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At Gaia First, we know it can be overwhelming to think about what impact you can have on the huge amounts of waste that fills our oceans. We have surely all thought to ourselves, “What can we do?...What can I, a single human being, do to fight against this problem?”. The answer is, you can do your best! So in this blog we will tackle some small, everyday changes you can make to reduce your waste on a daily basis.

While recycling is an important part of waste reduction, there are many other simple things that individuals can do.

Here are five easy ways to reduce waste in your everyday life:

1. Bring reusable bags when shopping

Plastic bags are one of the most common types of waste found in landfills and oceans. To reduce your use of plastic bags, bring reusable bags when you go shopping. Keep a few reusable bags in your car or near the front door so you always remember to take them with you. Most supermarkets also offer reusable bags for purchase, so you’ll never be caught short!

2. Use reusable water bottles

Single-use plastic water bottles are another major source of waste. Instead of buying bottled water, use a reusable water bottle. You can fill it up with tap water, which is often just as clean as bottled water, or use public taps and ask restaurants to fill up your bottle. Purchase your own bottle and always have it with you on the go, it’s also a great way to stay hydrated.

3. Say no to plastic cutlery and straws

Plastic straws are another item that ends up in landfills and oceans. When you go out to eat, ask your server to skip the straw or bring your own reusable straw. There are many different types of reusable straws available, including metal, silicone, and bamboo. The same goes for cutlery - if you buy a salad on your lunch breaks, it’s likely you’ll be given disposable cutlery to go with it. While many restaurants/takeaway shops are now offering bamboo/wooden alternatives, these are very often not recyclable, so you should consider carrying your own cutlery with you.

4. Use cloth napkins and dish towels

This is something a lot of households already do, so if you’re one of them - bravo! Paper napkins and paper towels are a big source of waste. So instead of buying paper towels or paper napkins, use cloth napkins and dish towels instead for drying and serving food and reusable cloths to wipe down your surfaces. You can wash them and use them again, which saves money (!) and reduces waste.

5. Buy in bulk

Ever bought something from the supermarket and noticed just how much pointless packaging comes with it for a small amount of food? Packaging is a major source of waste, so buying in bulk can help reduce the amount of packaging that you throw away. Now, many supermarkets offer bulk buying options for items like rice, pasta, nuts and lentils. If you want to go a step further, bring your own reusable containers and bags to fill up, rather than buying pre-packaged items.

These are just a few simple ways to reduce waste in your everyday life. By making small changes, you can make a big difference in the amount of waste that you produce. You’ll also notice that a lot of these options can really help you save on money, so this is not only helping the environment but helping your wallet! Remember that every little bit counts, and together we can make a positive impact on the environment.

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