Ways to reduce your waste

Ways to reduce your waste
Although some of our trash are recycled, most of it still end up in the landfill. (Photo by:Morguefile.com)

It’s been a decade since my daughter and I joined the world in recognizing the importance of taking part in keeping our world a better place to be. Literally, by being litter-conscious, we consider every day as Earth Day.

The amount of trash in the world is alarming. According to worldcounts.com, every year we dump a massive 2.12 billion tons of waste. If all this waste was put on trucks they would go around the world 24 times.

With that in mind, we consciously do our best to minimize the garbage we produce all the time. We value every step or action, even a minute one, in an attempt to contribute to slowing down of the degradation of our environment. It has become innate to us that when we are out, the garbage we produce will be put in the right bins, should trash cans are not available, we keep our garbage with us until we can dispose of it properly. My younger children know this rule as well.

The work towards protecting our environment is a collective endeavour, and sometimes we don’t see or feel the impact of our actions, nevertheless, don’t be disheartened just go on, continue your effort and feel good that you are doing something beneficial for our world.

At home, we use a few things that I believe help lessens the garbage we contribute to the mountains of landfills that exist. Of course, there are many other ways to reduce our waste production but for now, I would like to share some of the initiatives I have taken.

 1. Metal straw. My boys in their process of transitioning from sippy cups to just a regular drinking cup demanded the use of straw, (plastic straws). I probably bought a box of plastic straws a few times, until the reusable straw clicked in my mind. I browsed online and found stainless steel straws. There are some variety of straws to choose from. By purchasing these reusable straws, I lessened the plastic waste my household produces and it saved me pennies.

The silicon lids are also useful as a replacement for missing lids.

2. Silicon lids.  The use of plastic cling wrap is among the things I replaced in my household. I am guilty of wrapping everything with a plastic wrap, leftover food and many other things.  The silicon lids come in different sizes that can be used to cover jars, bowls and other containers. It is stretchable, and create a perfect seal on any glass, plastic or metal containers, they can also serve as a replacement for lost lids for round shape containers. Just place them in the dishwasher or hand wash with soap in warm water after each use.

3. Silicon baking mat. There was a time that I baked a lot of our food to avoid frying them, and I was using lots of foil. I felt awful for the one-time use of foils in my cooking, and so I looked for alternative baking tray cover and I found the silicon mat. I am happy with this purchase. It comforts me that I am not producing unnecessary waste in my baking. Besides foil, I also stopped using cookie sheets or parchment paper when baking cookies. I also used this when kneading. This baking mat is easy to wipe and clean. It comes in a set of 3., 2Pcs of 16.5 x 11 inches and 1pc of 11.5 x 8.5 inches. 

With the same idea, I also purchased silicon muffin cups, when you have children baking muffins is almost next to cooking, and muffin liners though it makes baking muffins hassle free, it produces waste, and we can eliminate it through silicon muffin cups or muffin molds.

Easy to clean silicon baking mat.

4. Water filter. I am hesitant to drink water directly from a faucet for decades now. It is not because of the water being unpalatable in Canada, but it is a habit, I formed while living in the Philippines and I have difficulty shaking it off, so either I drink filtered or distilled water or boiled water. With the cheap price of bottled water, it is easy to buy boxes and boxes of it and the only consequence is more plastic garbage to produce and that it takes 450 years for it to breakdown. For financial practicality as well, our household stopped purchasing bottled water and switched to Big Burkey water filtering system. This water filtering system helped us cut a big amount of plastic bottle wastes produced from our home.

5. Water bottle. Bringing water bottles whenever we leave the house, stops me from buying drinks in a plastic bottle, thus kept me from adding waste.

6. Menstrual cup. I am very glad I’m using this, although a part of me is sad because I didn’t utilize it earlier on. Imagine the waste produced by women using pads during their menstrual cycle. Every month there are more than 3.8 billion women using tampons, pads, panty liners, and plastic applicators producing waste. I personally, recommend the use of a menstrual cup for comfort and practicality. Money wise, you save way more in having one menstrual cup even for just a year, in comparison to your monthly expenses for menstrual pads. It delights me too, that my period is not causing additional waste in the world.

7.Upcycle. This is utilizing the things in your possession beyond its use or creating it into something else that is useful. I am somewhat proud that I have upcycled old baby blankets into clothing wipes because this is really useful in our home. We still use toilet papers but I think the availability of my “cloth wipes” cut the number of toilet papers we used dramatically, and I hope one day we can totally get rid of toilet papers.

So, instead of giving away baby blankets, I cut it into small pieces, approximately 4 x 8 inches; or one blanket can be made into 16 pieces of wipes. It is easy to use even for my young ones.

I also upcycled spaghetti sauce jars, which are in reality are mason jars, it is the same as the ones you buy as “mason jars.” We use these “spaghetti sauce jars” as our drinking glass, pen/pencil, color pen holder, leftover container and many other uses.  I’ve utilized milk and juice cartons too, I’ve upcycled it into some decors.

These are cut up baby blankets turned into reusable, washable cloth wipes,

There are more ways that can be implemented in our daily lives to lessen the negative impact we’re making against our environment, for now, these are some of the steps I have initiated. How about you, what are some of your ways in cutting waste?

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