Our single-use plastic and impulsive buying patterns have gotten us in deep with waste.
The environment is suffering, but you don’t need us to tell you that. We need answers – especially at home. How can we address this global waste crisis that lives right under our noses, inside our houses?
Here are some of the simplest, most effective ways you can start reducing your waste at home and work towards becoming a zero-waste household.
Stop Emotionally Buying, Start Practicing Sustainable Consumer Practices, and Choosing Zero-Waste Products
One of the biggest culprits when it comes to consumer waste at home? Impulse buys.
The Economic Times defines impulse buying in the following way:
“The tendency of a customer to buy goods and services without planning in advance. When a customer takes such buying decisions at the spur of the moment, it is usually triggered by emotions and feelings.”
You can probably relate, huh?
Marketing has taught us to purchase based on emotions and feelings. Every day we’re bombarded with emotionally-charged ads and sales on all our favorite items.
We even find ourselves buying things we don’t need simply because it seems like a deal too good to pass up! … and later throwing them away because it’s been a year and we never used that item we HAD to have…
Did you know consumers spend $5,400 per year on average on impulse purchases of food, clothing, household items, and shoes?
Emotional buying has contributed massive waste in our lives – especially in our homes. Learning to separate your emotions from a purchase decision will go a long way in determining whether you REALLY need that fifth cast iron skillet (or a new computer, the third set of bath towels, another face cream, so on and so forth).
Reducing waste at home is a great way to start your journey of a sustainable and zero-waste lifestyle. Plus, purchasing zero-waste products is a more earth-friendly decision. If you change your mind down the road, at least your zero-waste product won’t add pollution to the environment.
Pay Attention to Materials and Packaging – Zero-Waste or Plastic-Free Packaging Is Best!
When considering a purchase, aim for no (or very little) plastic. More and more zero-waste stores are creating sustainable alternatives for everyday items. The more you shop for zero-waste products, the more you can say goodbye to single-use plastic packaging and household waste.
Whenever you can choose plastic-free or zero-waste products, you’re doing your part to keep the environment clean and help reduce ocean plastic pollution and landfills. Little by little, we have to keep making an effort to reduce our plastic use.
Many companies realize they have to bend to what consumers demand – so let’s demand no plastic packaging!
You’d be surprised how many brands will listen to feedback and adjust to reduce plastic waste. Even huge companies like Keurig pay attention and acknowledge that they need better solutions for their plastic waste footprint.
Speak up wherever you can to advocate for cleaner and less wasteful packaging. We can make a difference in eliminating plastic pollution.
Instead of Single-Use Products, Opt for Reusable Cleaning Products and Zero-Waste Alternatives
Avoid throw-away Clorox wipes, disposable dusters, and mop pads for cleaning your house.
According to the EWG, Clorox executives reported that about half of U.S. homes use their wipes. There has been a 400% INCREASE in wet wipes found over the past decade along the coastline. As they break down, they release microscopic fragments of plastic waste that find their way into the ocean. And sadly, that’s just the beginning of the environmental damage.
These single-use cleaning products create mounds of pollution and plastic waste. Most of them are toxic to the environment and our health too. Household cleaning products contribute to dangerous levels of air pollution – but we, as consumers, have the power to stop it.
Let’s ditch the wasteful single-use products and start choosing zero-waste alternatives for our house. It’s an easy and sustainable swap.
Invest in some zero-waste cleaning products like:
- A reusable mop instead of wasteful single-use cleaning inserts
- Un-paper towels that can be washed and reused
- Natural sponges made from biodegradable materials
- Cleaning brushes made of bamboo and plant fibers instead of plastic
Be Mindful of What You Throw Away That Could Be Repurposed
Sometimes being earth-friendly and making sustainable swaps for the home is as simple as being mindful. There are plenty of opportunities to reduce and reuse if you pay attention to what you can reuse.
Always reuse items when possible. It encourages a zero-waste mindset and can spur creativity and compassion for the environment. It’s like anything in life – once you’ve practiced enough, it doesn’t feel so hard. It will probably even come naturally.
Giving new life to old items can be really fun. You can discover unique ways to decorate, get creative, or gift a family member or friend.
Another way to be environmentally conscious is simply by tracking your progress. See how little you can waste by creating a chart or making a game (read: friendly competition) out of it!
Opt for Cooking at Gatherings with Friends and Family Instead of Ordering Food
It’s a hard truth for some of us to hear, but much of food waste as a culture comes from your favorite pastime – eating out at restaurants and ordering take-out. Most restaurants create mounds of food waste and plastic waste. Unfortunately, there’s no way around this issue without making massive changes in the industry standards.
Anywhere from 4 to 10 percent of food purchased by restaurants never gets to customers. In comparison, 30 to 40 percent of the food served to customers never even gets consumed.
Servings are too big.
Food is thrown away when it’s past its peak freshness.
Take-out food almost always comes in plastic or styrofoam that are impossible to recycle.
Plastic utensils come with every order, whether you ask for them or not.
The list could go on…
But consider this – when is the last time someone made a home-cooked meal for you? How did it make you feel? It’s more meaningful to cook a meal for friends or family.
Better yet, do it together!
And it should go without saying – don’t use disposable items for parties and events! Make the extra effort to use items you can stick in the dishwasher after your guests leave.
As a Consumer, You Have the Power to Reduce Waste at Home
When we take responsibility for our actions and choices, we open a new world of possibilities – especially for the environment. You may feel like one small person, creating a useless change. But that’s precisely the lie we’ve been raised to believe.
Your sustainable choices DO matter. They DO help.
So, how are you going to create less waste in your home?
At Zero Waste Outlet, we’re here to support you on your zero-waste journey and we’d love to be your go-to zero-waste store. Comment below and tell us how we can help you or what you’d like to see more of!