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How to Reduce Waste in Your Daily Life

Nov 15, 2019

When it comes to minimizing waste, the old elementary school mantra still holds true: reduce, reuse and recycle. First, consider reducing your consumption wherever possible. Next, try to only purchase items that you can reuse or donate for reuse by others. Third, turn to the recycling bin for anything that can’t be donated. Here are 10 tricks for cutting back your daily waste and promoting energy conservation.

Ditch disposables in the kitchen

Without even thinking about it, you probably use all kinds of one-time-only items during food prep, meals and clean-up—from paper towels and napkins to plastic wrap, tinfoil, sandwich bags and straws. Instead, opt for washable cloths and cloth napkins, reusable baking sheets, containers and dish covers, and metal or silicone straws that can be recycled or washed and reused. 

Pack your own lunch

Rather than grabbing takeout on your lunch break, stock your fridge with PC®, PC® Organics and PC® Black LabelExternal link Collection goodies and make your own lunches. Pack everything in washable bags and containers that you can use again and again.

Drink out of reusable water bottles and coffee mugs

If you’re constantly on the go and drink copious amounts of water and coffee, you might do well to bring your own water bottleExternal link and travel mug. Even if you buy just one water and coffee each weekday and put them in your own containers, that’s approximately 260 plastic bottles and 260 paper coffee cups per year that won’t end up in a landfill or take precious energy to recycle.

Bring reusable shopping bags—every time

Stash cloth bags in your purse or trunk to carry everything from groceriesExternal link to clothesExternal link. You can buy reusable bags for your produce—but they only help offset waste if you actually use them. When you reuse items instead of throwing them away, you’re helping to conserve energy.

Minimize food waste by planning ahead

Meal planning for the week is a useful tool to help you know exactly what you’ll be eating—and when—so you can tailor your grocery list accordingly. 

Share large purchases, such as garden equipment or cars

Is the sharing economy for youExternal link? If you want to cut down on spending, minimize your car use or get the most out of tools that you’ve purchased (and maybe even make a little money sharing them in your neighbourhood), then the answer is yes. 

Learn the rules of recycling 

To ensure that all eligible items actually make it to a recycling facility in your area, check your city’s rules. Food and organic waste left in the bin or on paper and in plastic bottles can ruin batches of recyclables. Clothing can’t be recycled, and the same goes for most coffee cups and black plastics. Proper sorting means your recyclables will actually end up in the right place.

Repairing instead of discarding

Rather than tossing clothing, electronics and furniture that have minor holes, dents or scratches, learn to do your own repairs, pay an expert to do a bit of tinkering or get creative with patching and furniture placement so minor damage is less noticeable.

Donate items you don’t use

Just because you no longer wear a certain blouse or have purchased a new coffee table doesn’t mean that your older pieces should be thrown in the trash. Divert items from the landfill by looking for a charity in your area that will accept gently used goods.

Minimize mail delivery

Switch to paperless billing, call your post office and put an end to junk mail delivery and cancel subscriptions to publications that you never actually read.

General information not about PC Financial products is provided for your reference and interest only. The above content is intended only to provide a summary and general overview on matters of interest and is not a substitute for, and should not be construed as the advice of an experienced professional. PC Financial does not guarantee the currency, accuracy, applicability or completeness of this content.