Making environmentally-friendly choices has always been important, but now the situation of our planet has gotten critical. We are at the point where making the right decisions is not only “trendy”—it’s become crucial to our survival. According to Natural Resources Canada, the average North American will throw away 600 times his or her weight in a lifetime—which means 90,000 pounds of trash for a 150 pound person. If we all make an effort to reduce the amount of waste we produce, it will actually make a difference. Here are 10 ways to start doing your part—and you’ll probably save a dime or two while you’re at it!
1. No more paper towels
Ditching paper towels will help you save a lot of paper, not to mention money. So bid those rolls of towels goodbye, and start using cloth and sponges in the kitchen and when cleaning the house.
2. Take reusable bags to the store
Almost every supermarket sells them now, and some will even give you a small discount on your groceries if you use them instead of plastic bags. Why not keep them in the trunk of your car so they’re always handy? If you’re going on a shopping spree, take a backpack with you and skip the plastic bags—it’ll be easier on your arms, too.
3. Buy in bulk
Avoid buying food that is packaged in individual servings. Also, you know you’ll always need toilet paper, so why not buy an extra big package once a month, instead of a small one once a week? You’ll be eliminating the use of a lot of plastic wrapping.
4. Pack a smart lunch
Instead of packing your sandwich in a plastic bag that you’ll throw out afterwards, why not bring it in a reusable container you can wash and make use of again the next day? Plastic juice containers can be used to pack drinks. And forget those brown bags—invest in a lunch box for your kids, as well as yourself.
5. Get reusable coffee filters
Are you a big coffee drinker? Buy a reusable coffee filter to use at home and one for work if you can. You’ll be saving paper by eliminating the need for the regular kind.
6. Make your own notepads
Computer printouts, outdated forms, and various kinds of old stationary can be cut up and stapled together to make notepads. You’ll produce less waste if you use paper more than once.
7. Start sending eCards
It’s the thought that counts, and people nowadays should understand that an eCard can be just as personal as a traditional card, especially if it was sent electronically in an effort to save paper.
8. Buy a travel mug
Treat yourself to a nice travel mug from your favourite coffee shop, and bring it with you to fill up every time you buy coffee—that’s five less paper cups you’ll have wasted in a work week.
9. Switch to rechargeable batteries
You may have to change them more often than if you were using their one-time use counterparts, but it’s worth it when you think about how much less of them you’ll be wasting in the end. You’ll also save money on buying batteries overall.
10. Purchase durable products
Saving money is important, especially if you are on a budget. But in the end, purchasing a product that costs a little more, but that can be repaired and will last you longer will help you save money, and reduce your overall waste production.