I've been getting a lot of questions lately from people asking me about where to start when you want to reduce your waste. So I thought I would share with you my top 5 tips!
1. look in your trash
Look to see what you're throwing out the most. To be able to solve a problem, you need to identify it first. When I first started assessing my trash I noticed most of my waste was coming from food packaging. So that was the first thing I started eliminating, I started buying my food in bulk. If you notice food scraps are filling your rubbish bin, find ways to compost. If you notice body care and beauty packing is filling your garbage, look for more sustainable products that come in glass that you can reuse, or try making your own.
2. Use items that are reusable
-reusable bulk bags - you can buy Eco Love reusable bags here
-reusable produce bags
-stainless steel straw (there are also bamboo/glass straws)
-reusable water bottle
These items can be reused again and again, and can last a lifetime. They also eliminate the use of plastic, which is bad for the environment and our health. Plus, plastic isn't fundamentally recyclable, we never really knows what happens to it, even if it has that little number on it. A good rule of thumb is to choose stainless steel or glass over plastic.
Try to always have a reusable bag, straw and jar with you. The jar has saved me multiple times in oh so many ways (especially when I can't finish my food at a restaurant; the eco friendly version of a doggy bag).
3. Shop at Farmers Markets or in bulk sections
By shopping at farmers markets you not only support local farmers, but you can also buy a lot of delicious produce and baked goods that aren't packaged. Get your staples in bulk sections at local grocery stores, you can bring your own bulk bags to reuse, over and over and over and over again.
4. Shop at second hand stores
Always try to get things that are already in the system. Often times you can find the very thing you're looking for in great condition. Craigslist is a great resource for used everything and comes without the tags and stickers.
There are also great groups on Facebook, one of my personal favourites is the East Van Swap & Shop, it's a facebook group where people buy and trade clothing, minus the wasteful price tags. There are groups for furniture, kitchenware, gardening tools, the list goes on. If you can't find something similar where you live, create an online group!
Compost your food scraps. Food scraps should not go in the trash. All you need to do is find or build a little box and you can keep your food scraps in there. The plants will love you when you deliver them. There are a few options for composting: build your own, worm compost or city compost. There are lots of resources on the internet if you want to build your own. And to quote Bea Johnson: "if you are grossed out by the ICKY factor, get over it. Compost is ODORLESS and natural, it's dirt at its conception stage. What's REALLY gross is the piles of plastic washing off on our beaches"