Waste Not: 40+Savvy Yet Simple Ways To Make Less TrashBy Jhoana C
Have you heard the reports lately of increasing waste and landfills reaching their maximum capacity? Have you heard of the effects of plastic waste on the environment? If the old us hadn’t been paying any attention to these things, we can turn over a new leaf and ensure that the new us are people who want to make a difference. There are plenty of ways to reduce waste by using biodegradable materials and recycling. There are also several small steps we can start taking to ensure the conserve the environment and ensure that future generations still get to enjoy it. An online store has taken to social media to educate its followers on all the ways they can reduce waste at home. With the help of the Instagram page @reducewastenow, we can all say goodbye to the old wasteful us and say hello to the new and more conscious version.
#1 Time to save rice water
Some people may only seldom eat rice, but some of us need rice with most of our meals. Whichever one you are, it’s still helpful to know this conservation hack. Before cooking rice, you have to wash it. But don’t throw rice water out!
We can use it to water our plants. It’s better than plain water because it will help plants grow due to the nutrients. Why waster perfectly good water by throwing it out? Mother Nature is going to love you for doing this simple thing.
#2 Good to know this information
Sometimes we don’t pay any attention to where we put our groceries. Every time we buy fruits and vegetables, we just put everything in the fridge to keep them fresh and hopefully help slow the ripening process. What we didn’t know before is that there is a science behind it.
Yup, you heard that right. You just can’t put fruits and vegetables together and we didn’t know this until now too. Fruits produce a gas that can cause your vegetables to ripen faster than they should. Remember this next time you bring home your groceries.
#3 When life gives you lemons
We have often been told that when life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade. But what if life gives you plenty of lemons and you don’t have enough time to make delicious lemonade from them before they turn bad?
You should juice the lemons and freeze the juice. Don’t waste perfectly good lemons by forgetting them and then throwing them away once they rot, because that’s not a good way of reducing waste. By freezing lemon juice, you will have it ready all year round.
#4 Stay away from plastic
The use of plastic has a lot of repercussions on the environment. The accumulation of plastic waste has a huge effect on wildlife and humans. The planet is not dealing well with plastic pollution and we can do our part in reducing it.
One of the ways you can contribute to reducing plastic waste is to avoid buying any product that’s stored in plastic. A good example is when you buy tomato sauce or pasta sauce. Only purchase those that come in glass jars.
#5 A good way to make onions last
Onions are essential ingredients in the kitchen and almost all dishes we know require onions. This is also the reason people who cook frequently stock up on onions. However, this leads to the problem of having so many onions that half end up spoiling.
You can prevent this from happening by getting some old tights and storing onions there. Yup, you heard that right: old tights. They can do more than just protect your legs, they are useful in the kitchen too. Doing this allows onions to last for months.
#6 Stay away from single-use batteries
Nowadays, we use plenty of electronics that are powered by batteries of various sizes. We have been shown a new way to save money that also makes Mother nature happy is to steer clear of single-use batteries. Switch to rechargeable batteries instead.
Initially, they will cost more but in the long run, once you add up all the expenses, you’ll see that you save a substantial amount of money. You need not run to the store every time you run out of batteries because you can just recharge them.
#7 Soap bars instead of liquid soaps
Many questions have been raised about the need for packaging on many items such as toothpaste that come in plastic tubes that are packaged in cartons. Why the double packaging? There’s also the issue of plastic bottles for soaps and other bathroom products.
If you want to reduce plastic waste, switch to soap bars instead of liquid soaps. Unpackaged soaps don’t require as many resources and are much more friendly to the environment. Small changes such as this can have a huge impact.
#8 Consider reusable sandwich bags
We all want to save money and, in a bid to grow our savings, most of us pack lunches. The easiest food to pack for lunch is a sandwich. They are easy and fast to whip up and there are so many combinations we couldn’t even name them all.
