The first critical step towards waste prevention has been overshadowed by an overly stressed focus on recycling. Try to promote a greater awareness of the importance of the “Reduce” part in the mantra Reduce-Reuse-Recycle.
Go Zero Waste
The ultimate goal of waste reduction is to learn how to achieve a Zero Waste Home.
Simplify your life as much as possible, keeping belongings that you use regularly. By making an effort to reduce what you own, you will naturally reduce your tendency to purchase more or create less waste in the future.
Determine Your Impact
The Eco Footprint, Water Footprint and Carbon Footprint calculators provide a great way to determine how you impact the environment.
Think about whether you really need a product before buying it, how the production of this product impacts the environment and what other impacts there will be with the product’s disposal and the associated packaging materials that come with it. When considering buying something, try something known as the 30-Day Rule, which suggests that you should wait 30 days after the first time you decide to buy a product to really make your decision. This can potentially eliminate impulse buying.
Try to replace disposable products with reusable ones whenever possible such as food storage, razor, batteries, coffee filters, refilling instead of buying new printer cartridges, air or furnace conditioner filters, etc.
Buy Used Goods
Buy used products whenever possible. Some sources for buying used reliable goods include eBay, Craigslist, Freecycle, Amazon, local thrift shops and newspaper listings, local material exchange sites, garage sales, used furniture stores, local consignment shops etc.
Make Your Own
Try to make your own products whenever possible. This can not only help to cut down on waste and control the materials used but also help reduce the amount of money you spend on it.
Borrow From Friends
If you only need something for a short period of time, ask if a neighbour or friend would loan it to you instead of buying it and leaving it unused for a long time.
Share With Friends
Share things like magazines, books, movies, newspapers and games between friends and neighbours.
Try to avoid packaged products for one-time use such as school lunches, drinks, candy, salad mixings, cat and dog food, etc. Try to buy products in bulk and transfer the products to reusable containers. Many health food stores have bulk bins where everything from grains to cleaning products to cereal are sold.
Buy Only What You Need
Only buy as much as you know you use and will need for items such as cleaning supplies, food, and paint.
Avoid Creating Trash
Wherever possible, avoid creating trash. For example, while ordering food, do not receive any unnecessary plastic straws, utensils, etc., buy products with the least amount of packaging, buy ice cream in a cone instead of plastic cups, do not accept promotional products which are deemed free etc.