Now more than ever, concentrated efforts are being made to reduce waste and live more sustainably because people and governments realize that the Earth does not run on infinite resources. Reducing waste helps protect the environment and reduce pollution. Living more sustainably also reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills, thus conserving space and protecting natural resources. It also has the added benefit of saving people money if they learn to purchase and use only what they need.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some small steps you can take to reduce waste and live more sustainably. These can easily be integrated into your everyday life at home in your Village House apartment as well as on the go. Both the environment and your wallet will thank you.
Avoid Single Use Products
The basic definition of single-use products is products that are designed to be used once and then disposed of. Obviously, this is harmful to the environment and creates unnecessary waste that fills up landfills. To avoid this “one and done” trap, try avoiding purchasing products that are over-packaged, especially if the packaging materials are non-recyclable.
What products you do buy, if they come in jars and containers and whatnot, you may want to reconsider reusing and repurposing them – coffee glass jars, for example, can be washed out and used as storage containers for pasta, grains etc.
When out shopping, avoid bagging your groceries and products in plastic bags – bring your own reusable tote bag instead. If you do forget your tote and end up using a plastic bag, you can repurpose that plastic bag as a bin liner or future shopping bag.
Buy in Bulk
If done right, buying in bulk can actually prove to be more eco-friendly and sustainable by a) reducing gas emissions from driving or taking public transport to and from the store, b) minimizes the amount of plastic and packaging that may be required to transport the products home, and c) minimizing and prevents resources from being used up to create unnecessary packaging for single, individual products and goods.
Buying in bulk is also advantageous financially – things tend to be cheaper when you buy in bulk. Be careful though, especially when it comes to purchasing food products in bulk – make sure to buy only what you need and what you can use within the expiry date otherwise the purpose is defeated if the food goes past its use-by date, and you must throw it away.
Bring Your Own (BYO)
There are numerous ways to cut down on waste and single-use products simply by tossing a reusable product in your bag before going out to a restaurant or shop.
If going shopping, bring your own reusable tote and produce bags to the mall, market, or grocery store to bag your goods in. If you tend to be forgetful, keep a spare in your bag, car, jacket pocket, etc., at all times.
Some cafes and shops will allow you to bring and use your own mug or thermos when ordering a drink, so why not invest in a traveling mug or thermos if you’re someone who regularly grabs a coffee or tea at their local café before heading off to work or school?
To avoid using plastic straws when out, bring your own reusable ones instead. They come in a variety of materials including stainless steel, glass, and bamboo.
Lastly, instead of relying on single-use, disposable tissues and napkins, bring your own handkerchief and cloth napkins instead. They can be washed and reused numerous times.
Reuse (and Repurpose)
As previously mentioned, reusing and repurposing products can go a long way to living more sustainably and putting less strain on the environment.
Items that come packaged in glass jars can be washed out when empty and used as storage containers or for growing and potting plants, fruits, and vegetables.
Old magazines and newspapers can serve as wrapping paper, padding for fragile items that need to be shipped, and extra cushioning for items packed in moving boxes.
Old but still serviceable clothes and bedding can be donated to charities and thrift stores. Old clothes and bedding that are perhaps too raggedy to be worn and used can be repurposed into cleaning rags.
Switch To Paperless
Covid has seen a bigger push into the digitalization of businesses that previously mostly relied on paper. Individuals can contribute to this by switching over to smart notebooks and e-ink tablets to take and store notes on, sketch and draw etc.; using emails to send messages, reminders, documents etc., and digitizing invoices and contracts that can be secured and finalized via eSignatures. eGreeting cards can be customized and sent with the click of a button instead of wasting paper and using up resources needed to send it to its final destination.
Speaking of paperless – if you’re on the prowl for a new apartment, why not fill out Village House’s online application form to get started on finding a place to live?