Where do sandwiches go? In sandwich bags. Although plastic sandwich bags can be reused a few times, the fact of the matter is they are still made of plastic. Get yourself a reusable sandwich bag. You can easily wash them.
#9 Take a shorter shower
Who doesn’t love taking long showers? We know we do, especially if we’re thinking about things and need some time to shut ourselves away from the world. However, taking long showers is a waste of resources. Why take 10 minutes to shower when you can clean yourself in just 5?
No, we’re not telling you to leave the grime on your body. We want you to be clean, fresh, and nice-smelling when you step out of the shower. 5 minutes is perfectly enough time to get yourself cleaned thoroughly so there’s no need to linger.
#10 Don’t let the latest fad fool you
Fads change every time and they are there for a purpose. Businesses want consumers to spend money on the latest fad, even though it’s not necessary. One recurring fad that we have seen over the years is those fancy water bottles.
Products come out every few months touting the latest technology, etc. but do you need them? Chances are you don’t. Reuse the water bottle you already have until it is completely unusable. Most of these “eco” products don’t even offer significant benefits.
#11 Make carrots and celery last longer
Sometimes we get carried away when we are in the grocery store. How many times have we had to toss out spoiled food? And we know that’s a bad thing. If you happen to buy more carrots and celeries than you need, don’t wait for them to spoil.
Cut them up and store them in a jar, submerged in water. Doing so will make the celery last up to 2 weeks and carrots will last up to a month. Clever money-saving idea too, right? You can do this instead of throwing them in the compost when they start to rot.
#12 Know what to eat first in your fridge
As we said, sometimes we end up buying more food than we intend to or we don’t pay attention to the food we are buying and some of it ends up spoiling. Think of all the money and food that goes to waste every month.
You can prevent this from having an “Eat me first” container in your fridge and put the food that will spoil first in that container. This serves as a reminder the moment you open the fridge of what you should reach for first.
#13 Old clothes make good rags
Shirts and tops get old, especially when you wear them frequently. Even if they are no longer nice enough to put in the donate pile, you still shouldn’t throw them out yet. Make good use of your old shirts and tops by turning them into rags.
Cut them into small pieces and use them to wipe windows clean, polish silver, and other things. You’ll be saving a lot of money doing this and it will prevent the old shirt from going to waste when it still has so much life to offer.
#14 Use tea infusers
We’re not saying that tea bags are bad but if you want to help the environment and still enjoy your tea at the same time, you should switch to buying loose leaf tea and using tea infusers instead. They don’t cost a lot.
If you want to use tea bags, you can go for the cloth type that is washable and reusable. If we want to change the world, we have to start with ourselves, and even something as little as teabags matter a lot.
#15 Don’t throw stale bread away
Do you always end up with stale bread at home? What do you do with it? Don’t throw them away if they are not spoiled yet because you can still inject some life into them. Revive bread by running it under the tap.
After running the bread under the tap, put it in the oven at 200°C and it’ll come out as if they are freshly baked. Other things you can do is to freeze the bread so it retains its freshness for some time or you can bake them and turn them into a crispy snack or croutons.
#16 Always opt for reusable materials
Disposables can be light and convenient but we are all aware of the impact they have on our lives and the environment. And we all can admit that there are sustainable alternatives that don’t take much effort for us to implement.
We can all do our part by always opting for reusable and recyclable materials. Bring a reusable mug when ordering coffee, use reusable grocery bags when going to the supermarket, and bring a spoon to work instead of using plastic ones.
#17 Revive old kale
Kale is a superfood that has gained popularity over the last few years. A member of the cabbage family, kale comes in three types and can either be green or purple, or smooth or curly. Kale contains Vitamins A, K, C. B6, calcium, manganese, copper, magnesium, and potassium.
If you’ve bought too much kale and it’s starting to go grow limp, don’t throw it into the compost yet. You can still salvage it by cutting the stems, putting them in water, and into the fridge. After a few hours, you’ll see it will have new life again.
