Small Steps We Can All Take To Throw Out Less Garbage

By Aakash M

Hopefully, almost everybody is aware of the alarmingly increasing amounts of waste and landfills. We have all been informed of the plastic issue. The good news is we can start making a difference because it isn’t too late, and there are numerous ways of reducing waste. The best way to start is by recycling and using biodegradable materials. There are also many other steps that we can take to ensure that we conserve our environment while also ensuring that our future generations enjoy living it. Many online stores educate people on the ways to reduce waste. But remember, it isn’t an all-or-nothing kind of thing. Start with one simple change. So, here we are, spreading the message and bringing you 45 savvy yet straightforward methods for reducing trash.

Potato care

Potatoes are a splendid source of carbs and fiber, and they also aid in weight loss because they make you feel full for a long time. So, this one is for our spud lovers. You need to know how to store them properly to prolong their shelflife.

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This hack is also probably the only exception to the “not storing fruits and veggies together” rule we’ve all heard. For example, storing potatoes with apples is excellent because they prevent potatoes from sprouting, thus helping them last longer than usual.

Go for it

Reducing wastage and recycling materials is fantastic for everybody. But, for those who are starting, always remember that you can start small. Baby steps are the key. So, you don’t have to sit back because you can’t do it on a big scale.

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Instead of focusing on the enormous changes you think you need to make, focus on what you can do daily to make a difference in the long run. Your efforts won’t go to waste even if there is no instant result. Every step is equally important.

No sponges

Sponges are essential for scrubbing dirt off your plate and other such things. However, we throw the old ones and bring new ones once we have used the sponges to the end of their lives. It is a never-ending cycle.

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So, instead of using sponges, use reusable hemp “unsponges” since they are made using biodegradable materials that don’t impact nature. Then, just like this one, almost every single item can be replaced with a nature-friendly alternative. This is a small change that will lead to more!

Make the transition

The bidet is by far one of the best inventions of all time. Those who don’t use one and those who don’t know what it is, Google it. You’ll instantly feel like getting one because they are so much better!

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Bidets are more hygienic, gentle, and a one-time investment! If you think your bath is too small for it, don’t worry. Bidets come in various sizes, so it shouldn’t be an issue. There will surely be a bidet ideal for your toilet.

Ditch the cotton pads

There are so many of us who buy and use cotton pads. They don’t cost too much and have so many uses. But, they are a one-time-use item that always goes to the trash after we’re done. There is a better alternative out there!

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Consider using reusable and washable cotton face pads. Now, for those who don’t fancy this type of pad, you can always use a washcloth or a face towel because they do an equally good job when it comes to washing the dirt off of your face.

Stock veggies

Don’t get us wrong. We are all pro-composting since there isn’t anything wrong with it. But, here comes our million-dollar question. If we can use vegetable scraps before composting them, wouldn’t it be so much better? There is enough other stuff to compost after all!

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So, here is what you can do. Instead of buying vegetable stock in the supermarket, consider throwing your scraps in a pot for a healthy soup base. Then, after eating it, you can always put any leftovers in the compost!

Fresh herbs

We discussed how you could prevent your herbs from wilting soon. Now, let’s talk about how you can revive them. Firstly, do not throw them away, because there’s a lot you can do with them other than garnishing your meals.

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An ice bath will inject life into the herbs. First, cut off the stems and remove the damaged and bruised parts. Submerge them in it for around half an hour, after which, pat them dry with a kitchen towel. Then, put the herbs in the salad spinner and store them in an airtight container for freshness.

Strawberry hack

Strawberries have numerous health benefits, from lowering blood pressure to increasing good cholesterol and many other things. The best part is that they are tasty and adorable (we love this about them). So, if you need fruit in your diet, it’s this one.

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What if we told you it’s possible to increase the life of these strawberries? You only need to wash them in diluted vinegar instead of washing them in regular water like people always do. Soaking them in this way will help extend their life for more than two weeks.

Gradually giving up meat

Around 80-90% of our population has eaten or still eats meat. According to research, the world would see a 70% decrease in carbon dioxide-related food emissions if the existing meat-eating population went vegan. We’re not saying go all the way this second, of course!

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Going vegan is helpful, and making the change slowly is the best way because it’s not quite possible to quit the meat-eating lifestyle instantly. Start by reducing meat consumption. Then, switch some amount of animal products with veggies. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say.

Useful water

There are two types of people. The first are those who rarely eat rice, and then there are the others who always need rice with their meals. Whichever group you belong to, it is best to know this hack. Before cooking rice, you need to rinse it, but don’t toss the water.

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You can use that water for many purposes, like watering plants. It’s way better than plain water because it will provide the plants with more nutrients. So, don’t waste the nutritious water. Instead, use it wisely and get rewarded by mother nature.

