I was a normal everyday consumer living in America and never cared much about my trash other than taking it out to the dumpster. But slowly, came a time when it really hit me about the innumerable plastic containers, covers and packaging that we use on a regular basis and how harmful it is for the environment.
A little more research into it showed that 900 metric tons of waste, about the mass of 600 midsized sedans enter the oceans every hour worldwide according to an article on the world economic forum. It is really shocking and its time each of us starts taking small steps towards reducing the number and leaving a better world to our children and grandchildren.
Here are some easy to begin, 5 steps that you can take to start your journey towards a zero-waste home.
1. Carry your own reusable Cloth bags to every store you go to!
I know this is easy to say but a hard one to follow. I did have a lot of cloth bags at home, but every time I would forget to take it to the store and end up bringing a lot of paper bags or plastic bags home. When I slowly started getting aware of my environment I started to see how much trash I was collecting and that thought once implanted in my mind made me somehow remember to take the bags from home or keep them in the car. Finding the right bags and keeping them in the right spot like near the door would also help remind you to carry them more often. Leaving a few bags in the car trunk always helps you to avoid plastics or paper from any store. You can find some easy carry shopping bags here.
2.Carry your own produce bags to the store
I have always felt bad using the produce bags for every single vegetable or fruit we pick out at the grocery store. I try as much to avoid bags for big vegetables or the ones that can be weighed by collecting them together like bananas, apples, pears etc. But in some cases to hold more you got to use them. In such occasions, you can use the reusable mesh or cloth produce bags. Just carry them to the store and you can avoid all the plastic bags. It also keeps the produce fresh and makes it easy to transfer and store in your refrigerator, making it organized and produce being fresh longer.
3. Replace Cling wraps with reusable silicone stretch covers
Try how much you want but there are meant to be leftovers and using cling wrap is inevitable. This unmindful use of cling wrap on leftover food, fruits, covering baking trays etc and the list goes on. We can try to use lids to cover the bowls with leftovers. There are some high stretch silicone food wraps that can be washed and reused that would be a replacement for disposable cling wrap that adds to more trash. There are also some fruit huggers to store leftover vegetables and fruits which can be reused as well.
4. Start using the washable zip locks instead of the one-time usage bags
Ziplocks that we regularly use are currently not recyclable and adds on to our trash. We can try to move to using reusable boxes more often or try using reusable ziplock bags that can be used in a dishwasher for freezing and storage.
5. Start replacing kitchen tissues with Kitchen towels or reusable wipes
Kitchen tissues are by far the most used useful tool in most kitchens, although it is very convenient and easy to dispose of, it adds to the trash. Paper is recyclable, but using less of paper leads to not harming more trees. Wherever possible you can substitute kitchen towels, hand towels and washable cloth wipes for drying and cleaning.Cloth lasts longer and adds to less waste.
If one family carries their own grocery bag and produce bags to the store for a full year, they would be avoiding 520 plastic bags per year on an average according to a Newsday article.
If we pass this message to our friends and at least one of them choose to adopt this, you would be saving 1040 bags every year.
Why not try these small steps to help reduce our carbon footprint?