We create so much waste. We don’t recycle enough, and we throw out tons of textile waste every year with no thought of the impact it has on our planet.
In 2017, I visited the largest landfill in East Africa, the Dandora dump in Kenya. It was a horrifying and life-changing experience that made me think twice about my habits. We are to be good stewards of the Earth God gave us, so let’s explore little changes in our habits that can collectively make a massive difference.
Here are 31 ways you can live more sustainability and reduce your negative impact on the environment by creating less waste:
1. Use reusable straws: You can find glass and metal reusable straws on Amazon. When asked if you want one at a restaurant, you can tell them know, and keep one handy at home, in the car, and in your bag
2. Bring a fork and knife with you to restaurants that use plastic cutlery. You can purchase ones for carrying while you’re traveling or just out to eat.
3. Switch to reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and/or drink tumblers. You can travel with them and fill them at water fountains.
4. Coffee lovers: Switch to a French Press or pour overs.
5. Tea lovers: Switch to loose-leaf tea instead of using tea bags.
For more on reducing waste from coffee and tea use: https://www.treehugger.com/htgg/how-to-go-green-coffee-tea.html
6. Switch to reusable, zero-waste bath products from companies like Plaine Products. They’ll send the you the product and when you’re done, you mail it back to be refilled and used again. Here’s my review of their products.
7. Use refillable soaps and household cleaners through brands like Fillaree or Mama Suds. Fillaree is based in Durham, NC, and if you’re local, you can visit one of their refilling stations in the area. Fillaree also sells compostable sponges.
8. Put a recycling bin or bag in your bathroom for bath products and walk it to the main recycling bin when it’s full.
9. Reusable grocery bags: It’s easy to forget them, so create a space for them in the trunk of your car and be sure to immediately put them back when you’re finished using them.
10. Reusable produce bags greatly cut down on plastic use! They come in different sizes and are washable. Keep them in your car with the reusable grocery bags so they’re always at the ready.
11. Get your produce from the farmers market, local produce stands, or join a local CSA. This reduces both your carbon and plastic footprint.
12. Buy in bulk: Shop for staple ingredients like nuts, lentils, and spices in bulk. Remember to bring a reusable bag or mason jar when shopping bulk items. You can keep them in your trunk with the produce and grocery bags.
13. Switch to reusable plastic wrap. Beeswax Wrap is works just like plastic wrap, is biodegradable, and is washable and usable up to 100 times.
14. Reusable snack bags and lunch containers reduce plastic waste in daily lunches and work well for travel.
15. Switch to cloth napkins. This is also a great way to use textile waste that can’t be donated or thrifted.
16. Use reusable kitchen towels or rags to cut down on paper towel waste.
17. Switch from tissues to handkerchiefs.
18. Switch out cotton balls or rounds for reusable muslin cloths. They’re great for removing makeup and nail polish.
19. Purchase a makeup removal cloth like the Endure Lash Eye Cloth, which only uses water to remove 99% of your makeup.
20. For the ladies: Use a menstrual cup instead of tampons.
21. Another one for the ladies: Instead of a pad, check out “momma cloth.” In addition to reducing waste, they’re more comfortable, save money, and don’t contain harmful chemicals!
22. Switch to cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers. Check out a recent blog post for what I learned after 5 years of using cloth diapers: https://www.stillbeingmolly.com/2019/03/19/cloth-diapering-basics-101/
23. Who Gives A Crap? is a toilet paper company with the best name ever. Their products are made out of recyclable materials, and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need.
24. Rechargeable batteries are an easy way to save money and the planet!
25. Consign or trade old clothes: Check out podcast Episode 130 to about hear ways you can sustainably get rid clothing in your closet.
26. Before you throw something out, be sure to ask these questions:
27. Buy toys more sustainably. Can you buy them used? Can you buy a version that’s not plastic? Can you buy a wooden version? And while you’re thinking about that, check out Green Toys, made from recyclable plastics.
28. Go paperless. Contact any businesses you receive a bill from and ask to go paperless. This cuts down on jump mail, and saves them money too, so they should be happy to oblige.
30. Borrow books from the library for the kids AND for yourself! Tip: Keep a book bin by the door as a reminder to return library books and avoid late charges.
31. Compost! It can feel overwhelming, but there are services to help. Compost Now is currently in a few cities in North Carolina, Charleston, SC, and Atlanta, GA. Not only will they guide you through how to compost, they’ll also pick up your bin and exchange it for a new one. You can also request the compost and they’ll deliver it to you. Go to http://stillbeingmolly.com/compostnow for a two-week trial.
No need to feel overwhelmed: Pick a few tips to implement and start reducing your impact. You can add more as you go, and you’ll like save money along the way.
Have you tried any of these ways to reduce waste? Are you going to? Let me know what you learned or what you want to implement next!