Tips for reducing waste

Article by Jenny Holt

Eliminate Packaging Reduce Household Waste

Household trash is one of the biggest sources of waste. Of the total waste generated in the US, roughly 58% ends up in landfills with the rest being recycled. There is still a lot of room for improvement when it comes to waste reduction and reusing or recycling everyday items as well as industrial byproducts, waste, and materials.There is no doubt, if waste materials are reduced and green or environmentally friendly services utilized, then we can stem if not turn around our growing problem.

Packaging is a Culprit

To understand the context of recycling, it is useful to start at the source of waste. Waste generation is seen as the inefficient employment of resources that could otherwise be put to other uses. Eurostat statistics (May 2016) show that paper and cardboard account for 41% of packaging, glass 20%, plastic 19%, wood 15% and metal 6%. On average, packaging waste per inhabitant in a year in the EU 28 is 156.9 kg.

In the US, packaging accounts for nearly a third of household waste. Household waste disposal has many negative effects on the health, environment and financial resources. Introducing simple practices and lifestyle changes not only reduce a consumer’s packaging footprint, but also save money.

Patronize Zero-Waste Grocery Shops

In Europe, there are already several supermarkets that sell products without packaging. Germany holds the distinction as the first zero-waste grocery store in the world. Original Unverpackt or Original Unpackaged does not carry brand names and opted for organic products. These are stocked in shelves including grains, fruits and veggies. In addition to shopping bags, you also have to bring your own containers for the food you buy including milk and shampoo. Today, several shops of this type popped across Europe and in the US.

Buy Loose Products

Avoid buying pre-packaged products including fruits and vegetables. Not only will you save money and reduce waste, you will also be able to select the best produce and throw less away.

Reuse Packaging Parts

Whenever possible, reuse packaging components such as paper and plastic bags, wrapping paper, boxes, silica gels and similar items.

Avoid Buying Products in Non-Reusable Containers

If you must buy bottled water, refrain from buying those in plastic bottles. Water in glass bottles is a better option since you can return them to the grocery when you buy new ones.

Go Fresh

Whenever you can, purchase fresh produce and avoid tinned products to reduce packaging waste. Not only is it a healthier option, but you will also save money since you now have to plan your purchases better, buying only what you need to eliminate wastage. A UK study in 2013 revealed that 12 million tons of food is wasted each year with an equivalent value of £19 billion. If every consumer makes an effort to reduce packaging waste, disposal costs are lower, carbon emissions are improved, money is saved and environmental impact is minimized.