5 Simple Tips to Reduce Waste Today
Updated: Apr 1, 2019
1. A smaller bin
A smaller bin! I can't stress this enough. It is by far the easiest way to reduce your waste.
You know how when you set yourself 5 minutes to do a task you accomplish so much but when you don't set yourself a time-limit, the same task can drag on for hours? The same applies to space. Is it magic? Maybe, but it's also called Parkinson's Law.
I promise you that when you swap your huge kitchen dustbin for a cupboard bin, you will notice the difference straight away.
Try it for a week, put your normal bin outside to collect rainwater (double win) and just try it. You will be pleasantly surprised I'm sure.
Composting advice can be weirdly complicated, but it doesn't have to be.
Just remember, your compost bin is strictly vegetarian and also likes to eat cardboard boxes, paper bags... any kind of paper that isn't saturated with ink or has that weird shine on it.
If you're a complete beginner, get a black lidded compost bin (you can get them super cheap or even free, second hand), place it on bare soil if possible (for the worms) and add a bucket or two of garden soil. Start composting and maybe treat your bin with a can of beer and a tablespoon of sugar once a week to really help it along in the beginning (optional).
Mix often and your food waste will turn into incredible, nourishing (and free!) compost. A good mix will be ready at the bottom just as you fill it up. That's why once you're hooked and you see how amazing it is you will likely get another bin!
Start home composting today and be amazed at how much gardening gold you were previously giving away!
3. Know what recyclables to choose
This one doesn't require doing anything so it's a fun one. Not all recyclables are equal so let's have a look from the very worst to the very best
Black plastic < Soft plastic < All plastic < Tetrapack < Glass < Tin or Aluminium < Paper/Card
This can help when choosing between a tetrapack of tomatoes or a tin of tomatoes. Handsdown tin beats tetrapack every time in terms of how much energy and expense is required to recycled it.
Or say for example you can't choose between a glass jar of passata or a tin can of passata? Now a glass jar beats tin if you plan on reusing it but if it's going to go straight into the recycling, tin is far more efficient to recycle.
That one was easy! I hope it helps defeat your purchase paralysis.
4. Buy second hand
Stop buying brand new... stay with me! Look, some things are just TOO easy to do right? And buying something brand new when second hand could do, has a huge impact on the planet.
Let's start with clothing, if you don't know how devastating fast fashion is to the environment I don't know where you've been hiding these past 5 years.
Swap your shopping apps for second hand ones like Depop or (my favourite) Vinted. Fab items, second hand, WAY cheaper, yes there are fast fashion brands on there, but you're not directly supporting them and you're saving that item of clothing from languishing in an overstuffed charity shop unnoticed for 6 months before it's finally chucked out.
Swap Amazon for EBAY or even better, Facebook marketplace for really cheap, second hand and local items. You might even meet a neighbour or two on the way (shock, horror).
5. Upgrade your UK holidays
When you think about UK holidays, you might picture shivering on Barmouth beach in an ill-fitting swimming costume, in the pouring rain, dreaming about chips. No? Just me?
Now think, 5 star luxury, private hot tub, sauna, and entire cottage all to yourself, log-fires in the winter, lake swimming in the summer... think about all the possibilities next time you're deciding whether or not to go to Alicante for a 'sunny break by the pool' this year.
Take all of your travel expenses on airport parking, and flights and euro-exchange rates and figure out what that would look like if you funnelled all of that extra cash back into your holiday break, here in the UK.
I'm not against travel of course, but if you're the kind of person (like me) who can't decide between Mallorca or an Air BnB in Devon, allow yourself to splash out a bit in the UK, and pat yourself on the back for saving half a tonne (yes really!) of CO2 emissions.
How many of the above tips are you going to try this week? Do you have any further tips for reducing waste? Comment below!