Less Waste, One Step at a Time
January 16, 2023 | Christine Hradek
During this same week of 2021, I wrote a blog about my efforts to use fewer single-use plastic products at home. I didn’t like the idea of these products building up in the landfill nor did I like the idea of spending money on something that is meant to be thrown out. I focused on trying to cut back on using zip-top bags. I tried to use reusable bags and containers where I could and set the goal to use just one box of zip-top bags over the course of a whole year. In the first year, I made it about 10 months before I ran out. I am glad to say I can now meet that goal easily; it has become a habit. For context, I am the only person who lives in my house.
I have taken a few more steps to ‘up my game’ beyond just cutting down on the zip-top bags. I looked at the other ways I was using single-use plastic that ended up in the trash. Two big culprits for me were small plastic containers for dip or salad dressing in my lunch and plastic spoons and forks. I generally take my lunch to work and I found myself using these items pretty often. Switching to reusable containers for dressing and dip was a pretty easy swap, the containers are little steel cups with a tight lid that each holds 2 ounces. I got six of them for about $10.00. The silverware was a bit more difficult. I tried to remember to put a fork or spoon in my lunch bag each day, but whenever I forgot I ended up with a plastic one from my cabinet at work. So, I decided to get tough on myself and once the little box at work was gone, I did not replace it. Instead, I spent $2.00 on a bundle of mismatched silverware from my local thrift store. I now keep that at work. When I have to use one, I just wash it and put it back.
It can feel a bit overwhelming trying to live in a more sustainable way that produces less waste, but these small steps have helped me feel like I am working toward that goal. What things have you tried to reduce waste in your home? Share with us in the comments or on our Facebook page!