Humans are doing some pretty serious damage to the planet; and for most of us, that’s really hard to swallow. To counter this, there are a lot of inspiring actions happening the world over. Governments are stopping new Oil Exploration (NZ oh yea!) and there are individuals successfully working towards Zero Waste. But with the rest of life continuing around us, we can’t all be these people....
Reducing your waste doesn’t have to be as hard as donating your weekends to beach clean ups, and throwing away your favourite hobbies and foods. The simplest steps to reducing your waste can be the most effective. If everyone in the world took these on board, we’d have much less of a problem.
Photo by Hermes Rivera on Unsplash
If reducing your waste is new to you… here’s how to start:
1. Say no
“No straw please”, “I’ll just carry it”, “I’m fine without a bag thank you”, and “No receipt needed”, are music to the planet’s ears! Being conscious of what you need and what you take for granted, will open your eyes to the products you can go without.
Some drinks come with straws as simply decoration, and the checkout attendants automatically put anything into a plastic bag, even if there’s only one item. Mindless, pointless waste is a major cause of our littler problems, and one simple sentence uttered out of a collective group of mouths, would be world changing.
Photo by Isaiah Rustad on Unsplash
ACTION 1: Make a reminder on your phone (a new screen saver?) that tells you to remember to refuse straws, bags, and disposable coffee cups. Talk about it with your peers so that they hold you accountable (and get on board themselves!).
ACTION 2: Order your 'no plastic' while ordering your drink or putting items through the checkout. "Can I please have an Orange Juice with no straw?" "How are you? No bags with my stuff today thanks" works wonders.
2. Use Reusables
If we had a dollar for every time we heard someone say, “But I always forget my Reusable Bags”. It's a simple change to daily habits. Remembering to use your CaliWoods straw when you’re having a cocktail, proudly taking out your KeepCup for your morning coffee, and remembering to bring your reusable carry bags to the shops, can become as automatic as brushing your teeth in the morning. You’ll struggle at first, but persistence and constant reflection of why you are doing it, will make it so easy that you forget to think about it.
ACTION 1: Invest in a few staple reusable items such as the CaliWoods smoothie straw, an epic KeepCup, and a glamorous drink bottle you won’t ever forget. Put post-it-notes on your dash board, in your wallet, or on your phone, reminding you to bring these things with you.
ACTION 2: Have ultimatums with yourself - no cup with you = no coffee.
3. Reduce your food waste
Supermarkets are waste central. You’ll find plastic wrapped fruit, individually packaged chips, and sometimes even gladwrap around bananas! We all have a lot to learn from ‘Zero Waste’- a lifestyle where you live and consume without waste. Suddenly adopting this lifestyle is not sustainable. You’ll only feel defeated and give up. Making gradual changes is a sustainable way to slowly move closer to zero waste, and make your waste-minimising habits second nature.
Photo by Anne Preble on Unsplash
ACTION 1: Choose one meal a month. Focus on this meal and how you can reduce your waste. Once you feel comfortable that you’ve happily removed or reduced the waste associated with it, move onto another. For example, begin with your breakfast. If you usually have cereal, try to find an alternative at a bulk food store, or make your own. Once you’ve comfortably built this into your everyday habits and do it mindlessly, move onto your lunch.
ACTION 2: Thinking about shopping outside of supermarkets and hit up local Farmers Markets and Bulk Food Stores. You can buy food without packaging if you know where to look! Our Bulk Food Shopping Guide is coming soon so stay tuned.
4. Dispose of your waste responsibly
Separating your waste sounds simple, but it’s often overlooked. Composting your organic waste is one of the single most effective actions you can take to tread lighter on the earth. This is because any food waste sent to landfill doesn't brake down in the anaerobic (no oxygen) conditions of a landfill and releases methane - a potent greenhouse gas.
Do you know what the recycling symbols and numbers mean? Or do you just throw it in the waste bin? Out of sight, out of mind, is not an excuse when it comes to disposing your waste. You have a responsibility to manage your own footprint on the planet, and throwing your waste into a separate bin is simple when you have the systems set up for it.
Photo by Eddie Kopp on Unsplash
ACTION 1: Read up on the recycling codes here. Invest in separate bins for your recycling, waste, compost, and soft plastics.
ACTION 2: Set up an epic composting system at home! We LOVE our Hungry Bin and there are plenty of other options out there. Some areas are now also doing a curbside compost collection. If you are space restricted consider bokashi systems, and team up with someone who would appreciate some extra nutritious soil.