The home can be a substantial source of environmental waste. From food and water to things like electricity and heating gas, the average household could do much better at preventing excessive waste. We produce enormous amounts of waste at home each year. In fact, in only the first four months of this year, there has been almost 538 million tons of waste generated from households alone. But it is not all bad news, because reducing home waste is one of the simplest ways to become an environmental activist. We have compiled some of the easiest ways to reduce waste and help make this planet a happier and healthier place for all of us.
Don’t waste food.
Simply enough, do what you can to avoid wasting food. Food waste makes up a huge proportion of annual household waste, with estimates that each home produces 150 kilograms of food waste worth around $1,000! This means that each rubbish bin contains 40% food. Plan your meals wisely and avoid impulse buys at the grocery store. Similarly, buy only what you need. If a recipe calls for one carrot, do not buy an entire bag. Be realistic: if you are cooking for one and not like leftovers, do not use a recipe that produces four servings. Be mindful of what you are buying, eating, and wasting. It may take a bit of practice and thought, but you (and the planet) will be happy you did.
Consider your water consumption.
There are many water-exhausting household activities that go unnoticed. From simply leaving the tap running while brushing teeth, to having a leaky toilet, to taking a long and luxurious shower: there are many activities that could be altered to produce beneficial impacts. To jumpstart your conservation, use an online water use calculator to find out which aspects of your consumption could be easily addressed. There are many simple things that could be done like placing a bucket in the shower to reuse for watering the garden, cooking food in one pot instead of two, or investing in water efficient appliances such as a dual flush toilet. If legal in your city, using a rainwater tank could also substantially reduce water use.
Ditch the plastic bags.
Plastic bags are everywhere and have continuously been one of the greatest sources of pollution. It is estimated that, for every person on Earth, there are 216 plastic bags produced each year. They are used for an average of 20 minutes and take up to 1,000 years to degrade. They take up a lot of space in landfills and many of them end up in oceans, endangering sea life. Using reusable bags could prevent the accumulation of plastic bags from your weekly grocery trip. Be sure to buy sturdy reusables, and there are many that are made with recycled materials or things like fair trade jute. Additionally, always keep a couple with you in your purse or car so that you can be a planetary hero every time you shop.
While you’re at it, try to avoid all types of plastic.
We live in an age where it seems that everything is individually wrapped or wrapped in plastic. Instead of buying snack packs, do it yourself and personally divide things into your desired serving sizes. If you go out to dinner, bring a take-away container (and don’t use a straw!) with you so that you can avoid bringing home leftovers in a wasteful styrofoam container. If you can, avoid buying single-use items or things that are excessively packaged. Many cities are lucky enough to now have an abundance of options when it comes to purchasing items in bulk. Do an online search to find the grocery store nearest to you that offers things like grains, nuts, seeds, coffee, and dried fruit without the unnecessary packaging. Not only do some of these suggestions help save the planet, but many of them are healthier for your wallet, too!
Reducing energy consumption is not only beneficial for reducing carbon emissions but can also help you save money. While not everyone is able to get solar panels and go off the grid, there are a few things that each household can do to really make a difference. In some areas of the world, switching to a green energy provider is a viable option. This means that instead of coal, users will get power from renewable sources. If that is not an option, try addressing your power consumption by using appliances with a good energy rating (especially a refrigerator and freezer) and unplugging appliances when they are not in use. Do you really need the background noise of the television or to have your laptop on when it is not in use? Do you absolutely need to use the clothes dryer or can you hang dry instead? Ask yourselves these questions, and you may be surprised to find how easy and rewarding it can be to save power.
Wisely moderate the temperature of your home.
Heating and cooling can be a huge financial and environmental burden. It is wise to ensure that your house is properly insulated and draught-proof during the colder months. If you are cold, consider using a space heater or bundling up instead of running heat for the entire house. During the summer, use cross breezes or window shades to keep the heat out. Ceiling fans are far better (and cheaper) than air conditioning. Simply changing your thermostat by a few degrees can really help and you will quickly get used to a slightly cooler or warmer house.
As you can see there’s many different things you can do to reduce wastage in your home. By taking these things into consideration, you’ll be able to help the environment for the next generation. So, are you going to try any of these.
Hailing from Caboolture in South East Queensland. Mike has been dedicated to the waste management industry for over 20 years. He joined the Jims group 12 years ago and is passionate about helping people find a rewarding career with their own business. Now as franchisor of Jims Skip Bins Queensland, Mike is able to help Aussies looking for that career change to finally achieve the dream of being their own boss.