5 Ways You Can Reduce Your Waste And Carbon Footprint Today
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5 ways You Can reduce Your waste And Carbon Footprint Today

You don't need to be an environmentalist to make an impact and reduce your carbon footprint.

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Edward Burtynsky

Whether you believe in climate change or not, there is no harm in helping keep the environment clean and minimize the waste that goes into landfills or the ocean. Single use plastic accounts for 50% of the plastic we use just to throw away. Not only are plastic products being dumped into the environment, organic garbage that can be composted accounts for 1,400 pounds per person in the United States. Making simple changes and putting in a tiny bit of effort can do more than you think to reverse our wasteful habits.

1. Get a reusable water bottle already.

My face when I see you drink from a plastic, single-use bottle.

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Seriously. This is the most basic and simple way to reduce waste. To meet the demands of the United States bottled war consumption is enough oil to fuel 1.3 million cars per year. There are thousands of selections among so many stores – grocery stores, Target, Walmart, Hot Topic, anywhere! You can get personalized water bottles with your name on it, bottles that represent your favorite TV shows or movies, ones with cute designs, etc. Some have straws, some expand or can be made smaller as you use them. Get. A. Reusable. Water. Bottle. You'll save money instead of buying individual plastic waters or sodas, and you will no longer contribute to the mass build-up of plastic bottles in landfills. Most of the bottles that you can buy even have insulation to keep your drinks hot or cold. It's a no brainer.

2. No more grocery bags.

The plastic bags you throw out are coming for revenge.

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No more plastic bags. No more paper bags. Most grocery stores sell plain canvas bags for one dollar. ONE DOLLAR. And you don't need that many – a surprising amount of groceries will fit in them. In fact, I only have four and can fit about $100 of groceries in mine. I keep my bags in the trunk of my car so I always have them, but even if I forget them at home it's so easy to buy one or two while I'm at the store. Stores like Urban Outfitters even give customers reusable bags when you purchase from their stores, and many other stores are opting for these canvas bags as well. Save them, use them for groceries or even when you shop at the mall. Skip the plastic bags!

3. Plastic utensils should be a thing of the past.

My guilt-free face when I eat with reusable utensils.

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Investing in silverware reduces plastic utensil waste and is more cost effective. While most homes and families use silverware, fast food or quick service restaurants only offer plastic utensils. It might be silly to carry a fork from your silverware drawer at home, but there are so many travel sized utensil kits that come in cute cases to fit in your purse or leave in your car, and you can find most of these kits for less than $10. Bring them to the beach or while you're out and about to use when you run into places that only offer plastic.

4. Stop using straws.

Avoid accidents like this and skip the straw.

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From the Ocean Conservancy organization, straws are one of the top ten items found in the ocean. If a waiter at a restaurant offers them you can politely decline or let them know you don't need a straw. For the most part, it really isn't necessary to drink from one but some people do need or prefer to. Whether it's for a disability or a preference, the environment will thank you if you opt for compostable straws or reusable ones. Plus, they're inexpensive! If you aren't convinced that something as small as a plastic straw can negatively impact the environment, watch this video of a turtle that was found with a straw stuck in its nose.

5. Compost!

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40% of residential waste is compostable. Use a bin or start a pile in your yard and start being more mindful of what you throw out. Most food and household "trash" can be composted to add nutrients to soil and benefit plant growth. Everything that you compost is less waste that ends up sitting in a landfill. If you aren't a gardener, that's no problem. There are plenty of people, organizations or local veggie farmers that would be happy to take compost because it's such a great, natural fertilizer (and it's free!). You can compost more than you think – fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, crushed egg shells, paper towels and napkins, crumbs, pizza boxes, rice, pasta, dryer lint, cotton fabric scraps, dust and much more! What you throw away as "waste" really does get wasted in a landfill when so much of it can go back to the environment.

Start being more mindful of wastefulness today. Skip single-use plastic as much as possible, compost your food scraps, recycle or reuse what you can, and share these simple tips!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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