Whether it’s a slice of expired birthday cake sadly sliding into a bin or a disheveled crisp packet blowing across the street, one thing’s for sure - no-one likes to see waste. Unfortunately it’s becoming a larger and larger concern everyday, with landfill sites beginning to resemble mountain ranges, islands of plastic forming in the ocean and lonely cake boxes left singing solemnly to themselves.
Keep that chin up though, there are plenty of ways in which everyone can minimise the amount of waste they produce. So delve into our handy guide and help yourself to help everyone. It’d be wasteful not to.
One of the biggest single sources of waste plastic comes from used single use bottles. In fact over 480 billion of them were bought in 2016 alone! Put in more relatable terms, that’s 64 (and a half) bottles for every person, or one million bottles purchased a minute. In the understatement of the century, this is not ideal.
However, all is not lost. Reusing a bottle or buying yourself a rather fetching refillable one can reduce the number of wasted bottles down to a sweet zero, with an additional benefit being a constant physical reminder to drink water. Not only is this great for your skin and general health, it also allows you to put out small fires with minimal fuss. Think of what a hero you’ll be.
Get your fix the right way
Some people simply can’t function without an espresso (or two) in the morning. Now we’re not saying you should go without your daily caffeine fix, but much like the example above, you might want to ask yourself if a reusable container might be a better bet (we will soon be releasing new UpCircle mugs made from recycled paper coffee cups – so keep an eye out). These keep your coffee warmer, and help you look more put together on the bus. Plus, most coffee houses will even give you a discount if they don’t have to use their paper cups.
Make a meal plan
Nothing says “I’ve got my life in order” more than preparing a meal plan in advance. This little step means that you can work out how to use ingredients without wasting them, saving both time and the contents of your wallet. If that sounds like an exceptional pain in the backside there’s no need to worry; this handy guide simplifies it down to a T.
Make do and Mend
Whenever a member of the Optiat team snags a cardigan or rips a shirt sleeve (doing bicep curls probably) we go next door and bring it to Mabel. She comes from the ‘make do and mend’ generation, where the idea of throwing away an otherwise fine garment was unheard of. She taught us and, you know what, mending things is much more rewarding than her constant grimace lets on. If you haven’t got your own Mabel and don’t trust wikihow, there are plenty of workshops that teach you these valuable money and waste saving skills.
Undoubtedly the least popular option on the list. You really should think twice whether you need that
Cancel your junk mail
A simple suggestion that saves postage, paper and your own time on earth. Cancelling your junk mail sounds straightforward but it’s something many people don’t know how to do. As a rule of thumb 95% of mail can be stopped by writing to the following address (UK only, sorry):
Door to Door Opt Outs
To deter roaming hordes of pizza leaflet distributors simply place a note or sticker by your letterbox politely asking for no junk-mail please. If certain leaflets still make their way into your landing you can always message the company directly and ask them to take you off their mailing list, at which point they are legally obligated to do so. Finally, you can always send junk back to the sender in a fight fire with fire approach. They’ll probably stop very very quickly.
Why not reduce waste and reconnect with the wonderful array of nature that surrounds you? Luckily all you need to do is pick up a compost bin, chuck some leftovers in it and wait. Before long you’ll have a healthy supply of soil perfect for growing your own fruit, veg or field of Venus fly traps. These bins can be bought for under thirty pounds at virtually all garden centres, meaning that they can quickly pay for themselves through the bountiful goods produced.
Totes stop using bags
Ever since the UK government introduced a 5p levy on plastic carrier bags their use has dropped by a whopping 85%, a demonstration of just how unnecessary they were in the first place. However, 15% of a very large number is still a very large number and every bag kept out the ocean is a bag kept out of the stomachs of turtles and other gentle beings.
With this in mind try keeping a spare bag in the car or simply take a sexy reusable tote bag with you when you head to the supermarket. These are not only stronger, but biodegradable, oil-free and a lot more fashionable should the paparazzi spot you on your daily shop.
Bin the paper plates (actually don’t, that’s bad)
It’s a recurring theme but it’s one that’s worth reiterating - disposable things don’t tend to be great for the environment. Recently there has been a long-awaited shift towards the abolition of plastic straws, however there is much more that we can all do.
While many will argue that paper plates are biodegradable the truth is that many simply aren’t, finding themselves lightly polycoated to get that smooth burger-proof finish. Besides, even fully compostable plates often come in distinctly non-biodegradable shrink wrap. Our advice is to use regular crockery wherever possible and recycle paper plates if you somehow can’t avoid them.
Recycle and upcycle
It doesn’t really need to be said but we should all be looking to recycle whatever we can. We know that sometimes things can be a little confusing so you can find another guide to break it all down into straightforward steps. You can also go a step further and upcycle; that is, taking used products and making something even better out of them.
Whether turning a bed into a boat, a TV into an aquarium, or making a briefcase into a medicine cabinet, the possibilities of upcycling are quite literally endless. At Optiat we know this too, repurposing leftover coffee grounds and turning them into an array of sumptuous organic scrubs. We also know that, with the exception of the sexy Optiat tote, everything can always be improved. So if you’ve got any great examples of waste reduction you’ve taken part in please get in touch! We’d love to spread the word and create a better planet for everyone.