Doing our part in helping protect our planet from waste, pollution, overconsumption, unsustainable practices etc. doesn’t have to be a large and grand effort. In fact, small yet consistent efforts done collectively can literally change the world and make it better and last longer for future generations.
With eco-friendly and living a sustainable lifestyle being such a significant and relevant topic of interest and how-to, know that you as an individual can make a difference, and you actually don’t even have to feel like you need to spend on eco-friendly goods and alternatives to see change.
Here are some waste-free habits that can make a big difference and if you haven’t incorporated these waste-free earth-loving habits yet, there’s no time like the present to get started. You have everything to gain and nothing to lose:
1. Always opt out of single-use plastic
Saying no to single-use plastic can make a huge difference. Think about all the straws that you’ve thrown away after having a drink, all the plastic cutlery that you threw away after eating fast food, all the plastic containers thrown away after you’ve finished your takeout, and the countless plastic bags you’ve discarded after their short trip from the grocery to your home.
In fact, approximately 150 million tons of single-use plastic is single-use plastic is discarded yearly, rendering useless waste that will last indefinitely. To minimize this colossal statistic, just say no. Say no to that straw and drink it straight from a cup, say no to take out containers and plastic cutlery, and bring your own reusable ones instead. Say no to your groceries being put in a plastic bag, and just bring your own.
2. Cook and have coffee at home
Save yourself from spending extra hard-earned bucks by eating at home. It’s healthier, cheaper, and a much more sustainable practice than ordering food only to discard the disposable plate and cutlery, and ordering coffee only to throw away the disposable mug after.
If cooking at home or having coffee at home is too much of an inconvenience, simply carry around with you reusable containers. You likely already have a water bottle, a thermos, spoons and forks on hand. Keep them at the ready and simply request for your food to be placed in your own reusable containers instead. Less waste for the environment and all it took you was to pack a few extra items.
3. Trade items with friends
Speaking of items, one way to get creative with reducing your waste is by swapping out beloved goods with your friends or community. Think of it like one big garage sale but instead of using money, you use items. The saying one ‘person’s junk is another person’s treasure’ fits aptly into this eco-conscious effort.
This works especially well for saving waste on throwing out books, clothes, kitchen tools, home décor etc. Instead of throwing things away or buying something new, try trading items with friends first.
4. Make your own cleaning products
The plastic containers that contain cleaning products are unfortunately some of the sturdiest and long-lasting plastic waste out there. Instead of tossing them out once done, try make your own cleaning products instead and reuse that plastic container.
All-purpose cleaning products in particular are easy to make with readily available ingredients you likely have in your home. Try this simple solution by just pouring the ingredients in your empty all-purpose cleaning container. The water and vinegar are enough to clean any surface when wiped down with a micro cloth, rags, or even old tattered clothing. If the smell of vinegar puts you off, you can add as many drops of essential oils as you’d like.
- 1 part water
- 1 part distilled white vinegar
- Your choice of essential oil
What’s great about this all-purpose cleaner is that it’s non-toxic so you can use as much or as little as you like without worrying about adding any toxic load to your system or the environment.
5. Ditch the paper towels
Instead of wiping down with paper towels, use rags, old towels, and old clothes instead. Paper towels, although biodegradable, still take an incredible amount of energy and water to manufacture, and with one use, become part of the environmental waste. A waste-free alternative would be putting that old t-shirt to use, grabbing those old rags that you’ve had lying around, or making use of those microfiber cloths that you likely already have. Sure they need to be cleaned after several uses, but it’s a much better and cost-free eco-friendly alternative (they’re more absorbent too) to buying and discarding paper towers.
Regardless of how much money you make or how much money you want to save, everyone can benefit from making a few eco-friendly lifestyle changes. Let us know in the comments below on any tips on how you live-sustainably without spending anything.