Seeing the impact of our actions on the environment, it is undeniable that as a species we need to do something. NOW! The state of our natural environment is…a little bleak. So monitoring our own waste is becoming more and more crucial every day. But for someone not sure where to start, finding ways to reduce waste around the house can be a little daunting. It’s not all gloom and doom though, we promise! And it’s not too difficult either. We’re going to walk you through 8 simple ways you can minimise your waste at home, everyday.
– Think Global, Act Local –
Why Is Reducing Waste Important?
You do not need to seek perfection…just being alive means you will create waste. Zero waste is impossible. Minimising waste is achievable.
When it comes to waste, most of us know the basics of separating our recyclables from general waste and putting out the correct bin on bin day. However, less of us stop to think about where our waste is going and the impact of our waste on the environment.
Apart from the seeing litter on our beaches, in our oceans, in the stomachs of birds, fish and other animals, one of the bigger reasons to minimise our waste is to conserve space in our landfills and reduce the need to build more landfills. They take up valuable space – space that is removed from areas in which native flora and fauna live – and are a source of air and water pollution. By reducing our waste, we are conserving our resources, conserving our natural environment and the animals (including us) that live within that environment.
It’s also crucial to understand that there is a bigger picture here, that extends beyond just an empty plastic bag in landfill. The resources it takes to make that item, to transport it, and for it to break down over time (which plastics especially, doesn’t do well) I’m sure you’ve all heard of global warming by now and it’s impact on the environment, the weather, our food supply and almost every aspect of your life (more on that another time though)
What You Can Do
Reducing waste around the house can be as simple as making the choice to use a keep-cup for your morning coffee and avoiding single use plastics (like bottled water, plastic straws, grocery bags and plastic cutlery)
It may not seem like a big move towards better waste management, but if more people became aware of just how much waste they were producing, collectively we may begin to have a positive impact on our planet and its future.
Your home is the place you the most control over the waste your family generates. If you want to cut down on the waste you’re producing, your home is the place to start.
Here are 8 tips to help you reduce waste around your home.
Eight Easy Things You Can Do To Reduce Waste At Home:
1. Understand Recycling
This is something everyone can do right now and it doesn’t cost a dime more! It’s super simple but will make a difference.
Check with your local council about what else you can recycle, beyond trash (old mobile phones etc)
At Boho Buys, we ensure that 100% of recyclable materials are recycled. All incoming cardboard, paper and unavoidable plastics are recycled. Our trash is only used on items that cannot be recycled.
2. Buy Bulk
You know those jars you wash out each week – that empty jar of pasta sauce, the jar of pickles you finished over the weekend – keep them to store items you can purchase from the farmers market, bulk food stores or even the supermarket (where possible) Things like oats, nuts, rice, pasta, flour, sugar, lentils and beans store well in glass jars and eliminate the need for plastic packaging.
If you and your family tend to go through something regularly, take a look at how you can buy and store larger quantities. That way you won’t have to go out to buy them as often.
At Boho Buys, we buy our supplies (mailing satchels for example) in larger than required quantities to reduce unnecessary packaging and freight. the less time our supplies spend on the road being delivered to us, the better!
3. Stop Unnecessary Postal Mail (Including Junk Mail) And Change To Email Only
Odds are, you get a lot of mail you simply are not interested in. Pop a “No Junk Mail” sticker on your letterbox, and have your bills sent to you electronically to save on paper.
This doesn’t seem like a big deal but over the course of a few years will save a tonne of paper. Banks and utility companies will be more than happy to send your bills via email (after all, you’re saving them money too)
4. Cut Down On Food Waste By Composting!
Pay attention to the foods you have and use up as much as possible before it spoils. Plan your grocery trips so you only buy want you plan to use.
Learning how to compost is a crucial part of learning house to reduce waste around your house. On average 35% of a household bin is food waste – most of which can be composted. In Australia, over 5 million tonnes of food waste end up in landfill every year.
Plus, the soil it produces is so full of the good stuff your plants love! Win-win!
At Boho Buys, we too love to compost! You’ll find our compostable mailing satchels and lunch scraps composting outside the office.
5. Repair (Rather Than Discard)
Next time a piece of clothing, an appliance, a piece of furniture rips or breaks, see if its repairable, rather than simply discarding it. Modern consumer culture would have you believe that it’s simply easier and better to just replace it, rather than repair it.
You wouldn’t dispose of your car if it broke down, you’d take it to a mechanic to fix it. Treat everything else in your life with the same attitude.
6. Buy Less. Buy Used.
So obvious, but admittedly a little difficult at times! The less stuff you buy, the less waste you’ll generate.
As tempting as it is to get that shiny, sparkly new item, not everything has to be purchased brand new. Houses and cars are the obvious big ticket items, but also antique furniture, vintage clothes, furniture, tools, garden pots…the list is endless. There are so many things you can find used but in great condition, and that means less waste.
Fewer resources are used to make new products, and used products often have far less packaging – if any!
Hand me downs are also great and under utilised. Once your youngest child out grows their clothes or shoes, offer them to family and friends, or donate them.
7. Donate Old Items
Everything you own and consume will probably serve it’s purpose for a set period of time, and then will no longer be needed. You may not need or love it anymore, but someone else may be on the hunt for that exact item! Old cots, cute shoes, a comfy couch that is a little too small for your growing family – try selling it locally, gifting it to family or friends, or donating to those in need. Lighten your load, as well as your environmental footprint.
8. Quality Over Quantity
In some cases, a dearer item (let’s say, a toaster) that lasts you a decade, is better than a super cheap toaster that needs to be replaced every other year. Let’s do the maths:
Toaster A costs $89 and last 10 years = $8.90/year
Toaster B costs $33 and last 2 years = $16.50/year
Where reasonable, avoid anything that needs regular replacement – fast fashion, single use plastics, cheap toys etc. It’s just more resources used for production, more plastics in our oceans and more junk in our landfills. Better for the environment, better on your wallet.
There’s no right or wrong here, and definitely no perfect solution. Doing one small thing is better than doing nothing.
Start small, taking one step at a time, while you implement these changes. Start with recycling, and move onto bigger solutions like learning how to compost. In no time, you’ll see the impact of your small changes, which is what it’s about!
Do you have a neat trick when it comes to reducing waste? We’d love to hear it in the comments x