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Top Ways to Live a Zero Waste Life and Reduce Your Environmental Impact

June 1, 2016

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When it comes to environmental issues, many people think that one person can't possibly make a difference. But that's not the case when it comes to household waste and your personal contribution to the ever-growing landfill problem.

A single person creates an average of over 4 pounds of landfill-bound trash every day. If that doesn't seem alarming, look at the bigger picture. That's over 17 pounds of trash daily for a family of four, which in turn adds up to over 6,200 pounds of trash for that family of four annually.

Click to Tweet: A family of 4 can create up to 6,200 lbs of waste per year and 40% of food ends up in the trash. #LiveYounger

That's a lot of toxins leaching into our soil and water, and a lot of greenhouse gas going into our air. Not to mention the problem of finding space for all this unsightly trash and the dangerously flammable nature of landfills.

By making a few simple modifications in our lifestyle, we can each reduce our impact on this toxic problem and move closer to a healthier environment. Here are a few of the top ways to live a zero waste life and reduce your environmental impact on the planet:

Replace disposables with reusables

Use washable rags instead of paper towels and washable napkins instead of paper napkins; take your own reusable shopping bags to the supermarket; replace sponges with washable dish cloths; buy in bulk whenever possible and use your own glass jars. For items that have no reusable replacement, look for products that are Earth-friendly or biodegradable.

Stop food waste

In Canada alone, over 40 percent of food ends up in the trash, which adds up to about $27 billion (some estimates are even higher). Use your leftovers rather than tossing them out; there are even websites dedicated to recipes for leftovers. Anything unusable can be composted, and what can't be composted should go into a garbage disposal.

Bring your lunch to work 

Invest in reusable containers to eliminate throwing away takeout containers; you can even make your morning coffee or tea at home and bring it in a reusable travel mug. And when you eat at a restaurant, bring your leftovers home in your own washable, reusable container.

Recycle 

Of course! Recycle whenever and wherever possible - at home, at work, and even on vacation.

Buy in bulk

Smaller, disposable containers generate vast amounts of plastic waste. A few minutes of planning can prevent lots of smaller bottles from going in the trash.

Support second hand shopping

Carbon Trust estimates that CO2 emissions associated with clothing account for 3 percent of global emissions.  Shopping second hand (and donating your gently used clothing) saves clothes from ending up in the landfill and reduces the overall demand for production.

Simplify cleaning supplies

Do you really need a specific cleaning product for every individual task? Using a natural cleaning solution like white vinegar and baking soda is not only a natural alternative to chemical cleaners, it eliminates plastic bottle waste.

By making these simple changes, you not only help reduce toxins and in our environment and landfill trash, you'll also save money. 

(Photo credit: Zona, Zero Waste Home)

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