It’s a reality: we spend too much. We buy too much, accumulate things we don’t need and end up trashing them when spring comes. The consequence of out-of-control spending and product accumulation: trash.
Right now, we’re in a completely un-sustainable system called “take-make-waste”.
Take plastic for example. The origin of plastic is petroleum that we take from the earth, transform it into a product that is everlasting but will often be used once, and then thrown in the trash, which will stay basically forever. That makes no sense!
What if instead we took it backward and got back to basics? You can still live the life you love, just be more mindful of a few things.
- What you buy (and how it’s packaged)
- How you dispose of it
That simple! Aim to use these materials more: glass, stainless steel, aluminum as they are highly recyclable. Cotton, bamboo, hemp, wood and such natural fibers are highly compostable.
Try to stay away from plastic but if you can’t make sure you check the number on the bottom so it’s recyclable plastic. Check out our blog post on Recycling 101.
Let’s take this upstream and see what we can do in our daily lives to prevent trash from getting beachy.
Roughly around 60% of the waste produced by the average American family consists of organic matter. That means that by composting, you can reduce your waste by more than half.
Everyday items that can be composted include tea, coffee grinds, eggshells, fruits and vegetables, even unbleached paper and cardboard.
All those items don’t belong in landfill and will NOT degrade in a landfill environment. Landfills are anaerobic (without oxygen) because all the trash is so tightly packed together and they have little to no living microorganisms.
No oxygen + no living microorganisms = no bio-degradation.
Moreover, composting really is fun and you will be amazed by the amount of trash you are reducing. The cost of a compost bin is between $50 and $100. Not a lot to pay for free nutrient rich soil and a green conscience!
Ditch single use items
Make the switch and stop using those single-use items! There is really no use for them. Check out our blog post on eco-swaps that you can make to drastically reduce your trash making. Below you will find everyday single use items that you can swap for re-usable ones (source: goingzerowaste.com). It's so easy to make the switch!
You know that pantry and freezer are full of food! One thing we’re really been implementing at Washed Ashore is only going to the store when you are out of food.
Use up the foods you already have, make that interesting looking Edamame pasta you’ve been wanting to try and that’s been sitting there for 2 months, the crackers at the back of the pantry would make a nice snack with a fresh avocado dip and some veggie sticks, maybe it’s time to use the frozen dough and make a nice fruity pie instead of buying one?
Go through the things you do have before going to the store and stocking up on more. We don’t realize how much we’re buying until we look into it. So get creative and don’t just buy for the sake of it, because everything else will end up getting thrown away.
Before you go on your next shopping trip, make a list. So you don’t wander around buying things you may or may not end up using.
Go to your local Farmer’s Market! Fresh, personable, local, seasonal produce. What more do you need?
Reducing your impact on the environment is made easy by consuming local and seasonal. So your berries in the middle of winter don’t have to come from the other side of the world. Considered “local” is within 200 miles of your area of living, and even if you live in the city, you’d be surprised how many local farms have beautiful healthy products for you.
It’s a really fun weekly outing, the produce is not heavily packaged like it would be at the store, you get to support your local economy and there are a lot of different products to discover. So grab your produce bags and shopping bags and hit the Farmer’s Market for a lovely hour of food sampling and fresh colorful lively produce.
Shop the bulk bins. It’s cheaper, it’s as easy as getting “packaged” goods and it makes a big difference.
Every single grocery store has them and you can really reduce your waste production because most of the items that you can buy in bulk would usually be packaged in non-recyclable plastic packaging.
Check out these cool shops before your next trip to the store: