I enjoy setting goals for myself. I want to lift more weights, eat fewer French fries and
more vegetables, and stop spending money on frivolous things. I strive to make them achievable (I'm aware I'm never fully giving up fries), but they always tend to be self-focused and involve ways to become more personally fit, skilled, or successful. But this year, I've decided to shake things up. I want to make changes that will benefit someone other than myself and actually do some good in the world. So, I made a pact to take steps to reduce my personal waste on a daily basis, and it turns out, it's a lot easier to do than you might think (and it makes me feel pretty great, too). Keep reading for seven small, creative ways you can cut back on unnecessary wastefulness to do your part in protecting this awesome planet we call home.
1Carry Your Own Coffee Mug/Refillable Water Bottle at All Times
I have one refillable water bottle that lives in my backpack (which is basically on me at all times), so I never need to purchase a bottle of water. I refill it at airports, casual restaurants, or anytime I spot a water fountain. The same goes for coffee mugs, too. Bonus: many coffee shops will actually give you a discount when you supply your own mug. It's a win for you and Mother Nature.
2Carry Your Own Metal Straw
Many places have begun using paper straws to cut down on plastic waste, but you can take it one step further and carry your own metal straw. Every time I order an iced coffee or smoothie, I ask them to hold the straw. You can do this at restaurants, too. I simply dry it off with my dinner napkin when I'm finished and wash it when I get home.
3Make Your Own Beauty Products
Take a look in your shower or your medicine cabinet, and count how many plastic bottles you find. A lot, right? Our bathrooms are laden with disposable bottles — lotions, serums, scrubs, shampoos, masks . . . the list goes on. One way you can roll back your plastic waste in your beauty routine is to hand-make some of your own products. You have nearly all the ingredients you'll need in your kitchen right now; just grab sea salt, a jar of honey, and your favorite essentials oils, and get ready to have some fun (and honestly, save some serious cash, too)!
4Bid Plasticware Farewell
We use plastic frequently in the kitchen, from plastic forks, knives, and spoons to plastic containers for food storage. It's time to put our kitchen on a plastic detox; use reusable glass containers to store leftover food, and always opt for real silverware over disposable utensils. If you order takeout, ask the restaurant to skip the plasticware. There are also great reusable bamboo options if hosting a picnic or BBQ.
5Make Your Own Cleaning Products
After you've finished creating your own body and lip scrubs, put your newfound alchemy chops to work by crafting inexpensive and eco-friendly cleaning products. From DIYbathroom wipes to homemade dish soap, you'll be amazed at the powerful cleaning capabilities of just a few all-natural ingredients from your local grocery store. You can even utilize your favorite essential oil to make your own laundry detergent!
6Get Creative With Leftover Glass Bottles
Take your empty wine, kombucha, or sparkling water bottles and put them to design use! You can turn them into candles to store your homemade beauty products, or even use them as decorative vases or lighting fixtures.
7Ditch the Paper, and Go Digital
There are a host of ways to cut down on paper waste by going digital — forego the paper boarding pass and store it on your phone, opt out of paper receipts and have them emailed instead, and choose to go paperless on all of your bills. It's also a stellar way to cut back on clutter in your home. Trust me, finding an old receipt in your inbox is much easier than rifling through all your purses.
This article originally published on PopSugar.com by Amanda McCoy