In a time where over 50% of the United States’ waste is dumped in landfills (32.5% recycled and 12.5% burned), reducing waste is rightfully becoming a social initiative. At Grain4Grain, we believe in highlighting health, sustainability, and giving back, whether that be through community involvement, starting your own garden, or simply buying a reusable cup! We encourage you to take that first step in taking care of this beautiful planet we live on. Here are some quick and easy ways that I have used to reduce waste in a fun and customizable way–that won’t break your bank!
A great way to start reducing your daily waste amount is by purchasing a reusable cup. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker (like me), or love to stay hydrated by the nectar of the gods (H2O), or just find yourself constantly buying a beverage, go ahead and purchase yourself a cool and fun looking reusable cup! This way you are no longer buying and tossing away plastic cups and bottles! Amazon has hundreds of styles, and I know just about any retail store sells them, too. My favorite place to buy cups? Marshalls!
Task: Buy reusable cup
Benefit: Less plastic waste
2. Reusable Straw
This ties in with point number one perfectly. If you’ve been on social media this year at all– or just existing in society lately– then you’ve heard that “plastic straws are killing the turtles.” You know what? It’s so easy to reduce the use of plastic straws. Buy a reusable one. You can get silicone straws, metal straws, and even bamboo straws. These are awesome. I love my reusable straws! Every time you get coffee, or go to a restaurant, you will never have to ask for a straw again. Even better, anytime the barista forgets to give you a straw, you will have no reason to worry.Overall, the reusable straw is ideal for anyone that is constantly on the go and constantly needs a beverage. Also, you’re saving the turtles! What more can you ask for?
Task: Buy reusable straw
Benefit: Saving the turtles + reducing plastic waste
3. Reusable Food Containers
Reusable food containers… I am supposing everyone has these right? You know... Tupperware? The plastic stuff that Uncle Rico sells to middle class families in Napolean Dynamite? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. If you’re going out to eat, or if you’re going to get takeout, you can always ask them to put it in your handy dandy reusable containers. Why? To reduce waste, ya silly! Those cardboard, styrofoam, and even plastic containers you get from take-out restaurants don’t need to be wasted if you provide your own containers. I know you probably don’t want to be that person, but hey, if it helps save the planet and maintain a sustainable lifestyle, you have to be the change. Not just think about the change.
Task: Take reusable food containers for back-up (glass containers prefered)
Benefit: Reducing plastic, styrofoam, and cardboard waste
4. Reusable Tote Bag
This one is probably my favorite. Owning several reusable tote bags has saved my life. Not only is it extremely convenient for when you have a plethora of things to carry around on a daily basis, but also, you never have to ask for a shopping bag again. I don’t know about you, but my mother was the kind of mom to HOARD all the plastic shopping bags. From every trip. Can you imagine? I can, because I have to look at them anytime I’m in her pantry. And you best believe I was getting yelled at if I tried to throw them away as a kid. I get it; my mom was trying to reduce waste by saving those bags for further use. But you would never even have to use them in the first place if you brought reusable bags to the store. Also, there are so many different designs and styles you could go for. It’s worth it–trust me. Plus, you never know how good it makes you feel to reduce waste until you actually do it. It feels so good to say, “Oh, I don’t need a bag.” This also applies to clothes shopping, hardware shopping, or any shopping you could possibly do. It applies.
Task: Buy a cool reusable tote… or 10
Benefit: Never waste a shopping bag, grocery bag or anything bag again.
5. Buy Reusable Utensils
By this, I mean a set of utensils you can take with you everywhere. There are plenty of different variations available online: silicone, bamboo, or metal. Pick whichever is best for you. These are awesome for eating out, getting takeout, traveling, or anything really. Never use those crappy plastic sets again. You know, the ones with the napkin, salt and pepper wrapped up in shiny plastic. Yeah, you never need those again. Most sets come with a cool case to protect the utensils, and you can always carry around a cleaning towel for them as well. Also, you can totally use these at dine-in restaurants if you’re suspicious of the cleanliness of their silverware.
Task: Buy reusable utensils
Benefit: Never use plastic utensils again; and save yourself from dirty restaurant utensils.
6. Stop Buying Paper Towels
Use old towels instead! Just cut them into little squares, and stop buying paper towels. You don’t always need a paper towel to wipe up messes. Plus, paper towels waste paper, cardboard (paper also), and plastic in the process. Towels are reusable and washable. And if you have two old towels, you’re bound to get at least 20 small towels from them. This is such an easy fix and I promise, you will never miss those paper towels. Hey, also, you get to save money!
Task: Stop using paper towels
Benefit: Reduce paper + plastic waste & save money!
Start composting! Even if you don’t have a garden, composting instead of just throwing everything out helps build a sustainable lifestyle. If old food items are beneficial for the planet, don’t waste them on the landfills. Collect them daily and then donate them to a friend who loves gardening or owns a nursery! Either way, don’t waste those old produce items. They can help the world grow!
Task: Start composting
Benefit: Fertilizing the earth and helping out local nurseries!
8. Air Dry Clothes
This one is easy. Instead of using energy by throwing clothes into the dryer, go ahead and buy a good ol’ clothesline. Hang up your sheets, shirts and undies! Save energy and money. If you live in Texas, your clothes may actually dry faster by air drying them. (giggles). But anyway, trust the wind to dry your clothes. Not artificial air.
Task: Air dry clothes
Benefit: Save money, energy, and get cute pics of your DIY clothesline.
9. Turn Off Your Lights!
As a kid, this seemed so annoying. My parents would constantly yell at me to “turn off the lights if you’re not using them!” To me, I didn’t care. I understood, but I didn’t care. Now, as an adult, I care. Not only is it wasting electricity, it is also wasting money. If you aren’t in a room, turn off the lights. Even better, get lamps or LED Christmas lights to softly light your room, so you don’t have to use big energy wasters like incandescent bulbs.
10. Buy Grain4Grain Flour Mixes
Oh come on, you totally saw this coming. We are a sustainable food company; how could you think we weren’t gonna take this opportunity to self promote? Either way, it’s totally a great way to stay sustainable. We use 100% recycled spent grain that is leftover after the beer brewing process. This grain is full of barley, protein, fiber and low in carbs. By buying G4G Pancake and Waffle Mix and our Standard Flour Mix, you are reducing waste AND feeding those in need. We operate on a one-for-one (ONE4ONE) business model, which means for every pound of flour purchased, we donate a pound to those in need.
Task: Buy G4G products
Benefit: Reduce waste, increase the gains, feed the hungry
So, there you have it! Ten easy ways to live sustainably every day… or at least this is what I do. This list is super easy to accomplish and maintain and is a great way to start this new sustainability chapter of your life. Why not treat the planet with care? Why not reduce the TONS of waste that are accumulated every year in the United States alone. Why not be the change instead of just thinking about the change?
After I started taking steps to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I’m not going to lie, I started living a happier one. Reducing the amount of waste I created in my day-to-day life seriously improved my mood and mental state. I’m not throwing away as many things and I’m not constantly accumulating trash. The less clutter in my life, the happier I am. I challenge you to do at least one of the things on this list. Let’s help spread sustainability as a lifestyle, not just an idea.
Written by: Bronwyn Hartwig BBA