You don’t have to overhaul your whole life to become more sustainable. Actually, I don’t recommend you make a lot of major changes upfront. Being sustainable has to be just that, sustainable. If you start small with changing one or two habits, it will start to become a NEW habit allowing you to easily start to make further changes.
The goal is not to waste, as tempting as it is to dump single use items into the trash or recycle bin you will only be adding to the problem. Use what you have, it exists, so at least get use out of it. If you can return something to the store, do that, otherwise use up what you have. When you start to run out of a routine item look to replace it with a more sustainable item. I too am still working through a collection of single use items.
Here are some easy swaps to get you started, a thrift shop is great for this so you don’t spend a fortune and it gets a second life.
- Reusable bags
- Reusable cup or water bottle
- Reusable straw(s) if you use a straw
- What might you already own that is metal, tin or glass to replace plastic items? Most people don’t know how much they truly own but never use.
- Start to look at what might be plastic in your life, when you run out of it can you replace it with non-plastic? Is it an easy DIY and you don’t have to purchase anything at all?
- Do the replacement items require packaging at all? Such as soap, bulk store items and so on.
- How do I responsibly dispose of the plastic I have to waste? Can it be recycled or does it have to be trashed for a landfill? Can it have a second life depending on what it is?
- Get comfortable asking what your options are. “Can I use my reusable cup here instead?” “A water please, but no straw, thanks” “I have my own bag can you put it in here?”
TIP: I replace items before I am completely out of it, that way if it doesn’t work for me I don’t have to buy more of the thing I’m looking to use up.
Shopping? Here are my Top 10 Less Waste Essentials you can purchase on Amazon.
Every little bit counts!
Own up to this accomplishment, I was shy at first when people would comment on how great they think it is, now I say thanks and “I’m doing what I can to help and waste less”. Some people will roll their eyes, but ignore them, you are not being rude, simply asking what is possible. If not, don’t beat yourself up that is life and you can’t stop living it.