adds up. Just have a bucket sitting outside when it rains. When it fills up, water your garden then put the bucket back.
Keep a reusable bottle of water in the fridge
This way you will have easy access to cold water. You won't have to wait for the tap water to cool down before filling your glass.
Reduce food waste by saving leftovers
This is definitely simple, but effective. Just pack your leftovers into pyrex reusable containers and save it for the next meal!
Start a compost, even if you're in an apartment!
Composting stops food from going into the landfill. When food waste goes in the landfill, it produces methane. Methane traps more heat in the atmosphere than carbon! Methane will just accelerate climate change. Help the earth out and start composting.
If you live in an apartment, learn how to start an indoor compost!
Buy what you need, especially with fruits and veggies
I don't know about you, but in my experience, most of my food waste comes from buying too many fruits and vegetables. I try my best to be zero waste but sometimes slip ups like that can happen! So make sure you buy only what you know you'll eat. And while you're at it, try to avoid using plastic produce bags and look into using reusable produce bags!
Store food properly to cut down on waste
I've found that keeping bread in the fridge preserves it for far longer than keeping it at room temperature. When freezing hot food, chill it before freezing it in glass containers to keep it fresh.
Buy in bulk to reduce plastic waste!
Skip the unnecessary plastic packaging and buy food in bulk. Make sure you bring your own container to store it in!
Always carry a reusable cloth bag for groceries
Did you know that a trillion plastic bags are used globally every year? That's insane! Remember that you and I can make a difference just by bringing our reusable grocery bags! This is a simple and very effective way of reducing our plastic waste.
Pass on promotional trinkets
A lot of the time promotional trinkets that people give you are made from cheap plastic, and come from China (large amounts of carbon used for transporting the items). It's best just to say no thank you!
No more frozen convenience meals
Even though they are super easy to make in a pinch, they usually come in a ton of unnecessary plastic. Try to avoid these frozen meals! For quick (and tasty) vegan meals, I started following Tasty on YouTube. The meals are quick to make, and super delicious. Take a look!
Reuse, or give away things you don't use anymore
If you have something at home that you don't want anymore, try up cycling it or giving it away. To up cycle something, is to alter it into something you can actually use! Pinterest has some amazing ideas for up cycling.
Learn to make deodorant at home to reduce packaging plastic!
Here's an easy recipe from Wellness Mama:
1. Combine 2 tbsp of Shea Butter and 3 tbsp of Coconut Oil in a quart size glass mason jar with a lid and place this in a small saucepan of water or microwave until melted.
2. Remove from heat and add baking soda and arrowroot (If you don’t have arrowroot, use more baking soda or just omit)
3. Mix well
4. Add essential oils (optional). It does not need to be stored in the fridge.
5. If you prefer, you can let it cool completely and put into an old deodorant stick for easier use, though it may melt in the summer!
If you use straws often, look into reusable straws!
According to National Geographic, 91% of plastic isn't recycled. So if you find yourself using plastic straws, it's best to avoid plastic and use reusable straws!
Use a reusable wood dish brush
These will replace plastic dish brushes that just get tossed out after they're worn out. These dish brushes are durable, sustainable, come in plastic-free packaging, and have FREE carbon neutral shipping!
Use glass containers instead of plastic to pack lunches
Glass does not lose integrity when recycled, so it can be reused over and over again. When a plastic container breaks, it has the possibility of going to a landfill or into the ocean. It's best not to take that risk!
Switch to e-billing
Although this isn't plastic waste, it does still help the environment. Paper billing uses a ton of trees (we need all we can get right now), and carbon is emitted to transport the letters. Electronic billing replaces all of that and sends all of your bills to one convenient location: your inbox.
Invest in reusable metal razors over plastic razors
The Ocean Cleanup said that 2 Billion plastic razors are discarded every year (not necessarily recycled)! Help reduce the plastic razor problem and get yourself a reusable metal razor.
Got milk... in a glass bottle?
If you drink dairy milk, they come in glass bottles too! A lot of the time stores even offer money off your next bottle if you return the bottle you drank. So you get to save money and help the environment, it's worth it!
There is a ton of ways you can reduce waste at home. These 23 ways will help you get a sense of how easy it really is to help the environment. By cutting down on energy, water, food, and plastic waste at your house, you're making a difference. Remember that! If you were to add anything to this list, let me know in the comments!