Science says

Often, we don’t pay much heed to where we put our groceries. We toss things in our fridges, hoping to slow down the ripening process. But, there is some science behind storing your produce. Knowing these tricks can save you from tossing rotten lettuce.

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That’s right. Many people collectively store the fruits and veggies together, but you shouldn’t do that. It is because fruits produce a gas that hastens the ripening process. So our advice is to start keeping them separate from each other!

Lemon freeze

Somebody put it correctly when saying that when life gives us lemons, we should make lemonade. But, what should you do when life literally gives you a lot of lemons, and you can only make so much lemonade for yourself? They might turn bad!

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Here’s what you should do. First, juice the lemons and freeze them. So, instead of wasting some great lemons and throwing them away when they go bad, you’ll have a yearly supply of lemon juice. Also, this can save you some cash.

Reduce plastic usage

As mentioned above, plastic usage has a significant impact on the environment. A lot of waste has already accumulated, and more of it is being made every day. So, let’s do our bit by reducing the amount we use in our daily lives.

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Here is a straightforward hack. Refrain from buying products stored in plastic containers. Instead of purchasing sauces, nut butter, or anything of that sort packaged in plastic, purchase the ones that come in glass jars instead. These jars are reusable, so it’s a win-win!

Save your onions

Onions are among the most essential ingredients in the kitchen. We can’t think of a savory dish that isn’t made better with onions. Honestly, it’d be pretty strange without them. Sadly, it is also why people stock up on onions, which leads to spoilage.

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You can’t only prevent this from happening, but you can also prolong its life. First, store the onions in old pantyhose since they can do more than protect your feet. Keeping onions in old tights will allow them to last for as long as eight months.

Go rechargeable

These days, we use many electronic products powered by batteries of different sizes. However, here is a way to save money and mother nature. Don’t use single-use batteries. Instead, use rechargeable ones. Haven’t heard of them yet? Happy to bear the good news!

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They do cost more comparatively, but these are a one-time investment. These are best in the long run, and you’ll save a lot of money. You wouldn’t even have to rush to the store each time you run out of batteries. You only need to recharge them.

Eat in order

As mentioned before, most of us buy more food than required, and then it often spoils, leading to wastage. So, think of all the money that goes in the trash with the food. So, here is what you could do instead

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You can prevent throwing food away by apparently having an “Eat me first” container in the fridge. You only need to sort the foods and put those in that container that will spoil first. It will also be a reminder for everybody to eat their veggies.

Rags to riches

When you wear your clothes frequently, they get worn out. Even if they aren’t nice enough to be donated, don’t just throw them out when they get old. Instead, give them new life by turning them into rags. That means you won’t need to buy cleaning rags either.

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Start by cutting your old clothes into small pieces and use them for wiping windows, polishing, and other such tasks. You’ll be saving the money, and you’ll also be doing nature a favor by reusing things. This might be the simplest hack!

Teabag hack

Teabags aren’t entirely bad, but there are better ways to enjoy tea if you wish to help the environment, which is the duty of every individual. You can switch to purchasing tea infusers for loose tea bags since they even cost less.

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If you still want to stick to tea bags, consider using cloth versions because they are washable. Although it is a minor tweak, it still matters, and always remember to start from within if you want to bring a change.

Winning the bread

Here’s a tip. Don’t throw the stale bread away. If you never thought twice about it, here is your wake-up call. Don’t worry if your rolls are just a little dry because you can still inject some life into the bread. You only need to run it under the tap.

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After you do that, put it in the oven at 200°C. Then, it’ll be as fresh as baked. You can also freeze the bread since it’ll retain its freshness and will allow you to reheat them into a crispy snack at a later time.

The 2 R’s

We know that disposables are light and convenient to use, but their impact on our lives and environment is not ignorable. Honestly, there are numerous sustainable alternatives out there. This might not be a convenient hack, but it’s definitely not difficult.

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So, do your part by opting for reusable and recyclable items. For instance, a spoon, a mug, or anything of that sort can go a long way in helping you save money and help the environment in the long run.

Protect the superfood

Kale is highly popular because of its health benefits. Because it has Vitamins A, K, C, B6, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, and many other nutrients, it’s considered a superfood. It has recently gained popularity, and it is from the cabbage family.

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Just like other foods, if you’ve bought a lot of kale and it’s starting to go bad, revive it by cutting its stems, putting it into some water, and into the fridge. It’s better than composting, and after some hours, the kale will have a new lease on life!

Cut the paper towels

Paper towels have been one of the most widely used things in the kitchen for a very long time. They are useful when you need to clean up a mess. But, if you want to produce more paper towels, you need to cut more trees.

