Making an effort to reduce the amount of waste your family generates is a great way to make a positive impact on the world around you. The average American creates 1,704 pounds of waste per year, which makes it inspiring to see so many individuals online taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint and take personal responsibility for environmental care. It can be difficult to know where you should begin or how you can reduce waste without changing your family’s routine too much. Starting small, like switching to eco-friendly laundry products or donating items you no longer need, is the key to lasting change in your household. These five ways to reduce waste will make a huge impact without causing you a huge hassle.
1. Ditch Single-Use Soap Bottles
Switching your dish soap, hand soap or laundry detergent almost changes nothing about your routine and contributes to environmental preservation. Looking for products that come in recyclable packaging, like cardboard or paper, takes no extra time when shopping but immediately reduces the amount of plastic waste your household produces.
Making the switch to eco-friendly laundry detergent is super easy. Moving away from large plastic jugs of detergent that aren’t great for the environment and swapping to recyclable boxes of laundry detergent sheets is a double-whammy. Many detergents use synthetic surfactants that reduce the surface tension of water, making it more susceptible to pollution. This impacts the ecosystem and makes it more difficult for aquatic animals to flourish. When you decide to switch to a sustainable laundry detergent, you’re helping keep the waterways clean while reducing the plastic waste your family produces.
Choosing a sustainable hand soap devoid of irritating chemicals and perfumes that might be harsh on your skin is a win-win situation. They normally come in refillable bottles, and some hand soaps come in tablet form that you dissolve in water to make your own soap. The same is true for dish detergent and dish soap. Dish soap bars last a long time and are generally rather large. They lather well and are even better for your plumbing. You can even start using a dish scrubbing brush or sponge made of natural fibers rather than plastic to reduce even more plastic waste.
2. Invest in Reusable Food Storage
Speaking of plastic waste, how many plastic bags does your household throw out a month? Probably quite a few. You can reduce that number to zero by making one simple change. Ditch your plastic baggies for reusable bags or storage containers. Switching to reusable containers instead of single-use bags saves you money in the long-term since you no longer have to go through box after box of bags. Plastic bags are a massive waste and can leach toxins into your food. Reusable containers are just as easy and convenient as plastic bags, and they’re quite simple to clean because most are dishwasher safe. You can even microwave meals in them!
3. Switch to Reusable Kitchen Towels
Paper towels seem like the peak of convenience when working in the kitchen, but going through a few rolls can be expensive and create a ton of trash. It’s easier than you might think to replace paper towels with reusable but lightweight kitchen towels. Use your new kitchen towels the same way you would a paper towel. When it’s time to dispose of it, place it in the laundry basket rather than the trash bin and wash it with the rest of your towels. Reusable kitchen towels don’t add much to your laundry because they’re so light and can be conveniently stored in the kitchen since they don’t take up much space.
4. Say Goodbye to Plastic Bottles
Plastic bottles are a giant contributor to household plastic waste. It’s second nature for some to grab a water bottle when they’re on the go, but single-use water bottles are a huge waste. Not only do they create an unimaginable amount of trash, but they’re also a waste of money. Having a few reusable water bottles on hand for your family to use or grab from the fridge is easy and will save you a ton of money while reducing your environmental impact.
If your family tends to go through bottles of soda like crazy, it might be time to invest in a soda maker. Making your own soda or sparkling water at home is fun and cost-effective. These ingenious devices mix water with CO2 to produce that perfect, refreshing drink everyone adores. There are tons of flavors to choose from, and soda makers come with reusable bottles that are simple to clean so you can keep a steady stock of drinks for the whole family.
5. Donate Used Items
Donating unwanted items is a no-brainer. Coming out of an era where everything was considered disposable, people are beginning to realize the importance of getting the full life out of items rather than throwing them in the trash and contributing to the local landfill. Every year, a huge amount of reusable materials are sent to landfills when they could easily be donated to local shelters or thrift stores.
When going through your closet or kid’s bedroom, consider packing up clothes and toys that are in decent shape and taking them to local shelters or charities. If you have furniture you no longer want, consider contacting local charities or posting them online for free. Even little knickknacks you no longer want can bring a smile to a stranger’s face. Taking the time to donate these items significantly helps individuals who may be struggling. It truly doesn’t take a lot of effort on your part. Many places are even happy to pick up large furniture items from your home so you don’t have to find a way to transport them.
Making small changes in your daily life can lead to a huge reduction in household waste. Switching to reusable items will reduce your family’s trash and make you feel good knowing you’re doing your part. The more people who make these easy lifestyle changes, the better off the environment. Every person counts when making big changes!