Want to Make Sure Less of Your Garbage Ends Up Here?
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve caught the recent media explosion about the mountain of garbage that recently washed up on Lebanon’s shores. It’s a shaming reminder of our garbage crisis and the less-than-spectacular efforts to fix it. It’s also just, tragically sad.
Other than making quick mention of the urgent call we made to put pressure on the government, in our blog post Did You Know Our Sea is a Sewer Now? Lebanon, It’s Time to Talk, we are not going to be going into that today. Instead, we’d like to suggest that another way you can help handle the garbage crisis is to, well, create less garbage.
Some obvious ways to do this is to compost, and to recycle everything that can be recycled. But what other measures can you take? We’re going to share some ideas from the wonderful Lauren Singer in the video below, who only produced one mason jar of waste in two years.
Now you might not be able to pare down your consumption to the extent that she has, but every measure you take counts. Here are the things she has done which you can easily apply to your life:
1) Start by Knowing Your Trash
This is fairly simple. As Lauren illustrates, looking at your garbage helps you understand what you need to pay the most attention to. Make a list, and pick the top 3 things that you can start making a dent in.
2) Shop ‘Package Free’
In most big brand grocery stores, everything comes in a package. The shelves are lined with cans, boxes, and plastic wrapping. Even our salad greens and other produce comes in containers, and it’s entirely unnecessary.
The answer to this twofold:
First, find small grocers, farmer’s markets, and other suppliers that sell their goods ‘package-less’. They exist, and, if there isn’t enough of them, the more people express their desire for it the more it will create a demand!
Second, have reusable containers for your shopping. Cloth bags are an easy fix instead of plastic bags, but also bringing your own mason jars, jugs, and other containers to refill for things you can buy in bulk such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, peanut butter, cereals, beans and more.
3) Cotton Napkins and Cloths
Whether it’s for the table, or for your nose, this is the best option. And when it comes to using them for cleaning, instead of buying new cloths, repurpose your old t-shirts by cutting them up into perfectly absorbent squares!
4) Make Your Products
While this is a more challenging and/or time consuming option, it is actually a lot of fun, and the good news is you can make your products in bulk with enough supply to last months! Lauren provides a great recipe for toothpaste in the video, but there are countless others online, for shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer, deodorant, soap, and of course, cleaning supplies.
It can be a fun family activity, and if you get extra good at it, you end up with gifts for friends too! Even if you just decide to stick to one product, you are using dozens fewer containers a year. So start with something you can get the most excited about, and see if your interest doesn’t lead you to the next thing…and the next…
5) Ditch the Wrapping Paper. Completely
Honestly nothing much needs to be said about this. It’s just, a waste. If you really want something to be ‘wrapped’, use newspaper. If it’s very important it’s in something festive, get a gift bag that can be reused.
6) Get a Travel Mug & Water Bottle
Make bottled water a distant memory. Seriously, there is no need for it. It’s an environmental disaster. Do you need a video to drive the point home? Here:
If you can’t (or shouldn’t) drink your tap water (filtered or otherwise), then find a great supplier of 18 litre glass water bottles with a tank. Ideally, this is a company who comes back, picks them up, and refills the same bottles. If you can afford it, consider an Enagic water filter or something of similar quality to turn tap water into pristine drinking water. Either way, buy yourself an awesome stainless steel water bottle, to refill wherever you go.
Also, for you coffee-fiends (I am right there with you), buy yourself a travel mug. Fill it up at your favourite local beanery. It looks cool, and it’s reducing piles and piles of unnecessary waste.
And that’s all for now folks! That’s probably enough to keep you busy. Let us know if you have any great tips for reducing waste that have worked for you. And if you start doing any of the above, and notice a huge difference in how much garbage you are throwing out, please tell us your story in the comments!