This guest blog post was written by Amber McDaniel of Sustainable Jungle— a mission-driven media platform, focusing on solutions for the world’s sustainability and conservation challenges. With both short and long-form articles that share hacks and tips for living a more sustainable lifestyle, hosts Lyall & Joy, also host a popular podcast where they talk with some of the most interesting and inspiring people working to future-proof our planet.
With talk of renewable energy, regenerative agriculture, biodiversity, and carbon offset programs, sustainability is sounding pretty darn complex these days.
While those movements provide critical solutions to remedying some of the most environmentally devastating issues, they are not the only ways in which we can work towards the goal of sustainable living.
As an individual, you can significantly reduce your carbon footprint at home with just a few simple low-waste hacks.
1. Keep Your Cleaning Routines Simple
If you’re new to the low-waste journey, the goal isn’t to produce literally no waste (that would be nearly impossible). It’s about doing what you can to reduce the waste you do produce - which is actually the first of the 5 Rs of Low-Waste.
And it starts with adopting a couple of easy-to-manage low waste tips that over time have a big impact, like choosing conscious products made with reusable or compostable packaging or cutting back on the number of products you use for, say, cleaning.
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need a different cleaner for every variety of dirt you find in your home. Many eco friendly cleaning products are multi-purpose and can work on everything from your kitchen counters to your toilet bowl.
So rather than use laundry detergent and softener, swap to an all-in-one eco-friendly laundry detergent (like Dropps pods!).
2. Experiment with DIY Personal Care Products
As inspiring as the best ethical beauty brands are, the most sustainable personal care routine starts with making your own products.
Granted, DIY plastic-free makeup may be a stretch for most, but many personal care products can be made with ingredients you likely already own and can often be purchased in bulk.
All this hack requires is for you to start treating what you put on your body the same as what you put in it.
And if you don’t have the time for DIY, know that for every conventional personal care product out there there’s an eco-friendly alternative that’s just as effective if not more so.
3. Create a Capsule Closet You Adore
Creating and sticking to a minimalist wardrobe is the best way to ensure you don’t buy more than your closet needs (an area for which most of us are most guilty of doing that) and to support the world of sustainable fashion.
Not only will you be more resilient to those fast fashion impulse buys, but you’ll love and wear every single item you own. Think of how much easier getting dressed in the morning will be!
4. Change Up the Way You Diaper
This one might not apply to everyone, but if you’re an eco-conscious parent, it might surprise you to know that you can raise a low-waste baby, too.
And one of the biggest ways in which to achieve that is by making the switch to reusable eco-friendly diapers. Just imagine replacing those 2,500 you’ve thrown away over the last year with a handful of cloth alternatives.
Changing tables aside, there are lots of other small sustainable swaps you can make from organic baby products to organic baby toys, and organic baby clothes, to make child-rearing less stressful—on the planet anyway.
5. Pet Poo Can Be Low-Waste, Too!
Speaking of beings that depend on you, aspiring low-waste dog (and cat) parents can take a bite out of pet waste by picking up poop, only plastic-free.
Instead of using dog doo bags, opt to clean up after Fido with a shovel and pail or a piece of newspaper before flushing it down the toilet (recommended by the EPA as the best way to dispose of doggie doo).
For walks in the park, you can keep a small stash of compostable bags on hand. Pick up the poop on the go, flush it down the toilet when you get home, then compost the bag (if it’s not too messy).
Just keep in mind that compostable and biodegradable bags are not all created equal - there’s a lot of greenwashing in this space so it pays to do your research and that goes for all eco friendly pet products.
6. Rot the Rest of Your Waste.
For all the waste you can’t avoid or reuse, dispose of it via the magic of composting.
Composting is nature’s way of creating something super useful from the organic matter we too often throw away. In fact, about 50% of municipal solid waste could, instead of creating methane gas while decomposing anaerobically in landfills, create soil-restoring, nutrient-rich humus.
Final Thoughts on Low-Waste Home Hacks
We love sustainability made simple. Why?
Because the simpler and easier something is, the more people are likely to do it!
These low-waste home hacks may seem inconsequential on their own, but when practiced over a period of time, they can seriously hack away at the footprints we’re leaving on our planet.
Thanks to our partners at Sustainable Jungle for guest writing this piece! Visit them online at https://www.sustainablejungle.com for more tips, tricks and hacks to building a more sustainable life.