#18 Reduce paper usage
For many years, one of the staples in the kitchen was the paper towel. They come in handy when you need to wipe pots and pans dry or wipe the counter clean. However, we all know that to produce these paper towels, trees have to be cut.
Reduce paper usage by replacing paper towels with washcloths. They are more effective at wiping spills or pots and pans dry and they can be washed and reused. Trust us, you will enjoy using them and you can just throw them in the washing machine when they become dirty.
#19 We’ve never heard of wooden highlighters before
Sometimes when we read, we want to highlight a few important sentences or passages. Most people use plastic highlighters for this purpose, and we always thought that was the only option. But now we don’t have to because there are wooden highlighters on the market.
We didn’t know this until now and this is proof that there is always something new to learn, and new sustainable products, every day. We’re glad we came across this information because we’re going to trade our plastic highlighters for wooden ones.
#20 Put damp tea towel to good use
One of the things people need to keep in mind every time they go shopping is to only buy the correct amount of food, the amount of food that you will be able to consume because if you end up buying more, food will spoil and you have to throw it out.
We are talking about reducing waste and tossing food is something we want to avoid. If you have tried your best but still find yourself with excess leafy greens, wrap them loosely in a damp tea towel so you can make them last longer.
#21 Use natural cleaning products
Making your home tidy is a full-time job, especially if you have little children running around. You want your home to be spick and span but you also want to make sure that you don’t use harsh chemicals that can affect the health of household members.
We usually reach for detergent cleaners every time we need to clean something in the home but there is a better alternative to them and that is a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and essential oils. This all-purpose cleaner is not only effective, but it’s safe too.
#22 Opt for laundry detergents that don’t use plastic packaging
We have mentioned plastic packaging numerous times in this list, and we know what an impact it makes. When buying laundry detergent, most supermarkets have liquid detergents in plastic bottles and we all know what happens to those plastic bottles.
They can easily pile up and cause landfill problems. The better way is to opt for plastic-free laundry detergents. Yes, they are for sale, and you can definitely find them. If you have a bigger budget, you can also opt for an aqueous ozone laundry gizmo.
#23 Switch to mini shampoo bars
Shampoos help us clean our hair and help remove dirt and oil from the scalp. Everyone needs shampoos, especially those with long hair, but typically, shampoos come in plastic bottles. Fortunately, today, there is a better alternative out there for all of us.
The alternative is the mini shampoo gem bar. They are still relatively new but they are quickly gaining popularity because they are very helpful when it comes to reducing plastic waste. They are not packaged in plastic and there is nothing to throw away.
#24 Learn proper potato storage
Potatoes are staples in the kitchen. The potato is an excellent source of fiber and it helps you lose weight by making you feel full longer. One thing potato lovers have to know is how to store it properly so that it lasts longer.
This is one exception to the no storing fruit with vegetables rule. A good thing to keep in mind is to store potatoes with an apple because apples help prevent potatoes from sprouting. It helps potatoes last longer. We never knew this secret until now but we’re excited to try it.
#25 Don’t be afraid to start small
Reducing waste or recycling materials can be overwhelming for anyone who is just starting, so instead of thinking so big you can’t sustain it, we shouldn’t be afraid to start small. Making baby steps is better than not doing anything at all, right?
Don’t think of all the landfills and the waste, just focus on what you can do daily to help in waste reduction. The effort is not wasted even if it doesn’t yield big results right away. The most important thing is that we are making daily changes.
#26 Eliminate sponges from your kitchen
Sponges are essential for scrubbing grime and oil off pots, pans, plates, and other things in the kitchen. Once kitchen sponges have served their purpose, we replace them with new ones and throw the old ones away. This cycle repeats forever.
There’s a better way of doing things though, and that is to use reusable hemp unsponges. They are made from biodegradable materials so they won’t hurt the planet. Seems like every single-use item could easily be replaced with reusable versions (which is how life used to be).
