The phrase “Zero waste” is becoming more and more popular today. As more people become aware of their carbon footprint what are some easy ways you can become less wasteful.
What is Zero Waste
Zero waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resources life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Zero waste is important because right now less than 10% of trash is actually recycled.
I will admit as of right now I am not Zero Waste but I try every day to reduce the waste I produce and to move towards being Zero Waste. Ideally, everyone should become Zero waste but it is a process that you can grow and build on every day. In this article, we will just be talking about how to reduce waste in the kitchen. One of the most wasteful rooms in everyone’s home.
Reducing Waste: Grocery Store
First, let’s start at the grocery store. Everyone doesn’t have access to a Zero Waste grocery store near them. If not, there is no need to worry you can reduce your waste at your local grocery store. For starters, you can invest in a reusable grocery bag. Rather than collecting more plastic bags from the grocery store just to throw them away, invest in one bag you can use over and over again. Now if you have too many groceries to just use reusable bags or leave it at home (which we all sometimes do) hold onto your plastic bags. Rather than, throwing them away immediately, use them to store things in the house or keep them in your car for your next trip to the grocery store. Reusing your plastic bags is much better than throwing them away. Remember reducing your waste is a process not everyone is perfect. It is better to do something rather than doing nothing.
Next, is reusable produce bags, sandwich wraps, and snack bags. (We talked about these in another article about recycling check it out!) Using a cloth bag for your product is environmentally friendly and also allows your produce to breathe in the fridge increasing its shelf life. Rather than using one time to use plastic bags. You can think of investing in other options: Glass or plastic containers, or more popularly silicone wraps. These things can be used over and over again unlike sandwich bags. If you already have sandwich bags at home don’t just throw them out but try to use them more than once if possible or hold onto them longer. No one is perfect but we can make efforts to be less wasteful.
A great way to reduce the carbon footprint that will save you money is by investing in a reusable water bottle. Plastic water bottles are one of the biggest ways individuals contribute to plastic waste. I know spending $1, $2, $5 on plastic bottles once a week doesn’t seem like much but it adds up over time. Globally, humans run through approximately 200 billion plastic water bottles annually. On average, Americans spend about $100 per person each year on bottled water. For a family of 5, that is $500 a year and almost $2,500 every 5 years. That is insane! While you can buy a reusable water bottle that holds more water, it allows you to get free water at parks, fast food restaurants, airports, and gas stations. This seems like a no brainer in terms of saving. Definitely considering at airport water can cost almost $5!
You already know….STRAWS
Time to address the elephant in the room. Straws. A few states have banned the use of straws and many schools and restaurants have stopped offering them. I know there are a lot of people out there who don’t see the point. Yes, straws only make up 0.025% of the plastic in the ocean. I know that number can seem minuscule. What change will I make if I stop using plastic straws? I advise you to look at the big picture. Try and look at plastic straws as a luxury, if we as a nation decide we don’t need to use these things or manufacture them think about how it will change the conversation. If we destroy an entire industry for the environment think of how we can get companies and organizations to become sustainable and environmentally friendly.