We live in a world of easy accessibility, fast food, takeaway coffee, cheap products, and a society which encourages rampant materialism at any cost. I discussed the implications of this in a previous post:
The Festive Season, or How Much Stuff Can I Fit In A Trolley?, but just wanted to share the top 5 tips I have found to reduce waste as much as possible in everyday life.
- Plan , plan plan
If you are anything like me, you tend to eat on the go. I live a busy life, and I’m not the best cook in the world, so my meals tend to be whatever I have to hand, or picked up quickly as I pass the shop on the way home. Not only is this perhaps not the healthiest option (I reach for the frozen pizza more times than I’d care to admit on a public forum!) but it also encourages waste and overconsumption. By grabbing whatever you fancy, you forget what you may already have at home in the fridge or cupboard. This can lead to food going to waste because you simply don’t realise its there; not ideal for the environment or your bank balance. In addition, convenient food often has extra packaging to keep it fresh, and this can lead to you throwing away a lot more plastic.
2. Use the 24 or 48 hour rule
You see it. It’s beautiful. You NEED it there and then. It will make you slimmer, more beautiful, more elegant, more popular, happier, more successful…it will give you Kylie Jenner lips, Kim Kardashian hips and Miranda Kerr’s face by magic with zero effort on your part. Oh I have been there my friend. So many times. And you know what? By the time I got the dress or shoes or concealer home, I’d already fallen a little out of love with it. Or I found something in my wardrobe practically the same. Or I had no place to wear those shoes. So the must have thing ended up at the back of a drawer, until I felt so guilty that I couldn’t close said drawer properly, I had a purge of my clothes and took it to a charity shop. Until the next must have item….and so the cycle continued. My rule? If you think you want something, wait at least 24 hours – preferably 48 – and see if you still want it as much. 9 times out of 10, you won’t. And if you’re still obsessed with it, by all means go ahead! This helps to reduce the amount of stuff you buy and never use.
3. Reduce the packaging you use
When you go into Waitrose, those bananas which are loose on the side will survive just as well if you don’t wrap them in a plastic bag for the short journey home, before chucking that bag away, only for it to never degrade on a landfill heap. Yes, people may have looked at or even, heaven forbid, touched, your veg, but guess what? It can be washed. You don’t need to wrap it in ten layers of plastic. Do you really need to put your pint of milk in a carrier bag, or can you carry it the half mile home? Make smart choices, and try to reduce the packaging you use.
4. Buy in bulk
This not only saves waste, but also money. I used to food once a fortnight for my cat Roxy, in a small bag which was then thrown away. Then I discovered Amazon, who offered me a bag twice the size for half the price. It lasts longer, saves money, and means I am throwing out the packaging once a month if that, rather than every two weeks. Buying in bulk helps to reduce the waste. Amazon do still unfortunately deliver in a box with too much packaging, but hopefully with enough noise made this can change.
(Sorry, couldn’t resist showing her off my little Siamese queen <3)
5. Reuse wherever possible
The 5p charge for plastic bags is now part of everyday life in the UK, and the use of one-time plastic bags has fallen by 85% in England alone since the charge was introduced, with people turning to reusable bags for life, or going without where possible. But did you know you can do the same with water bottles, coffee cups and other everyday items? Some places will even give you money off if you bring your own bottle, and you can make sure you are getting use of out something more than once. If you had a coffee every day before work, that is 25 cups a month you are saving, or a whopping 300 cups a year. Food for thought!
We live in a world which is running out of space and resources, and we are the only ones with the power to stop it. By all playing our small parts, we can have a huge impact. And it is the responsibility of every one of us to do so.
Peace and stuff