#27 Prevent herbs from wilting too fast
Herbs make our dishes taste much better and aside from cooking, they can also be used when making soaps, aromatic wax, hair rinse products, and as a remedy for various ailments. However, herbs wilt faster than we want them to.
You can prolong the life of your herbs by chopping them up and freezing them or drying them right away. You can freeze the herbs in oil before they start wilting. It doesn’t take so much to preserve your favorite herbs.
#28 Switch from toilet papers to bidets
One of the best things that was ever invented is the bidet. If you haven’t heard of it yet, it’s time you Google it and try to get one. The toilet paper cost can easily add up over the years while bidets only cost you one time.
Some people might say that bidets only work for big houses with a lot of space. However, we beg to differ because bidet attachment mechanisms now come in various styles so getting one shouldn’t be a problem. There should be one suitable for your toilet.
#29 You can do without cotton pads
How many of us use and buy cotton pads? We might not notice our cotton pad expenses because they don’t cost a lot. However, they are single-use items that go to the trash. Why stick to cotton pads when there’s a better alternative?
What are we talking about? We are talking about reusable cotton face pads which can be washed. Or if you don’t fancy this kind of cotton pad, you can also use a washcloth or face towel. They are just as good at getting dirt off your face.
#30 Change your toothbrush
Changing your toothbrush from plastic to toothbrushes made of biodegradable materials makes a lot of difference. It may seem insignificant to some but as we have mentioned earlier, you can take baby steps to reduce waste and still make an impact.
Bamboo toothbrushes are widely available, whether online or in brick-and-mortar stores. And unlike their plastic counterparts that take around 500 years to break down, bamboo toothbrushes only take a few months and that’s a huge difference.
#31 Switching to LED lights helps you save money
Electricity has changed a lot of things; without it, we wouldn’t be enjoying all the comforts we are used to now. No lights, no television, no internet, and many other things. Since electricity was invented, the quality of life has also improved.
Hundreds of years ago, incandescent light bulbs were introduced and it was marvelous for people back then. However, it’s time we switch to it, LED light bulbs. LED is more energy-efficient, has a longer lifespan, and has no UV or heat emissions.
#32 Less plastic in the packaging, the better
For those who really can’t do away with toilet paper and have no option to install bidets in their bathrooms, you can still opt for non-plastic packaging. Companies today are innovating and are also choosing the more environmentally friendly way.
Nowadays, toilet paper is no longer only packed in plastic. Check your local stores or online stores and chances are you will probably find toilet paper packaged in paper. Paper is, of course, recyclable so wastage is not a problem.
#33 Prevent avocados from turning brown
We love our avocados and can’t get enough of them. Avocado flesh is green but once it reacts with the oxygen in the air, it will darken and eventually turn brown and we all don’t want this to happen. Fortunately, there’s a way to prevent it.
Only slice the avocado when you’re about to eat it but if it can’t be helped and you need to slice it open early, squeeze some lemon juice on it and it will prevent the flesh from browning. Then you’ll be able to enjoy your guacamole or avocado toast.
#34 Replace almond milk with oat milk
It has been a long time since cow’s milk was the option we had to put on our cereal and make our coffee creamy. There are a variety of plant-based kinds of milk, but we have recently learned that some are more sustainable than others.
Almond milk is a good option for people who are on a plant-based diet. However, almond orchards are known to hurt bee populations and we all know just how important bees are in the ecosystem. Almond cultivation also needs plenty of water, so it’s better to opt for oat milk.
#35 Make veggie stock using scrap vegetables
Don’t get us wrong on this one, we are all for composting; there is nothing wrong with it. However, if you can still make use of vegetable scraps before putting them in the compost pile, then so much better right?
Instead of buying vegetable stock in the supermarket, whether in cube or liquid form, why not collect all your vegetable scraps, throw them in a pot and delicious and healthy stock? After which, you can put the leftover veggies in the compost.
