March 28, 2016

Reduce Waste In One Easy Step

The results of our cultural addiction to buying more than we need can be found in trucks like these.

What are the easiest ways to reduce waste? I asked my search engine that question to see what kinds of things would be suggested. I can think of one very easy way, perhaps even the best way. But it was missing from most of the information that I checked out.

There were definitely some very good suggestions. The following were some of the ways that were suggested to reduce waste on the sites I looked at:
  • Buy items made of recycled content, and use and reuse them as much as you can.
  • Buy in bulk.
  • Buy things with less packaging.
  • Buy rechargeable batteries.
  • Buy a hybrid car.
  • Buy for durability, not disposability.
  • Buy used.
You can see what these all have in common. Buying, buying, buying. What if we dramatically reduced how much we buy?

Altering our buying habits can help, but reducing how much we buy is a more effective strategy. Preventing waste production, rather than reduction through the production and purchasing of slightly different, "greener" things is the way to go.

Taking the prevention route has many advantages.
  • Reduces the need for procuring new raw materials. Mining and resource extraction to meet consumer demand is degrading ecosystems everywhere.
  • Saves energy, and therefore reduces green house gases.
  • Helps save the environment for future generations. Our kids and grandkids are going to have to live somewhere. 
  • Reduces the amount of money you have to spend. Maybe you can work less. Or save more.
  • Cuts the amount of waste recycled or sent to landfills and incinerators.
  • Ensures that the things you do have will be used to their fullest extent.

Waste reduction in one easy step. Stop buying so much stuff. How hard can that be?


  1. My 7 year old son and I just went on a field trip to our local recycling center. According to them, paper and packaging make up the bulk of what they receive (similar to your picture above). I think we can save so much space in landfills by cutting down on shopping online and starting to buy at local stores again, when we actually need to shop of course. Also, one good piece of news. . .my local landfill was supposed to be full in 2010, now they expect to be able to keep using it until 2026. Apparently, the move away from paper to digital has been hugely helpful as well as an increase in recycling in my area. I, personally, am trying to get away from using companies like and being extra diligent in making sure that everything that can goes to my compost pile. And like you said, the best idea of all is to simply buy much less than we do.


  2. I remember a good discussion on your blog a month or so ago about some of the blogs whose theme is simple and sustainable living. Speciacally, I think it was going plastic free. So many blogs are all about buying. Buying their products to use less. But the bottom line was buy more like you are pointing out. People are creative. Makes me laugh. For me, the best I can do is simply buy less, a lot less. I have less trash and less recyclables when I buy less. Refuse is my motto.

  3. A trip to the landfill is certainly an eye opener. The sight and smell makes a strong impression.

  4. Thank you for your continued reminders of how to live a good, life-affirming Life! they are very welcome.

  5. I've been reading a lot about zero waste these past few weeks. It does seem that many try to tell you to buy this and that in order to go "plastic free". Throwing out all your plastic and replacing it with new products, it really defeats the purpose, both in packaging and filling a landfill with plastic. Not buying is definitely the answer!

  6. It's not waste until it's wasted - what a good line!

    I think a big part of our problem is that many of us are too affluent. I know that's not a popular thing to say, many people think they are doing it tough because they can't by a new 'smart' tv. When one has less money, everything becomes a valuable resource to be saved and food is not wasted. Wouldn't it be lovely if everyone on earth could have 'enough' - not too much, not too little. Although minimalism has become popular, I'm personally striving to find that point of 'enough'. It's a sweet point when you find it. Your home and your life can run efficiently but without waste.


  7. George Carlin did a great piece on "stuff". Google it and watch it on Utube.
    Lots of people are making good money on writing about waste,simplicity "buy my book first"
    Same goes for gardening ,very big business-the amount of money one has to spend.I spend very little on gardening and my produce is enough to for my family and friends .
    Home decorating?Look at the pathetic decorating pictures .Some blogers make good money with advertising.We are all individuals ,we create our homes with our means,to make us comfortable,to bring us joy,security.We do not need some jerks telling us what will make
    us happy.


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