2 Easy Ways to Reduce Waste Without Going 100% Zero Waste

by Simplify

Many people have an all-or-nothing attitude when it comes to living a sustainable lifestyle. When becoming “Zero Waste” seems too intimidating, they completely give up on reducing their waste.

But that’s really a mistake. The zero waste movement needs a small group of committed activists at the helm, but a large group of people who only reduce their waste slightly is just as important.

If an average person has 1,000 pounds of waste a year and 5000 people who embrace the zero waste lifestyle cut their waste by 90 percent each, that would divert 4.5 million pounds of garbage from landfills.

That’s a huge number - until you think about what would happen if 1 million people made small changes and reduced only 10 percent of their waste each - that would divert 100 million pounds of garbage from landfills!

So if you’ve been hesitant about beginning to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle because you’re not sure you can commit all the way, these tips are for you.

How to reduce waste

Switch to reusables

Instead of plastic, bring your own reusable grocery bags with you when you go shopping, or reuse the plastic grocery bags that you already have.

When you’re at the supermarket, buy produce loose, instead of putting it in plastic produce bags.

Avoid bottled water: If water quality is an issue, consider installing a filter if you can, rather than drinking water from plastic bottles. If you do use plastic bottles, consider reusing them a few (but not too many) times before recycling them.

Find alternative products

Look at the packaged products that appear most often in your garbage or recycling bin, and try to find package-free alternative products. For example, maybe you can buy unpackaged lettuce.

Additionally, you can try to swap out plastic packaging for metal or glass packaging, by, for example, seeing if your beverage of choice is available in glass bottles or metal cans instead of plastic bottles.

Ways to reduce waste

By making some small, easy changes you can have a big impact on the environment and lead a more sustainable lifestyle.

For more ideas for reducing waste, discover these easy zero-waste swaps or these ugly-but-practical sustainability hacks.

To see more videos, check out the Exploring Alternatives YouTube channel.

Join the conversation
2 of 3 comments
  • Viv51133651 Viv51133651 on Dec 11, 2022

    Grew up re using ! Remember using the waxed paper from cereal to wrap sandwich’s .always wash foil to reuse.a lot of reuse is laziness

  • Linda Hill Linda Hill on Dec 07, 2023

    Nothing new. I was looking for original ideas on up cycling the increasing amount of plastic included with ordinary groceries or products. I was hoping you had researched this problem. Given the choice, I always buy glass instead of plastic. Maybe do more homework, then reach out again.