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Here's to a waste-free year!

We could change our lifestyle any day of the year, but for some weird reason, we’re more motivated to make a change right after the new year ticks over.

So, what change are you going to make this year? Do more exercise? Eat healthier? Spend more time with family? Learn a language? These are all great ideas to leading a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.

And we have another useful and impactful change you can make this year.

Live with less waste.

When you aim to create less waste, you live more mindfully. You will start to become aware of what you actually consume, and how much you throw away. The 3 R’s are central to living with less waste: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle!

Step 1: Do a big clean out

A great way to start on your Less Waste year is to clean out some of the junk that’s clogging up your life.

Some of the bigger items you can sell online (on eBay or Gumtree for example), like that second laptop you don’t use, or the blow-up kayak in the back of your cupboard that only gets inflated once every couple of years. Just think, the few extra dollars you could collect could cover your coffee budget for a month!

Once you’ve sorted through your stuff and picked out the few items that you can sell on, donate the rest of the things you don’t need. This is a great way to reuse items you no longer need instead of tossing them in the trash.

Step 2: Go through the mail

Go through your mail and contact the companies that mail you with a request to go paperless. This will greatly reduce the amount of mail you receive—and the amount of paper you have to recycle!

Also keep in mind that when you buy things online they will come with more packaging than if you purchased them in the store. So, consider the slightly less convenient option if you’re purchasing something that can easily be bought at the local shops.

Step 3: Choose a few items to reduce

Think about an item that you know you get too much of and hope to reduce, and consider the alternatives. Or maybe you have an item that commonly ends up in the garbage that you know shouldn’t. Create a plan to keep that item out of the garbage by reducing or recycling. Whatever item you choose, make a plan and stick with it!

cloth wax cover for food

Here are some ideas of everyday items you could be reducing your use of:

  1. Plastic bags – it’s super easy to take a few cloth bags with you when you do the groceries. Keep them in your car so you never forget them.

    If you’re feeling creative, you can even make them yourself from some old sheets you’re ready to repurpose. If you carry a handbag, pop one in so you’ll always have it handy when you grab a few items on the go.

  2. Glad-wrap/plastic wrap – this one’s definitely going out of fashion. You can now get Tupperware in every shape and size. Pack the kid’s (and your) sandwiches in little sandwich boxes, keep your leftovers in them and store your muesli in one to ensure it stays fresh.

    If you can’t imagine taking the extra time to transfer leftover salad into a Tupperware container, consider investing in reusable beeswax cloth covers, or you can make them yourself.

  3. Plastic water bottles – these are pretty pointless in any countries where you can get clean drinking water from the tap. If you’re still purchasing these you are wasting money and missing out on the opportunity to tote a stylish glass or metal bottle around.

  4. And don’t forget, use less electricity! Stop your appliances from sucking standby power when you’re not using them.

As the new year progresses, take you own waste reduction challenge. Remember that the first step in creating waste is allowing something in your house in the first place. So be mindful when you shop, say no to plastic bags, and good luck with your sustainable living resolutions!

carbonTRACK helps homes to reduce the energy they use. Learn more.

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