By Cameron Bruns
One of our favorite lifestyle role models is Lauren Singer, author of Trash is for Tossers and founder of The Simply Co. This young woman is seriously impressive - she can fit four years of trash in a single mason jar. And before you make any assumptions about how radical her lifestyle must be, hear us out: you can do it too (or get close) with a few simple changes.
Lauren has tons of great waste-reducing concepts on her website under two main themes - evaluate and transition. But for you ladies (and gents!) out there who can’t get things done without a checklist, here are our Follain-approved tips to radically cut down the amount of trash you generate.
1. Set Yourself Up for Success
The obvious way to reduce trash is to recycle a higher percentage of household waste. One easy way to do so is by placing a container to collect empty recyclables next to every single waste basket in your home. That way, you can easily recycle that empty shampoo bottle when you’re just getting out of the shower and don’t feel like running downstairs in a towel.
2. Disperse Your Totes
If you’re like us, you have about a million canvas tote bags. The hard part, sometimes, is putting them to good use. To avoid getting caught on an impromptu errand without a reusable shopping bag, disperse your collection of totes so that you have one in the bottom of all of the purses you use most, one at work, one in your gym bag, and one somewhere right near your front door so you can grab and go!
3. Get a Leak-Proof Tumbler
Never buy coffee, tea, or water in a disposable cup. Always be prepared by bringing your own leak-proof tumbler or water bottle. Mason jars are great because you can reseal your iced coffee and toss it in your bag for later. Who cares if your barista gives you a weird look?
4. Embrace Your Freezer
Between 30 and 40 percent of food is never eaten. So seriously sad. If you have a feeling some of your leftovers will go bad before you have a chance to eat them - freeze ‘em! A couple weeks later, defrost and enjoy knowing you helped prevent food waste.
5. Avoid Excess Packaging
Keep an eye on packaging of products you buy. Does it need to be individually wrapped, really? Does a comparable product come with less packaging? This is especially applicable in the beauty and personal care aisle. At Follain, we take packaging materials into consideration and always try to offer something that is recyclable, reusable or made from already recycled materials.
6. Know the System
You know the recycling numbers at the bottom of plastic and glass products? Do you know for sure which ones your town recycles? Give your municipal recycling system a hand by understanding what can be recycled and if it needs to be separated or rinsed. Try the iRecycle app to double-check any item at any time.
7. Empty and Rinse
Lightly rinsing recyclables is always a good idea. This decreases the likelihood that the item will be trashed during the industrial recycling process. Sometimes it takes weeks for recyclables to be processed, so a simple rinse is key for preventing rotting food from accumulating at the recycling center.
8. Buy in Bulk
Buying consumables in bulk decreases wasted packaging and shipping materials. Buying in bulk also prevents unnecessary energy-intensive trips to the store - bonus points!
It is always good to reuse and refill packaging as much as possible - especially when packaging is made of a material, like glass, that doesn’t leech any chemicals into its contents over time. Follain helps encourage this by offering a discounted price on liquid soap for those that are refilling their glass bottles.
There you go! You’re on your way to reducing your trash and keeping our planet clean and healthy. Have other waste-saving tips to share? Comment below or tell us on twitter!