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So, reducing our paper towel usage, and finding alternatives, is another step we can all take. For instance, you can use washcloths. They are even better because they don’t fall apart when wet. What’s better is that you can reuse and rewash them.

Say no to plastic toothbrushes

We must gently suggest that it’s time to change your toothbrush from plastic ones to those made using biodegradable materials. It will make a lot of difference, and as mentioned earlier, it is a significant baby step that you can take to reduce waste.

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You read that right. A plastic toothbrush will take around 500 years to break down. Therefore, imagine its impact on the environment. Instead, consider using the bamboo ones since they are readily available, and they only take a few months to break down.

Switch to LED

Apart from air, food, and water, we also can’t seem to live without electricity. It has almost changed everything and taken comfort to a new level. Therefore, it has also greatly improved the quality of life. We can’t imagine life without it!

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Earlier, incandescent light bulbs were used, but it’s now time to switch to LED since they are more energy-efficient and have a better lifespan. Let us say that this is only the tip of the iceberg of their numerous environment-friendly advantages.

No plastic packaging

We have discussed the benefits of the bidet and how it’s better than toilet paper, but still, if you want to stick to what you’re used to, here is another step to follow. Always opt for non-plastic packaging while buying toilet paper.

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Many companies are innovating and are seeking the environment-friendly way. So, toilet paper is no longer only available in plastic packaging. So, check your local stores to find the TP stored in cardboard boxes. It’s recyclable. Therefore, no wastage problems.

Avocado hack

We all love avocados, don’t we? The flesh is indeed green, but once it reacts with oxygen, it starts turning brown, which we try to avoid at all costs. But, worry not! There’s a pretty great way to prevent the whole situation.

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It’s simple. Slice the avocados only when you’re just about to eat them. However, squeeze some lemon juice on it if you can’t help it and need to slice it early. It’ll prevent the flesh from going brown. Time to enjoy some avocado toast!

Almond milk vs. oat milk

We have been drinking cow milk, putting it in our cereal, and using it for many other purposes for a long time. We can say that it has been going on for multiple generations. But, it’s time to consider plant-based options and opt for plant-based milk, considering the environmental impact of cow milk.

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Some types are more sustainable than others. For example, almond milk is great for people on a vegan diet. However, almond orchards hurt bees, an essential part of our ecosystem. It also needs a lot of water for cultivation. So, oat milk is a more sustainable option in this case.

Toothpaste controversy

Toothpaste is essential because it helps clean our mouths, so imagining a world without it is an unpleasant thought. What’s alarming is that there has been a lot of controversy regarding how toothpaste is packaged. People think there isn’t a need to put the toothpaste tubes in cartons since the tube provides ample protection. 

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People also say that they shouldn’t be put in plastic at all, let alone be double packaged. Glass packaging is better. You’ll save money (because you can reuse the jars as containers) and help the environment by switching to a different alternative or making your own toothpaste.

Pro-glass containers

One of the most incredible benefits of glass is that it’s recyclable. It can be reshaped and reused numerous times. It is, therefore, widely used for many products. So, the next time you buy anything, look for an option packaged in glass.

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Just like we should avoid using toothpaste in plastic tubes, we should similarly avoid purchasing other products in plastic packaging. The earlier we take a step, the more significant the impact. Follow these steps and also educate others about them!

Bamboo > plastic

Flossing reduces many teeth problems, removes food build-up, and leaves you feeling fresher. If you do not floss, it’s excellent for your gums and teeth. But we won’t tell you what to do. We also want to say something else.

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The floss you find in supermarkets, however, are in plastic packaging, and they are also made of plastic. So, you should floss your teeth, but with those made of bamboo, silk, or other environment-friendly materials. Who knew There were so many small changes we could make?!

Ziplock bags aren’t the best

Ziplock bags are great for food because all you need to do is toss your snacks in there and go. Sadly, these bags are made from plastic, and it is helpful and convenient for you, but not so helpful and convenient for the environment.

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Consider transitioning to reusable snack bags. They come in various colors, sizes and are widely available these days. They are great for all snacks, and you can wash them when they are dirty. They’ll be ready to use the next time!

Soap bars over liquid soaps

We have mentioned there are always a lot of questions about the need for double packaging products. One of the big culprits is soap. Think about all those tiny handsoap dispensers made of plastic, wrapped in plastic. There are other options!

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Switching from liquid soap to bars really helps reduce waste. (When we talk about soap bars, we are talking about the unpackaged ones and not those that also come in double packaging.) They are equally resourceful and are environmentally friendly.

Lunch solution

Saving money is something we all want to do and are always talking about. Yet, very few of us take the essential steps. Now, many of us pack our food for the office. The easiest food is a sandwich because it is easy to eat at your desk.

