The dream. The dream is zero waste – where you can put every single piece of trash you used in one year into a mason jar. That is the dream. But we can’t all get be that amazing, right?
Not necessarily. While zero waste would be amazing, we understand not everyone can do that. But if you take a step away and look at your life with a wide vista, maybe you’ll see how easy it can be to overuse. And that our actions can be hard on our environment, including our world ocean. But here’s the bottom line – conservation doesn’t have to be hard. You just have to be intentional, and find what works for you.
So what about the 5 R’s? – Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot.
Refuse – If you can avoid it, don’t take it.
Reduce – If you can cut back, try to.
Reuse – If you can use it again, do so.
Recycle – If you can’t reuse it, recycle it.
Rot – If it’s a natural material, compost it.
Okay, got it. So what does that look like in daily life? Check out a few tips you can try at home and on-the-go, and see if they work for your lifestyle. You’ll be surprised how simplistic it can make your day once you get in the swing of things!
1. In the kitchen
Maybe you aren’t sure where to begin, especially in the kitchen. After all, messes are made as food is prepared and there’s always something to clean. Never fear! There are plenty of options out there . If you’re someone who likes a “clean ship,” consider buying rags or inexpensive smaller towels from Target to wipe up messes or clean the counter. Instead of throwing out old banana peels or apple cores, consider purchasing a countertop composter, which can usually only be found for $20 or so. Stash glass containers with lids too, and you won’t need to buy as much, or any, paper towels or plastic lunch and freezer bags again. Saving money and the earth? Count us in!
2. In the bathroom
This might be the hardest one, but we have faith you can do it! Try using each side of a cotton ball or q-tip before throwing it out. Instead of using harsh chemicals to clean your bathroom floor, try a steamer or Swiffer with a reusable cloth you can simply throw in the washing machine. If you have a smaller load of laundry, set your washing machine to the “small” setting to avoid using too much water. Buy a reusable razor you can refill, instead of going for disposables. If you’re feeling daring, try a bamboo toothbrush. It’s more sustainable, and so much cuter than plastic.
3. Out and about
Always on the go with work, the gym or errands? Don’t forget a reusable water bottle or coffee thermos to help keep you energized. If you like cold drinks, consider a metal reusable straw rather than taking a single-use plastic one. If you’re grocery shopping, try filling your reusable bag with produce before checking out. Or, bring mason jars with you to fill with your favorite nuts, seeds or dried fruit. That way, you won’t need to use those plastic bags in the produce section or at checkout!
4. At work
Need a perfect way to bring lunch to work? Consider a glass container to store your favorite veggies and other snacks, or an adorable reusable sandwich bag, like Lunchskins, which come in all kinds of patterns perfect for your personality. Try taking some bamboo utensils with you to work. To-Go Ware makes a great set with cool colors for your unique style. Add the linen napkins – they’re super easy to throw in the washing machine when you come home from work – and put it all together in an adorable reusable lunch tote. You’ll look stylish and save money from eating out, and that’s something to smile about. 🙂
So how ’bout them compostable apples? Try just one or two of these changes in your daily routine, and see how it goes! According to Demi Fox, LMC’s conservation coordinator, it’s all about taking things step by step.
“The important thing to remember is to think about how much waste you create as you go about daily life,” she says. “Try making small changes and see if they work for your lifestyle. And if the don’t, that’s okay. Just try something else. It’s about thinking over how you can take action responsibly to care for the environment and reduce your impact.”