Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: A Three Part Series; Part 1- Reduce

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I have had an overwhelming amount of engagement from my Instagram followers today, and it sparked a flow of thoughts. Yes, it may have started from me sharing that I used a glass Tito’s Vodka Shooter as a salad dressing container at lunch today, but it led me to the idea that the smallest things that people don’t think about make a difference when it comes to reducing, reusing, and recycling.

You’ve heard the saying: reduce, reuse, recycle. And I’m here to break it down for you. As I have shifted myself to a more conscious consumer, I constantly think about these three little words.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Did you know that they are in that order for a reason? It shows us the best option first, then leads us down the line to less effective means of reducing our waste.

In this three part series, I will break down what each word means to me, as well as give  tips that I have personally learned on my journey to consciously consumer. So let’s take a closer look:

Reduce:

It means consciously making decisions to buy or gather less stuff.

This doesn’t mean you have to give up on buying things that you enjoy. Sometimes the smallest decisions can make an impact and indirectly causes you to reduce your material purchases.

My Food Tips:

Go Plant Based:

This is what I started this whole blog on. Eating (even just part-time) plant-based helps indirectly reduce many things such as greenhouse gases, as well as food that is meant for animals that humans consume. Don’t know where to start? How about here? 

Eat Whole Foods:

Going vegan doesn’t always mean that you are automatically a sustainable eater. Eating whole foods usually means that you are buying less packaged items, which is less (usually plastic) waste.

Buy Fruits and Veggies:

Whole pears> pears in a can. Not only are they more fresh, but they also come in nature’s package. Make sure to consciously choose when shopping.

Shop Local:

Farmer’s Markets are the best possible way to get fresh produce because it’s traveled less distance, and usually isn’t shipped in excessive packaging. Not to mention you are helping local businesses and farmers.

Bulk up:

I’ve said it like a million times on here and even have some tips on buying bulk. It helps you consume less packaging.

Make Your Own Food:

This is basically a two-fer. The past week, I have been making my own lunches and haven’t eaten out, and it has led to more money in my pocket and less trash in the wastebasket. Doesn’t mean you have to give up eating out. Choose restaurants that have actual dishes rather than to-go wrapping.

My Material Good Tips:

Refuse:

The lesser know brother of the three R’s. Refusing is the first step to have less waste. Yeah free stuff at booth fairs is great, but I try to restrict my take-home items to pens  and chapstick (don’t have to buy new from a store in plastic packaging). But relate this to your own needs, and only take exactly what you absolutely need.

Thrift shop:

While it’s technically recycling old goods, it causes me to reduce my amount of new purchases. And also I want to plug thrift shopping in wherever I can. I usually limit myself to only buying one or two items at a time to keep my wardrobe filled with things that I ABSOLUTELY LOVE, instead of random stuff I never wear.

Paperless Bills

Okay most of the mail that we get is from previous renters (CHANGE YOUR ADDRESS FOR YOUR BANKS PEEPS). One way to cut down waste is by switching to online payments so that companies don’t bill you via mail

BYOU

Okay, I want you to BE YOU, but also this is Bring Your Own Utensil. It seems like a small step, but by keeping a set of a knife, spoon, and fork both in my purse and in my car, I have refused many plastic forks. And yes, even when I indulge in Chipotle, I bring my own fork so I don’t have to take the plastic one.

Think Twice About Buying Online

It hurts to order something online when I open it and it’s surrounded by packing peanuts, plastic, and bubble wrap. So check your local stores first before buying too much online. When you can’t buy secondhand (like beauty products and such), definitely check stores like TJMaxx and Ross for cheap and passed-along goods.

 

While there are many more things, I want you to realize that everyday is filled with choices. And you have the power to control your actions. Conscious consuming is just that. It takes a little bit of thinking, but once you make it a habit, it’ll be easier and easier to make good decisions for you, your peers, your wallet, and the earth.

Stay tuned next week for my thoughts and tips on reusing.

What small changes are you making to reduce the waste you produce?

Your full-time plant eater,

AJ

 

 

 

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