Making the choice to reduce before you recycle is an important step in your simple green lifestyle. Let me show you some simple ways to reduce what you use in your home.
Everything you buy has some form of packaging on it. A lot can be recycled, but often it just ends up in landfill somewhere to leech into our groundwater and pollute our environment.In 8 months I was able to reduce our home’s waste from an overflowing wheelie bin to having it only half full on rubbish removal day. This is how I did it.
Start by choosing to learn to cook as much as you can from scratch. By doing this you will automatically cut your waste in half. There will be no more convenience food trays, glass jars of sauces or canned vegetables.
We used to eat a lot of precooked beans. It was so simple to just open a can and season for Mexican beans. However I now buy bulk dry beans and soak them long before cooking. This has had a great impact on my number of garbage bags. Rethink using canned tomatoes too! There is truly no need to buy tomatoes in cans. Fresh tomatoes work just as well and are much healthier for you.
When shopping also look at the packaging. Buying in bulk (10kg flour instead of 2.5kg flour) means less packaging per unit of product. Buying concentrates for washing powders, dishwashing liquid or softeners is more energy efficient. Stear clear of packaging that has more than three layers. A local store that sells chicken pieces has wrapped them individually in thin plastic, then places them on a meat tray and then wraps with cling wrap – the rule is “3 is too much!” Learn the plastic recycling codes so that you can recognise which are not recyclable and stear clear of them. And if you feel that a products packaging is totally ridiculous, then complain to the producer!
Next step you need to take is consider what you are still buying in the disposable range. Nappies (diapers), razors, dishcloths…all have long term counterparts. Considering buying earth friendly diapers that fit well and are easily cleaned in just a little time.
Spend that little extra and buy yourself a decent razor that will not end up in landfill in a month’s time.
Disposable wiping clothes and paper towel are not necessary and should be avoided like the plague. Old jeans and T-shirts can be cut and edged to be used for spills and wiping up.
If you find that you are scraping left over meals into the rubbish bin, serve smaller portions and let hungry family members come back for seconds. You can also place left over unserved food into a container and take it with you to work for lunch or after 3 days you can have a lunch of leftovers – a different meal for each person!
I guarantee you that by making the time to think through the “reduce before recycle” ideas, you will start to see many ways that you can shrink your waste production.