First steps to reduce waste

Young female choosing dairy products in supermarket

Laura is a standard Millennial. She barely opens her eyes and already takes out her mobile. Instagram, Facebook, WhatsApp, an overview of the news… and she is ready to get up. Take a shower to wake up, get ready and leave home. Returning to the office after Covid-19 lockdown was a relief, but with today’s Dublin chill, she only wanted to stay home.

She walks in long strides (almost running) to have enough time to stop for coffee. She does not see the slightest possibility of starting a productive day without it. She asks for a latte and a scone, pays, thanks and hurries on.

Laura arrived at the office just in time. Greet colleagues and take another peek on Instagram while waiting for the computer to turn on. Then, she chooses a podcast and drinks her coffee while reading emails.

There is always a reusable water bottle on the table. For notes, she uses a notebook with recyclable sheets that has a Greenpeace sticker on the cover. Outraged at colleagues who take new plastic cups with each dose of water or coffee, she filled her reusable bottle and, with the recycled notebook in the background, posted her morning’s Instagram story: “Small habits make big differences. #sustainablelifestyle”.

Laura had to hide her cup of coffee to take the photo, but OK, the message is still valid. At least she does not use 10 plastic cups a day as John, she thinks.

Such as much of her generation, Laura is up-to-date, has access to all kind of information and some environmental awareness. She values ​​a healthier lifestyle, although it costs her a lot to work out and give up sugar.

When it comes to sustainability, Laura considers herself more aware than most of the people around her but recognizes that there is still a long way to go. After all, the consumption of coffee in disposable cups is a serious problem for our planet, however, even having this knowledge, it ends up being more comfortable to ignore. She says to herself “I have to change this” for years, but she has not taken a step in this direction yet.

This article was made for all Lauras and Johns (why not?) that need a little push to have a more sustainable lifestyle.

Check out some uncomplicated first steps to get started:

1. Reduce your consumption

Young female choosing dairy products in supermarket

Buying items that are not really needed and that sooner or later will be discarded is a common habit that contributes to the increase in the rate of the waste. Therefore, reducing consumption is one of the most effective ways to reach Zero Waste.

Reflect on your lifestyle, allow yourself to consume only what is needed and in a sustainable way.

2. Shop in local and refill stores

Closeup, Hands of woman scoop quinoa grains from clean refillable container in beautiful small business refill station. Healthy living, environmental friendly and zero waste lifestyle concept.

Increasingly common around the world, refill shops, like Greener Grocer, were designed to reduce waste by encouraging the use of reusable packagings, such as cloth bags and glass jars for transporting products.

In addition to not selling products in plastic packaging, this type of store tends to prioritize the purchase of items from local producers, which also reduces pollution generated in transport while supporting these local producers.

3. Use reusable packaging

Various food supplies including grains, condiments, tomato sauce, oil in glass bottles and jars, dry pasta, canned produce on kitchen table. Sustainability concept. Horizontal orientation

If the product is not in bulk, choose those that come in reusable packaging, avoiding materials such as plastic and Styrofoam.

4. Always carry your own bottles, glasses, and cutleries with you

Creative top view, zero waste packed lunch kit, takeaway lunch box set on cotton bag, organizer of bamboo cutlery, reusable box and bamboo cup. Sustainable lifestyle, flat layout on craft paper.

Disposable cups, bottles, and cutleries are big problems for the environment. In addition to increasing the amount of waste that is unlikely to be recycled, these materials end up in rivers and seas.

5. Separate the garbage

hand holding plastic handles dump into trash

If you are not yet at a Zero Waste society level of sustainability, separate the garbage correctly and give each of them a proper destination.

Click here to know more about how to separate the waste properly for recycling.

We were educated about the importance of recycling waste, but today we know that the ideal is not to produce it, recycling the little we discard.

We know that the first steps towards significant changes in this direction are not only a difficulty for Laura, but for many of us. To reduce waste, it is necessary, first, to change our mentality and habits. Even though the world is far from being Zero Waste, reducing waste production is possible and ESSENTIAL! The results in our family life after taking the first steps are encouraging. Why do not start today?

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