3 min read

Everything I do to reduce my waste (that I forgot to mention last time)

A man throwing out a piece of paper
Photo by Gary Chan / Unsplash

Having déjà vu from this headline? You're not going crazy. Last week, I made and sent a big list of everything I've done to reduce my personal waste over the past year. If you missed it, give it a read right here. But since then, I've remembered and gotten reminded of even more things!

So here's part two of all the ways I've reduced my waste over the past year, in no particular order.

Stasher Bags: Like Ziploc bags, but better in every way. Stasher Bags are made of silicone and reusable, colorful, dishwasher safe, and fulfill all my kitchen storage needs that the tupperware can't handle.

Minimalism and buying less: I survived out of a single 50-liter backpack for 2.5 months last summer, and felt that I brought too much. Beleive it or not, having less stuff can often be more fulfilling and helps you focus on what's meaningful. Granted, I have more than a backpack now, but buying less stuff means less eventual waste as well.

Skipping the produce bags: Unfortunately, a lot of fruits and veggies come pre-wrapped in plastic here in New York. But when they don't or I'm shopping elsewhere, I rarely use a plastic produce back and instead opt to simply put the item in my cart naked. I'm washing it anyways when I get home, so I don't see the point in sticking it in a bag for a 10-minute trip home.

Choosing "ugly" fruits and veggies: I mentioned Misfits Market last week, who together with Impossible Foods rescues ugly produce and sends it to your home. The reality is that the ugly apple will rarely get chosen at the grocery store, but it tastes exactly the same. When I think of it, I choose a wonky piece of fruit knowing that I'm likely saving it from the dumpster (AKA I'm a hero).

Reusable spork: This exact $5 foldable and reusable spork has been my life saver. I've taken it to Israel, France, around the US, and basically everywhere I go. Getting food to go? Whip out the spork. Cooking in a hostel? Spork time. Having your own utensil that takes up virtually no space or weight comes in clutch when fighting against single-use plastic forks and spoons.  

Saying no to free swag and samples: It's free, so why not take it? Because I'm never going to use it again.

Waiting a week or two before making a purchase: In the heat of the moment, I've often really wanted something and convinced myself to wait a bit and see how I feel in a few days. If I wait at least a week and reevaluate, I somehow want most things a lot less.

Using and eating all of my food: Did you know you can eat the whole strawberry (yes, even the green leafy part), apple cores, ginger skins, herb stems, and kiwi skins? A lot of these foods fall into the habit of having their outsides or insides wasted, for no good reason. Eat the whole thing!

Unsubscribing to marketing emails: Of course, you're not gonna unsubscribe to Climativity, but if you're receiving dozens of emails every day that you don't read, it's a waste of energy.

Silicone baking mats: Baking right on the baking sheet is a dangerous game to play. Aluminum foil and parchment paper prevent a deep scrub of burnt cheese, but silicone mats do it better.

Reusing old jars: The quintessential upcycle is to repurpose an old jar into something fun. I currently have a Chinese Money Plant in a ceramic teacup, old takeout containers turned into tupperware, old candle jars ready to be used as cups or pencil holders or a planter, and a cute jam jar from the farmer's market that's about to be empty and begging to be filled with more jam (maybe using some berries that are about to go bad).

Okay, I think that's all I got for now. If you have something else you do that I should copy, send it my way.