We've all been told that recycling is very important to help our environment conserve its natural resources and save energy, as well as minimize the quantity of harmful waste and pollution in nature. It is a must not only for us but also for the future generations to have a more liveable and sustainable Earth.
So, how do we reduce the amount of waste? As a good start, it helps to limit waste so that there is less need for recycling. Changes start from each one of us. Here are some tips on how to limit trash:
1. The first and most important step is to consume less. Most things that we buy are usually not necessary. Think of ways to reuse the existing items. Regularly make a shopping list, go through the list and cut whatever is unnecessary.
2. Use your own shopping reusable bags. Keep it always handy and put in your bag the whole time if possible.
3. Carry your own reusable water bottle and fill it when its gets empty with tap water because it's safe in Finland.
4. Whenever possible, carry your own travel cup in coffee shops.
5. Use your own containers for food when going to restaurants either for take away or to take the leftover food at home. When going to work and you have a packed lunch, use your own containers or lunchboxes. Same with kids when going to schools.
6. When shopping, try buying products that have been made from recycled materials. Read the labels on the packaging. Sometimes you'd see there if a product is eco-friendly.
7. Eat less processed and packaged or ready made food as much as possible. It's less healthier and creates more rubbish too. If you have time, make your own food at home to take with you to work. Healthier, and cheaper option too.
8. Reduce food waste, and learn how to use leftover food for the next day meal of the family or to take to work/school. You can also freeze the leftover food if it is too much and you think you are not going to eat it soon.
9. Eating mostly vegan/plant-based food (no animal-derived-food: fruits, vegetables, beans, whole grains, nuts and seeds) is one of the most efficient way to reduce the damage on our planet Earth. Animal industry and farming needs massive amounts of water, land, food and energy (for example, we need several thousands of gallons of water just to produce a kilo of meat compared to wheat production which needs much less water). In addition, animal farming has a large impact on deforestation, devastation and ruin of wildlife, extinction of species, massive damage on seas and oceans due to over fishing, and it creates not only water shortages, but also water pollution due to too much waste produced in farm houses and flowing into water systems. Therefore a simple change of the food on our plate is one of the best and most direct ways that we can also change the impact on the planet.
10. Buy products that can be recycled easily after the use; for example glass jars, metal cans, paper, some plastic containers.
11. Use old clothes as a cleaning cloth to use around the house instead of napkins. If you have kids, find ways to donate old clothes to charities, or give to other children of friends or relatives.
12. When possible, try to avoid buying toxic and unsafe materials or chemicals which are difficult to recycle. Often it's possible to use safer alternatives, for example, instead of harsh chemicals for cleaning the house/kitchen, use vinegar which is a safe powerful disinfectant. Search on the internet or read books on how you can use vinegar for cleaning, for example, the fridge, kitchen sink, microwave, table and other surfaces, pots, bathroom, burner of the stove.
13. Learn to repair and fix if something is broken as much as you can and avoid throwing away less. Make it a fun lesson with children so they'd know how to fix when something is broken.
14. Try to be a good example first, and then also to teach children how sustainability starts at home. Take good care of our belongings. Make a fun game with them to see how little trash you can create, how to reuse materials around the house, and how fun it is to cook/eat together vegan recipes. Go to library with children, find some fun books about recycling and reusing household stuff.