8 ways to reduce waste and create a more sustainable home

* * * * * * * * Vietnam was our original choice for a touring holiday back in 2015, mainly to see Halong Bay, but we got sidetracked by the gorgeous pictures of Myanmar in the brochures and ended up going there instead. Myanmar, and probably touring holidays in general, was hard work, we are both in our sixties and do not really travel that well after having a lot of pampered holidays in the Maldives, so after the final three hour wait in another airport lounge we said 'never again'. But three months later after sitting back and looking at the best set of holiday photo's we have ever taken, we realised what wonderful people we had met and amazing places we had seen and that you have to put up with airport lounges, train stations and car journeys to get that. So the next thing we knew we were booking another touring holiday to Vietnam with Mango Journeys based in Cambodia! Warren the owner of Mango, actually an Aussie guy, sorted out our itinerary, click to view, we booked a couple of flights and it was done. Vietnam has a lot of Buddhist tradition like Myanmar so we figured that the people would be similar to the lovely people of Myanmar we met last year. Plus the landscape and scenery looked so green and lush so it all boded well. However when we arrived in Saigon, all the Vietnamese still call it Saigon, in mid December it turned out that it was still the rainy season. So it was quite cloudy, foggy and rainy.....and it stayed like that for most of the holiday actually. We hadn't quite bargained for that, Myanmar was dry and sunny at the same time last year so this was quite a dramatic change. We were also in their winter so no crops were growing, hence all the lovely green and golden paddy fields you see in the brochures were mostly brown and muddy. Vietnam is big and very busy, there were a huge amount of

There’s a vast gap between talking about sustainability and actually living it.

Living sustainably is about making choices that reduce waste and promote a healthier planet. It’s not always easy to know where to start, though.

Well, that’s where I come in. I want to offer you eight simple ways to cut down on waste and create a more sustainable home.

Think of this as a beginner’s guide to eco-friendly living. And trust me, these aren’t complicated – they are simple changes you can make today. So let’s get started!

1) Ditch the disposables

Living a sustainable life often begins with an assessment of what we’re throwing away.

Do you find your trash bin fills up quickly? Are you constantly tossing out plastic water bottles, paper towels, or disposable cutlery? If so, it might be time to reconsider your habits.

Switching to reusable items is a simple, yet effective way to reduce waste at home. Think about investing in a good quality water bottle, using cloth napkins instead of paper ones, and opting for reusable shopping bags over the plastic ones that end up in landfills.

Remember, it’s the small changes that can make the biggest difference. You might be just one person, but imagine if everyone made these simple swaps. The impact would be phenomenal.

Of course, this is just the beginning. There are seven more steps to go on this journey to sustainability. But remember, every step counts.

2) Start composting

This one is a game changer, trust me. I started composting at home a few years ago and it has drastically reduced the amount of waste I produce.

I have a small compost bin in my kitchen where I toss in vegetable peels, coffee grounds, eggshells, and other organic waste. Once it’s full, I transfer it to my larger compost heap in the garden.

Over time, this waste breaks down into rich, nutrient-dense compost that I use to feed my plants. Not only am I reducing waste, but I’m also creating something beneficial in return.

If you don’t have an outdoor area for composting, don’t worry. There are plenty of indoor composting systems available that don’t smell or take up much space.

It was a bit of a learning curve to get started, but now it’s just part of my routine. Give it a try – you might be surprised at how much you can divert from your trash bin!

3) Choose energy-efficient appliances

When it’s time to replace your old appliances, consider opting for energy-efficient models. While they might be more expensive upfront, they can save you money in the long run by reducing your energy bills.

For instance, an energy-efficient refrigerator can use up to 40% less energy than conventional models. That’s not just good for your wallet, it’s also great for the environment.

Energy-efficient appliances usually bear an Energy Star label, which makes them easy to identify. So next time you’re shopping for a new washer, dryer, or fridge, keep an eye out for that label. Less energy usage means less strain on our planet’s resources, and that’s a win-win if you ask me.

4) Switch to LED lights

Lighting is a fundamental part of our homes, but not all light bulbs are created equal.

Traditional incandescent light bulbs consume a lot of energy and need to be replaced often. On the other hand, LED lights are much more energy-efficient and long-lasting.

Switching to LED lights in your home can reduce your energy consumption and cut down on waste produced by burnt-out bulbs.

Plus, they provide excellent lighting quality. I promise, you won’t miss your old bulbs. Making this simple switch is another step towards a more sustainable home.

5) Embrace the second-hand market

There’s a certain charm in giving old things a new life, isn’t there?

The second-hand market is a goldmine for reducing waste and embracing sustainability. Instead of buying new furniture, clothes or appliances, why not see if you can find a pre-loved version first?

Not only can this save you money, but it also helps to reduce the demand for new products, which in turn reduces the resources used and waste produced.

And who knows? You might find a unique vintage piece or a barely used item at a fraction of the original price. It’s not just about sustainability – it’s about finding joy and value in the things that already exist around us.

6) Grow your own food

I’ll be honest, I never thought of myself as a gardener. My thumbs were anything but green. But one day, I decided to plant some herbs in a few pots on my balcony.

To my surprise, not only did they grow, but they thrived. There was something incredibly rewarding about cooking with herbs that I had grown myself. It sparked a love for gardening that I never knew I had.

Since then, I’ve expanded my little balcony garden to include tomatoes, peppers, and even a small pumpkin vine. It’s not only reduced my grocery bill, but it also cuts down on the plastic packaging that comes with store-bought produce.

Even if you don’t have outdoor space, there are plenty of fruits, vegetables, and herbs you can grow indoors. It might feel daunting at first, but trust me, it’s worth giving it a shot.

7) Cut down on water usage

Water is a precious resource, and it’s something we often take for granted. But there’s a lot we can do to reduce our water usage at home.

Simple changes like fixing leaky faucets, installing low-flow showerheads, or only running the dishwasher when it’s full can make a big difference.

Another tip? Collect rainwater for watering your plants. It’s a small change, but over time, these little steps add up to big water savings.

By being mindful of our water usage, we can help conserve this essential resource and create a more sustainable home.

8) Educate and inspire others

The most impactful change comes when we not only adopt sustainable practices ourselves, but inspire others to do the same.

Share your journey with friends, family, and your community. Show them the changes you’ve made and how they’ve benefited your life and the planet.

Remember, you have the power to make a difference. Together, we can create a more sustainable world.

Final thoughts: It’s a lifestyle

The journey to a more sustainable home is not a race, it’s a marathon. It’s not about perfection, but progress.

Creating a sustainable home is not just about recycling or composting, it’s about adopting a new lifestyle that respects and cherishes our planet. It’s about making conscious choices that not only benefit us but also future generations.

Remember, every small change counts. Whether it’s switching to LED lights, growing your own food, or embracing second-hand items, your actions are contributing to a larger cause.

Each step you take towards reducing waste and creating a more sustainable home is a step towards a healthier planet. The power to make a difference lies in your hands.

So keep going, keep trying, and most importantly, be proud of the changes you’re making. After all, you’re not just creating a sustainable home, you’re creating a sustainable future.

Picture of Graeme


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