Jess Ann Kirby discusses how to reduce waste and lessen your environmental impact at home

I was so excited and happy reading all of your comments on last week’s blog post about eliminating single use plastics. There is so much more to be said (and to be done) on that topic but I’m happy to get the conversation started. Over the weekend I read an article about IKEA eliminating all single use plastics by 2020 and moving towards becoming climate positive by 2030 (it will reduce emissions beyond the amount they create). For this week’s #JAKWELLNESS12 challenge I want to bring the focus on what we can do at home to reduce waste and our environmental impact. Since buying our house last year Craig and I have made it a major priority to reduce our consumption and waste. I think the biggest key to doing these things successfully is making them habits. Some take a little time, but with consistency it’s amazing how quickly you realize what you can do in your own household. I’ve outlined some suggestions below but this is of course just a small window into what you can do, and as always I’d love to hear in the comments what you’re doing to reduce waste and your environmental impact at home. Don’t forget to comment, every time you do you are entered into my monthly and year end #JAKWELLNESS12 challenge giveaways.

Jes Ann Kirby has been composting at home for over a year to reduce her waste at home and give nutrient rich soil to her garden

How to Reduce Waste at Home

-Recycle. Seems like an obvious one right? Believe it or not people are actually recycling less (particularly when it comes to cardboard boxes). With online shopping on the rise, it means more cardboard in landfills. Make sure to find out the recycling rules in your town, and this is a helpful article on what you might be recycling wrong.

-Compost. Recycling is great, but what’s even better is reducing the amount of things you throw away. We started composting last year and it has drastically reduced the amount of waste that gets thrown away. It also means we have really rich nutrients to add to our garden.

-Buy in Bulk. We talked about ditching plastic last week, and you can go a step further by using glass containers to store food that you buy in bulk at the store. Our local grocery store has an entire section where you can buy in bulk (coffee, grains, etc.) so you can avoid unnecessary packaging. Thrive Market has an incredible selection of eco friendly housewares.

-Conserve Energy. One of the biggest selling points for us when we bought this house was the fact that it had solar panels. This is of course, a bigger expense so not necessarily realistic for everyone, but definitely worth looking into depending on where you live. Many states have incredible incentive programs for homeowners that install solar panels. When you’re not home or when you leave a room, turn off the lights, unplug appliances that don’t need to stay plugged in (coffee maker, toaster, etc.).

-Clean Products. Not only do cleaning products pollute the environment, they can negatively impact your health. This is a really helpful list of clean products to use in your household. We also did a post on making your own cleaning products here.

-Rethink Renovations. This is not only a great way to save money but rethinking how you renovate your house can have a huge environmental impact. Yes our dishwasher and oven are old, but they work, if you don’t have to replace something, think twice before buying a new one. If something does need replacing look for energy saving appliances. If you’re painting look for eco-friendly brands.

-Eat Less Meat. A recent study found that eating less meat and dairy can be the single biggest factor in reducing your impact on the environment. It does not say you have to go vegan tomorrow, but make a conscious effort to reduce meat consumption.

Let me know what I’ve missed, I am sure there’s a lot. Thanks for chiming in!