We all want to reduce our impact on the environment, but when we have busy work and family lives, it doesn’t always seem like the easiest thing to achieve. Yet when you look at the example set by well-known Californian environmental activist Bea Johnson, you can see what can be achieved. She only fills one waste bag in a year! She says that she doesn’t do anything magical – she has just made slight changes to her everyday habits.

The first thing we can and should think about is how not to produce waste at all, and the second is how to use things for as long as possible, giving them a second life. As the saying goes, “if you want to change the world, start with yourself.” Here are what might be your first steps towards doing just that.

Simple ways to reduce household waste


reduce household waste


Think before you shop

A shopping list is a powerful tool. A rational approach to grocery shopping makes you concentrate on what you actually need and distracts you from tempting special offers and promotions. Buy too much and all that happens is those bargains expire in your fridge or cupboard before you have time to consume them.

It’s not just about food shopping, though. For example, do you really need 18 dresses and 15 pairs of shoes to look great? The perfect solution is a capsule wardrobe that comprises several well-chosen sets of clothes for different occasions. It will save both your money and the earth’s resources.

Think twice before purchasing a new phone or TV. Tech moves on at such a rate that electronics can seem obsolete within a few months. But these appliances contain high levels of toxic substances and heavy metals and create a huge burden on waste management resources.


Beware of packaging

You will probably be horrified to learn that packaging accounts for 50 to 70 percent of the average household’s waste. Buying in bulk whenever it is practical reduces the amount of package used. Where possible, choose products wrapped in a simple and recyclable packaging.


Choose reusables

Today, reusable shopping bags are popular, practical and fashionable. But there are further possibilities on the same reusable theme. For example, many of the major high street coffee chains offer reusable “cups for life” and there are sites where you can buy Canon Pixima ink and other IT consumables that use remanufactured cartridges.


Choose multifunctional

Make anything that fulfils multiple tasks your best friend. Take the humble teapot as an example. Not only can you use it to make tea or any other drink, it also reduces the number of used teabags going to landfill. And your shopping bill shrinks at the same time!



If you have things that are still serviceable but no longer needed, give them to those who can make use of them via social institutions or charity shops. This applies to more than just clothes and toys. Check out this food sharing app for an example of this principle in radical action.


This is a contributed post


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Claire Kirby

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