#36 Wrap gifts in reusable wrapping paper
The holidays are fast approaching and surely there will be a lot of gift-giving then which is why we feel we need to discuss wrapping papers for presents. We are all trying our best not to be wasteful and one area we can save on is wrapping papers.
You can save wrapping papers and reuse them when the next occasion arises, just make sure that you don’t tear them off. Another option is to do what the Japanese do and use a cloth with designs to wrap your gifts in.
#37 Look for biodegradable deodorants
Body odor is a big turn-off. Nobody wants to stand next to someone who reeks. If BO is a big problem, deodorants are useful. However, we no longer have to buy deodorant in plastic packaging. We now have other options!
If you want to make your mark in the reduction of plastic waste, you can opt for deodorants packed in biodegradable items. Yup, they are a thing now. They may cost a bit more than your regular deodorant but just think of the help it gives Mother Nature.
#38 Revive herbs
Do not throw that wilted herb away just yet because you can still revive them. There’s plenty you can do with herbs aside from garnishing your meals with them so you want to get the most possible use from them.
An ice bath helps inject life into herbs. Cut off the stems and remove any parts with bruises, as well as damaged leaves. Submerge the herbs in the ice bath for about 15 to 30 minutes and pat them dry with a kitchen towel or put them in the salad spinner. Lastly, store them in airtight containers to keep them fresh.
#39 Extend the life of strawberries
Strawberries lower blood pressure, help fight cancer, and increase good cholesterol, among many other things. They are delicious too and are affordable especially when in season. If there’s a fruit you need to add to your diet, it’s the strawberry.
You’ll be happy to know that there is a way to make strawberries last longer and that is to wash them in diluted vinegar instead of just regular water. This helps extend their life for up to two weeks. Clever, right?
#40 Giving up meat slowly but surely
Going vegan is a big commitment and it requires effort and dedication. If you want to succeed in going vegan, you need to do it slowly but surely. Baby steps are essential because it would be quite impossible to do it cold turkey.
You can start by cutting your meat consumption down. For example, if you usually eat 2 pounds of meat in a week, you can reduce it by half and eat more vegetables instead. Balance is the key and doing something better than nothing at all.
#41 A better version of the usual toothpaste
Toothpaste helps keep our mouth clean and we can’t imagine a world without it. We don’t get that squeaky-clean feeling if we brush our teeth without it. However, there has been so much controversy about the way toothpaste is packaged.
They don’t think there’s a need to put toothpaste tubes in cartons because the tubes should be enough protection. Another group says that toothpaste shouldn’t even be packaged in plastic tubes in the first place. Glass packaging is so much better. If you want to save money and help the environment at the same time, you can make your own toothpaste.
#42 Face cream in glass containers
One thing about glass is that it is recyclable. Glass containers can be reshaped and reused many times. They can be used as containers for creams, sauces, seasoning, and even beauty products. The next time you buy beauty products, look for those that come in glass containers.
If we want to avoid toothpaste in plastic tubes, we can also avoid purchasing beauty products in plastic packaging. The earlier we start doing our part, the better it will be for the environment. Tell your friends about this too!
#43 Clean your teeth with bamboo floss
Should you floss? Flossing reduces the risk of gingivitis, gum disease, and tooth decay. It also helps remove plaque and the build-up of food between the teeth. If you haven’t been flossing, we recommend it. It makes us feel much better.
The floss we see in supermarkets and drug stores today are made of plastic and are packaged in plastic. We can now replace them with the more environmentally-friendly bamboo or silk floss. Mother Nature will thank us for doing so.
#44 Reusable snack bags for the win
Ziplock bags for food are very useful. Just grab some sandwiches or snacks, put them in the bag, and go. Convenient and fast? However, these snack bags are made from plastic and if we want to help the environment, switching to reusable bags is an easy step.
Reusable snack bags come in different colors, sizes, and styles and are readily available nowadays. They make good containers for a variety of snacks, including sandwiches. Throw them in the wash when dirty and they are ready to be used again.