By Uma Campbell
The idea of reducing your household waste might sound intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. Anyone and everyone can lead a low or zero waste life by combining different tactics as there is no one magic or instant solution. It can take some time to get used to living a low or zero waste life, but it is not an entirely new lifestyle, it is merely tweaking your existing one. By changing small habits in your daily life and adjusting some of your routines, you can drastically reduce the waste your household generates without sacrificing your comforts.
Opt For Delivery
For years the only way to get supplies, groceries, and everyday items was to drive to the store and bring them home yourself. However, modern technology has provided a different option. Instead of driving yourself, taking public transit, or walking to the store, you can have your essential items arrive at your doorstep. There are various home delivery services ranging from local city projects to major apps like Instacart or global companies like Amazon Fresh. With the widespread adoption of shipping and tracking APIs, you always know when your order will arrive, so you can plan deliveries as you need them. With third-party shipping insurance, you also needn’t worry about your items during transit. Home delivery services add convenience to energy-saving and pollution-reducing efforts.
You may be worried that the packaging that online deliveries come in will create waste equal to you going to the store yourself. However, many delivery services use bags or boxes you can reuse. Bags can be stored and used as trash bags or doggy bags later. Boxes are perfect for flattening and stashing away for a future move. You can also break down cardboard to use as arts and crafts supplies. There are many ways you can reuse packaging, so it does not become waste.
Watch What You Buy and Only Buy What You Need
Home delivery is convenient and efficient, but you can undo your waste-prevention by buying non-eco-friendly products or buying more than you need. Before you purchase products, look at the ingredients and packaging as there may be a more eco-friendly option you missed. Biodegradable, sustainably made, or reusable packing is ideal. Avoid foods wrapped in plastic or one-time-use items. This rule extends beyond food as well. Sheet masks might feel good, but they create a tremendous amount of waste. Find a mask you can reuse instead of throwing away a sheet mask every time.
However, if you already have products that are not eco-friendly, do not just throw them out. While the intention of replacing those products with better alternatives is good, throwing out products that can still be used is wasteful. Use what you have and then replace items with greener options.
Even if you buy all eco-friendly products, you can still create waste by buying more than you need. It can be tempting to stockpile as a safeguard during uncertain times, but that altruistic intention is ruined if your stockpile spoils before using it. Resit the urge to buy more than you need to save money and reduce waste.
Habits Around The House
Energy vampires is a term that refers to electronics that consume energy even while turned off. If these energy vampires, often TVs and computers, are turned off, but still plugged in, they will continue to consume energy passively. To combat these devices, plug all the energy vampires into one power strip and unplug the power strip when you don’t need those devices. That way, you only have one plug to pull out instead of managing each vampire.
Lightbulbs are essential items we often don’t think about so long as they are working. You likely use whatever bulbs your home came with and only replace broken bulbs. When it comes time to replace your lightbulbs, opt for better, more energy-efficient bulbs. The incandescent bulb was standard for years, but there are better options now. Replace your dead incandescent bulbs with the more energy-efficient LED or CFL bulbs. These bulbs not only use less energy, but they last longer and shine brighter than standard incandescent.
Reducing waste is everyone’s responsibility, but it needn’t be a burden. Small changes can make all the difference and will still leave you with all your usual comforts. Opt for delivery instead of driving to the store every time. Even with delivery, you must carefully choose which products come into your home. Changing habits around your house will also reduce waste. Unplug energy vampires and replace dead light bulbs with greener alternatives to prevent energy waste.