As 2017 comes to an end, we often find ourselves trying to determine what our New Year’s resolutions should be. This requires being a bit introspective about your own lifestyle. As well as deciding where to make small improvements, or maybe huge improvements. This often leads to resolutions like cutting back on sugar or spending more time at the gym. Seldom though, do we think about our waste.
It is important to think about the way your lifestyle affects the world around you, specifically through the waste you produce. If you’re looking for an easy way to improve your impact on the world, it’s probably time to learn the simple things you can do to reduce your waste.
How difficult is it to cut down on waste?
You’ve probably seen those news stories. Someone from another country can fit an entire year’s worth of garbage onto a single paper plate. While that is crazy impressive, that kind of a lifestyle simply isn’t possible for the majority of us. The best part about this is that there are so many different things you can do, that also doesn’t require a huge adjustment to your lifestyle. So the changes you’ll be making will be more like using recycled bags rather than switching to compostable underwear.
So what can you do?
- Stop using plastic straws – Let’s start with the easiest one. This requires almost no effort, all you have to do is ask your server or bartender to serve your drinks without the straw. That immediately reduces the plastic waste you produce.
- Use a reusable shopping bag – Also super easy. When shopping for anything, especially groceries, make sure to bring your own reusable bags instead of buying plastic or paper. Plastic bags are horrible for the environment, and many governments are starting to tax the sale of them anyway.
- Stop buying frozen foods – Most frozen foods use loads of packaging, and a lot of it is plastic. Plus, if you cut down on frozen food you will actually be cutting a lot of harmful preservatives and chemicals out of your diet as well.
- Stop buying single bottled beverages – Almost all popular sodas and beverages come in large quantity containers, meaning that there is no need to buy single serving bottles. Better yet, stop buying sodas and sugary drinks altogether and you not only benefit the environment but your health as well.
- Donate old clothes – This is another simple way to do some good for others while also reducing your waste you produce. The textile industry also creates a lot of pollution in general, so stretching the lifespan of the clothes you buy is extremely important.
Additional things you can do
These are just five simple things you can do to reduce everyday waste. There are actually SO many more ways to do it. Some are simple like using a water pitcher instead of buying bottles, and some are more complicated like making your own household cleaners. All of this can be researched online from helpful sources like the EPA.
Health benefits of reducing waste
By reducing your waste you are not only benefiting the earth but you’re actually benefiting your own health as well. For instance, cutting back on frozen and processed foods reducing plastic waste and also reduces the chemicals you ingest. Replacing your chemical-based household cleaners with natural ones also reduces the harmful substances you regularly inhale. It’s not surprising that many of the substances that are toxic to the earth are toxic to our bodies as well.
If your new year’s resolution is to live a healthier lifestyle, remember that this is more complex than just hitting the gym an extra 3 times per week. Health is about balance, achieve that balance by taking steps to help both the world around you and yourself.