Many of us are still cooped up in our homes, waiting for a safer time to emerge. While we’re here, we’ve come up with even more ideas on how you can reduce your waste while spending so much time in your lovely abode.
Dig Deep: Use What You Already Have
For those who have not been hit by crippling unemployment or eviction, there’s been a lot of online retail therapy going on. Ask your local UPS driver and I’m sure they’ll tell you they’ve been as busy as Black Friday. But this is a good time to take stock of what already exists in your home. Condense all those half bottles of soap or body wash that you haven’t been using. Go on an office supply scavenger hunt around your house. There are at least 20 pens hiding in various corners. Review your wardrobe to discover items you haven’t worn for ages (maybe even years). If you find a lot of quality clothing you just don’t like anymore, consider trying Swap Society to “trade” for some gently-used items.
Check your cupboards and pantry to utilize some of those foods that are still good but somehow got pushed to the back of the cabinet. Reviewing what you actually HAVE makes you realize how much we compile over the years and how, sometimes, that feeling of “newness” can be reinvigorated merely from the act of discovery.
Repair Rather Than Replace
To save money and more junk in a landfill, we can all repair rather than replace what we have. Following the same logic as our first topic, using what you already have reduces waste on several fronts:
- Your existing item doesn’t add more to a landfill
- Less fossil fuels are used to make and transport your new product
- The less we consume as a society, the less new items need to be produced, saving on natural resources and energy
You also employ repair people and usually have your item up and running with just a quick swap of a smaller component. If it’s something you’re repairing yourself, you gain those resilient skills gleaned from watching numerous YouTube DIY videos. So, get that chair reupholstered. Order a replacement part for your blender. Just don’t get seduced by that shiny new, heavily-packaged item that puts your older item at the curb.
Buy in Bulk
Whether you frequent Costco or other big box stores or just go to a regular grocery store, you can reduce your waste by buying a lot of anything at once. Rice, beans, pasta, oil, vinegar, cereal, cleaning products, printer paper, toilet paper, trash bags, etc. The more you buy at once, the fewer trips you have to take to the store, the fewer gas miles you use, the fewer bags you use (if you use plastic or paper). Buying in larger quantities also means that you might buy a larger box or bag of something. This reduces the amount of packaging you throw away. You could even get some nice large, glass storage jars to store everything in (and you can often find THOSE second-hand at Goodwill or any thrift shop).
Get or Make Reusable Masks for Outings
Besides being more comfortable, reusable masks reduce the copious waste that is occurring since the pandemic. Just take a walk around your neighborhood. You’ll probably see at least five disposable masks clinging to a fence or bush. You can find reusable masks almost anywhere. If you have about two or three per family member, you can drop them in the wash after each wearing. Assuming you’re not going out every day, these can last you a good week. Or, wash them in the sink by hand, in hot water.