With the busy lives we have, it is sometimes tempting to go for easy, disposable options but this can have a huge impact on the environment. Only plastic accounts for about 5 billion tonnes of waste accumulating in landfills and the natural environment, 150 million of it is estimated to be in the oceans, intoxicating and killing sea life. In fact, the World Economic Forum affirms in a 2016 report that if no action is taken there may be more plastic in weight than fish in the oceans by 2050.
However, plastic pollution is not the only consequence of our current consumption habits. We also waste water, paper and precious resources that could be recycled or reused mostly because we are too busy to think about it. That’s why I decided to share here the 3 most easy changes I made in my life to reduce my impact on the environment by reusing and recycling. But first watch this video about all the things that can be recycled around your house so they don’t end up polluting the ocean and soil:
And now the easy tips I’ve promised:
1. Reuse packaging and plastic containers
Unfortunately, it is not always easy to buy our groceries, takeaway food and other products in compostable and plastic-free packaging. Nevertheless, you can still reduce the impact of your choices by reusing some of this packaging. I reuse takeaway containers and plastic trays to organise the kitchen and office cupboards. I also reuse tin cans as pen holders and desk organizers. Leaving the original labels can add a cool look or you can remove them and paint the cans.
If you want to avoid plastic when storing leftovers and takeaway food in your home, you can find some alternatives such as eco food wraps and takeaway paper bags.
2. Reuse washing machine water
This is probably my favourite one. When I started my research to write another article about composting toilets, I realised how much clean water we waste just to transport human waste. That’s when I started reusing water from my washing machine by simply unplugging the hose and placing it over a bucket to collect the water so I can use it to flush the toilet, soak dishes and clean my house. You can use it to clean windows by mixing with some vinegar or use it on the floor and other surfaces.
You can also reuse water from your bathtub for the same purposes. Like me, you will probably be surprised at the quantity of water necessary to flush a toilet every time.
3. Reuse coffee ground and teabags
That’s another useful thing we generally throw away too soon! Coffee grounds and tea bags have multiple usages: protecting plants from pests, eliminating odour and as a natural and gentle abrasive or exfoliant.
Used coffee grounds and tea bags can be added to compost to fertilise your garden or protect your plants from pests. Add small quantities to the compost as a good balance of nutrients is very important. To act as an effective fertiliser, coffee and tea should be composted but they will still repel slugs and pests before composting.
Coffee grounds are great to eliminate odour, you may have noticed several coffee based odour remover products on the market. You can place some used coffee grounds on your kitchen countertop or inside the fridge or gently rub it on your hands to eliminate strong persistent smells such as those from garlic, onion and fish.
If you are a tea person, tea bags are even more practical for these uses and have the same effect. You can use it almost immediately to remove odours from your hand or let the bag dry to use it as an air freshener. Tea bags will absorb bad odours and you can also add a few drops of essential oil to enhance its effect. They are very practical and discreet for these purposes.
Coffee grounds and the content of tea bags can also be used as a gentle abrasive to scrub pans and pots that are hard to clean or to exfoliate your skin.
Don’ forget that coffee grounds and tea can stain surfaces and objects so opt for light colour teas if dealing with delicate surfaces or if in doubt.
Hope you found my tips very easy and start applying them as soon as possible to Green It Yourself Now!