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These sandwiches are often packed in sandwich bags. But they are still made of plastic and do not last long even if reused, so consider getting a reusable version. If not that, try tiffin boxes made of biodegradable materials.

Brief showers

Long showers are the best because it’s great to think about stuff or sing a song in such a comfortable environment. Honestly, long showers are a great way to waste water. If you can clean up in five minutes, there’s no point in staying there for ten.

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It is true. You will save 25 gallons of water on average by reducing your shower time from ten to five minutes. That amount of water is enough for an aquarium! So you can save water by taking shorter showers.

Save your herbs

Herbs enhance the taste of our dishes, and they have numerous other purposes, like making soaps, tinctures for ailments, etc. However, they lose their freshness pretty quickly. Sometimes, we throw out whole bunches that sat forgotten in our fridge.

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You can stop that from happening by chopping the herbs and freezing/drying them instantly. Also, you can freeze them in oil before they start to wilt. It takes very little to save your favorite herbs. So, why not give it a try?

Skip the trends

Trends change every few minutes, it feels. That’s why they are called trends. Businesses take advantage of the moment to influence customers to spend more money buying their “cool” products. The fancy water bottle trend is one such fad that has little basis.

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Every few months, there is a new product with cutting-edge technology, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessary for everybody. So, instead of buying a new and unusable water bottle, reuse the one you already have until it really can’t be used anymore.

Preserving veggies

We often go to the grocery store full of enthusiasm for our new healthy eating plan. Thus, we buy a lot of things we end up forgetting about, leading to spoiled food. Now, if you buy carrots and celery, here’s how you can prevent them from going bad.

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Cutting them and storing them in a jar of water will increase their lives. Celery will last up to two weeks, and carrots will live up to a month! It’s crazy, isn’t it? You’ll save money, time, and food with this hack while also reducing waste.

We’ve never heard of wooden highlighters before

We often use highlighters to organize our work notes. If you don’t do it now, you definitely used them when studying a textbook when you were a student. People use plastic highlighters, and we hadn’t seen any other option until now.

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Now, there are wooden highlighters on the market, which are sustainable, and overall, a better alternative. We are glad we found out about their existence because we, for one, will absolutely use wooden highlighters instead of plastic ones from now on.

Damp tea towel to the rescue

For those who like to bulk buy when they shop, you should remember that the reason you go grocery shopping is to buy a realistic amount of fresh produce. It should be the amount you can consume because if it exceeds that, it’ll get wasted.

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We have given many examples of how to avoid wasting food. Now, if you have a lot of leafy greens, more than you can consume, then wrap them loosely in a damp tea towel for prolonging their delicious, crispy freshness.

Wrapping sensibly

With Christmas on the way, there will surely be many giving and receiving gifts. Therefore, it is a must to talk about wrapping presents. We must not increase wastage, and we can save a lot on that wrapping paper we use once a year.

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Instead of buying new paper, you can save the old wrapping paper and reuse it whenever you need it. You can reuse it for as long as you want, and you will always be contributing to bettering the environment! 

Saving the world, but one step at a time

Body odor is simply unpleasant. Nobody wants to stand next to someone who smells, and you also wouldn’t want to be the one people are avoiding. So we all love our deodorant. But, they come in plastic containers, which is not the best. However, we have another option for you.

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Instead of buying the same old stuff, you can purchase body deodorants packed in biodegradable items. They are widely available now. They’ll indeed be a bit costly, but consider the minimal extra cost as your contribution to saving the world.

Safe cleaning products

Maintaining a home, keeping it clean at all times is a full-time job, and it becomes more hectic when you have children. So, homemakers work very hard. Now, you also should be careful with the chemicals in cleaning products which could affect your health.

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Detergents are great for cleaning, but we have something better. Consider using a mixture of baking soda, white vinegar, and essential oils. We must tell you that it’s an all-purpose cleaner that is safe and highly efficient. It really gets the job done!

No plastic bottles

This article has talked mainly about and focused on plastic packaging and its negatives. Most shops have liquid detergents in plastic packaging, and again, we know what happens with these plastic bottles. We are lucky to live in a world of online shopping.

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Everything is at our fingertips. Therefore it is better to go for plastic-free laundry detergent. These are easily available, thanks to our modern way of doing things, and many big companies are switching. So, do nature a favor and switch to an environment-friendly alternative.

Mini shampoo bars

Shampoo does a great job of cleaning our hair thoroughly. Now, everybody needs it, and those with long hair probably feel like they depend on it. But we are here to show you an alternative to the plastic packaged version.

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Mini shampoo bars are a great alternative. Although they are new, they are gaining a lot of popularity with every passing day. Consider the plastic waste reduction these will lead to. There’s nothing to throw away! You, too, can join this movement.