Living greener doesn’t need a lot of change in your everyday life, all it takes is a small effort. Here are some tips to help you cut down on waste.
Buy in bulk when possible rather than individual packages.
Avoid individually wrapped items, snack packs, and single-serve containers. Buy large containers of items or from bulk bins whenever practical. Be aware of double-packaging - some "bulk packages" are just individually wrapped items packaged yet again and sold as a bulk item.
Purchase items such as dish soap and laundry detergents in concentrate forms.
Also, remember that buying in bulk rather than individual packages will save you lots of money and reduce waste! Packaging makes up 30% of the weight and 50% of trash by volume. Buy juice, snacks, and other lunch items in bulk and use those reusable containers each day.
Carry your own jars and re-usable bags.
Canvas bags are a treehugger’s staple. Avoid plastic altogether by always carrying a reusable bag or tote in your purse or car. If you’re going bulk shopping, bring along jars with lids for any liquids.
Keep a stash of reusable bags in an easy-to-remember place so you can grab them any time you go shopping. Whether it’s your car, below the kitchen sink or next to the car keys - just designate a place and stick with it.
Compost food scraps and yard waste.
Food and yard waste accounts for about 11 percent of the garbage thrown away in the Twin Cities metro area. Many types of food scraps, along with leaves and yard trimmings, can be combined in your backyard compost bin.
Buy items made of recycled content, and use and reuse them as much as you can.
For instance, use both sides of every page of a notebook before moving on to the next clean notebook. Use unneeded, printed on printer paper for a scratch pad. Choose products that are returnable, reusable, or refillable over single-use items.
Before trowing things in the trash, double check to see if the items you’re throwing out are actually recyclable. Toilet paper rolls, non-aerosol deodorants, and cooking oil bottles are just some items people mistake for non-recyclable.
Reduce the amount of unwanted mail you receive.
These days, most companies offer the option to receive bills via email or through an online account. Checking this box means cutting out a lot of unwanted mail and paper waste - much of which you probably throw out without opening anyway.
To avoid receiving paper-heavy pamphlets and promotional materials as well, pop a 'No Circulars' sign on your mailbox. The average resident in America receives over 30 pounds of junk mail per year.
Shop at second-hand stores.
You can find great used and unused clothes at low cost to you and the environment. Buy quality clothing that won't wear out and can be handed down, whether to other people you know or on to a thrift store.