I set a goal at the start of this year to try to reduce the amount of waste I contribute to the world, and figured the best place to start would be within the walls of my own home!
Reducing waste comes down to the small choices we make every day, so there’s no need to feel overwhelmed or feel like you have to change everything at once.
Here are five simple ways I’ve tried to reduce waste in our home!
1. Make your own all purpose surface cleaner.
My sister in law gave me the most amazing lemon scented cleaning spray a few years ago, and when I ran out, I decided to try to make my own and have been doing so ever since!
My sisters make fun of me for filling the kitchen with the smell of vinegar, but this stuff works great to wipe down the counters and sink and I’ve just been re-filling the original cleaner bottle with my own cleaner now for years.
Just combine three parts water with one part vinegar in a spray bottle, and then add drops of your favorite essential oils. I use orange and lemon oil in my cleaning spray!
2. Use reusable straws.
It’s the little things, right?! We love and use this $4 pack of metal straws that are easy to clean.
3. Store food in glass containers and reusable bags.
This is definitely still a work in progress for me!
I used to be a Ziploc gal through and through, but this year we bought a silicone Stasher bag and clear glass containers to prep food and store leftovers.
I want to gradually add more Stasher bags to my collection, but for now I simply rinse and reuse my Ziploc bags over and over!
4. Bring your own grocery and produce bags to the store.
This was the biggest way I felt I could help reduce my use of plastic, but since grocery stores have stopped allowing the use of your own reusable bags due to COVID-19, I haven’t been able to fully commit to this.
For some reason I was never mindful of the fact that I always used separate plastic bags for each type of produce I buy until recently.
Like, I think it’s going to be OK if the apples touch the cucumbers, Hailey.
I want to try to bring my own mesh bags for fruits and veggies when we’re allowed to do so.
5. Reverse meal planning.
We used to hit up the grocery store once a week, but for the past couple of months, we’ve been shopping every two weeks instead.
I’ve had to get creative about buying things that have a longer shelf and fridge life since we aren’t going to the store as often to get fresh ingredients.
I’ve started to love reverse meal planning by taking a look at what we’ve already got in the fridge and pantry and finding delicious ways to use it up.
It is so satisfying to use up all of the parts of a vegetable, or to use everything in the crisper instead of letting it go bad and tossing it out.
Another aspect of reverse meal planning is eating up all of your leftovers before you make a new meal or dish.
Less cooking for you, less waste for the earth.
That’s what we call a WIN WIN.
What simple changes are you making to help reduce waste? I’d love to hear your ideas!