Today, I want to talk about five simple ways that you can reduce your waste. Now, as a pagan, living an earth-centric life is important to me. Living in an eco-conscious way is important to me and the way that I practice. So, I wanted to give you five tips for reducing your waste. You’d be surprised how much waste you actually accumulate once you start to pay attention.
Before we start, I want to preface this by saying that I don’t want anyone to feel guilty if you can’t do these five things. Living an eco-conscious life takes privilege sometimes. Not everyone is afforded the opportunity to live the eco-friendly lifestyle that they want. So please, don’t take this as me saying you’re a bad person if you don’t do any of these things. These are just five things that I have found to help me live a more eco-friendly lifestyle.
Ditch Single-Use Products
Single-use products are wildly cheap and very convenient, but they are also really bad for the environment. Single-use products are anything that is disposable or something that you would only use one time. Most of these are made of plastic which, plastic is affordable, but it also has an impact on the environment. So, if you want to live a more eco-conscious lifestyle, I recommend ditching single-use products. Single-use products include things like paper towels, Ziploc bags, plastic grocery bags, and those single-use plastic bags that you put your produce in at the grocery store for some reason.
If you slowly make the swap, you reduce the amount of waste that you produce in your home but also the amount of waste that goes out into the landfills. In this case, you would want to opt for something that is reusable instead. We use reusable grocery bags. There’s an argument to be made that sometimes the plastic grocery bags are more eco-friendly than the reusables. It comes down to quality. That’s a completely separate argument for another day.
Don’t Be A Hyper Consumer
A hyper consumer is basically someone that shops just because they can. They are normally the people who go out for their “retail therapy” and shop because it makes them feel good. Or they shop just because they want to. Being a hyper consumer produces so much waste. Often, the things that you buy you end up not even using and throwing away. It also generates a lot of waste if you buy things that come in packaging because packaging ends up in the landfill. So, not being a hyper consumer can be hard because, in our society, we’re all about consumerism and capitalism.
Not being a hyper consumer doesn’t mean that you can’t ever go shopping. It just means, for me, that you go shopping consciously. When you shop, you buy high quality. When you shop, you buy things that you need. When you shop, you buy things that you want and you know you will use. You don’t let your purchases collect dust. Being a hyper consumer means that you don’t go shopping just because you can, or you buy something just because it’s on sale, or just because it’s cute. If there’s not a conscious decision behind why you’re buying the things that you’re buying, you might be partaking in hyper-consumerism.
Get To Know Your Thrift Store
Buy secondhand when you have the option. This means if you need new clothes or you need new kitchen appliances, buy secondhand. This will reduce the amount of waste you produce! You’re not buying anything new, you’re not getting any new packaging, and you’re preventing something from going into the landfill. Find your thrift stores. Find a cause you can support. Use places like OfferUp and Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, and buy things secondhand whenever you have the option.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
The Three Rs are Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Most of the time we focus on that last one – Recycle. Recycling can be easy! Sometimes it’s as simple as putting recyclables in a bin and letting the city take care of it. But the Three Rs are meant to be used in order. You should reduce first. Reduce the amount of recyclables or waste that you bring into your home. If you can’t do that, then reuse whatever you have – like glass jars and containers and cardboard. Your last step should be recycling those things that can be recycled that you don’t have a need to reuse.
Some things are going to end up in the landfill because not everything can be recycled. Also, not everyone has the option to recycle. Here where I live now, recycling is way low on their bar of priorities. I had to call the county to figure out where I could take my recyclables because my apartment complex doesn’t actually offer recycling options. Sometimes it might take some work and you might have to figure out where you can take your recyclables, but your last step with those Three Rs should be recycling. Use them in order and use them as much as you can.
Plan Your Meals
This is something that we started doing in my household a while ago, about a year ago now when I quit my job at the hospital to do YouTube and my own content full-time, and to be a freelancer. The first reason that we started planning meals was to save money on groceries. If we have a clear list of the things that we need for the week, then we try not to deviate from that list and we only buy the things that we need. But a side effect of planning your meals is that you have less food waste, and food waste is a very large problem in the United States.
Reducing your food waste means you eat what you buy, you compost what you can, and you learn to love your leftovers. Now, I know some people just cannot eat leftovers. I don’t know why, because it’s perfectly good food. But you learn to love your leftovers and you don’t buy more than you need. So, say you go to the grocery store and strawberries are on sale – two packs for $8 or something. If you know you’re only going to eat one container of strawberries, don’t buy two just because they’re on sale. The chances of that second container just being wasted and going bad and going into the trash are high. So, only buy the food that you know you’re going to eat.
These tips just scratch the surface of little things you can do to reduce your waste. I hope they were helpful to you, and I hope you consider living a more eco-conscious lifestyle.