Small things you can do to reduce waste in your life

Small things you can do to reduce waste in your life

Save money and save the earth at the same time by doing lots of small things that, when added up, can make a significant impact. The most important thing is that your approach to sustainability will rub off on other people around you. Here is a random (ish) list of things that i have found i can do in my family of 4 living a busy urban life in Hackney.

  • Freeze herbs 
  • Juice or smoothie ice lollies 
  • Take your lunch to work
  • keep a stack of paper 
  • Reuse packaging 
  • Carry around a reusable tote bag
  • Use less water
  • Think twice before buying things  
  • Clean our your fridge regularly
  • Buy second hand

Here is some more detail on each of these ideas, they are mostly from my own experience, i'm sure you can think of loads more ways too.

Freeze herbs 

When you buy a bunch of herbs, package and freeze them for use, don't let them go bad and throw them away. Freezing works well for basil, chives, oregano, lemon balm, mint, or tarragon. Frozen herbs can be used in the same proportion as fresh herbs. Remember though they will be limp when defrosted, but will still add the same kinds flavour to your cooking.

Freezing herbs in ice trays

Juice or smoothie ice lollies 

As above, if you find yourself with too much juice or smoothie, freeze them and make ice lollies. The kids love them and they are much healthier than shop bought ones too. 

Ice lolly moulds

Keep a stack of paper 

Keep a box of paper for scribbling and notes. My kids always want to draw pictures and using the backs of other paper stacked neatly can sometimes do the trick. 

Reuse packaging 

When you order items online, open the packaging neatly and use them for sending out other items. You will save money too. When you are selling items for example on ebay/depop/facebook marketplace, you can use the packaging that you receive, postal packaging can be re-used several times over, just put aside a box to store it all in to make it easier for yourself to access.

Reused packaging

Carry around a reusable tote bag

You never know when you might need to carry some extra things or buy something, and we are all know that getting plastic bags from shops should be a last resort. Carry around a reuse-able tote bag and you will not regret it. I also find they are useful for carrying around the sticks and stones that my kids ask me to carry home after a day in the park. At Goodordering we sell some reuseable tote bags that we designed to raise money for various charities. You can see them HERE - this is our "eat fruit, ride fast" tote bag. 

Eat Fruit Ride Fast Tote Bag

Use less water

Showers are often be better for the environment by using less water than the average bath. While a bath can hold up to 80 litres, a typical eight minute electric shower will use 62 litres. And for those of us who spend less than five minutes in the shower, it's under 40 litres! Whilst we are on the topic of bathing, i also recommend using solid shampoo which uses much less water, they are great for travel, lighter to shop for and have less wastage in use too. My favourite shampoo is by Nut and Noggin. It smells delicious and is super frothy.

nut and noggin

Take your lunch to work

This is a great way to not waste your left over dinner. Personally i like to eat left overs fresh rather than freezing/unfreezing. I like to eat it the very next day whilst it is at its freshest (and before i forget what it is) If you are super organised you can use tape and sharpie to write the date and contents of a tuppaware container to save you having to figure out what the dinner was. Our Goodordering bags are expecially designed to be boxy and have re-enforced bottoms to make it even easier to take packed lunches to work / school. We also have our tyvek insulated lunch bags designed to look like disposable paper bags which were especially designed for carrying lunch! 

Reusable lunch bag


Think twice before buying things  

This is easier said than done. When shopping online i do this thing where i add items to the basket and don't purchase them straight away. Simply saying no to things you don't need, and being appreciative for what you already have is one of the biggest steps you can take to reducing your waste. 

Clean out fridge regularly

Just seeing what is inside my fridge and cupboard is a way to cut down on waste because i become more conscious of items that i regularly let go bad or throw away. Rather than waiting for food to completely go bad you can often salvage things for soups or currys. 

Buy second hand clothes and items

Thrift or charity shop shopping is not only great for the environment but it is also a lot of fun and you are also able to find really unique things that you can't buy when shopping for new items. The prices can also be lower so you can also save money at the same time. Here is a great little guide to thift/vintage/second hand shopping in London. You can find similar guides for all cities around the world. 

Second hand shopping

Read on:

Small things you can do to reduce waste in your life

Holding onto happiness - how to be more happy

Electric bikes - questions to ask yourself when buying


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