Day 20: Audit Your Waste

This post is part of the 21 Days to a Manlier Green series

Trash, CanReducing and shifting your consumption is the best way to reduce waste.

Some people have gone to the extreme of living a Zero Waste Life. This kind of lifestyle takes a lot of change and adapting. It is not a switch you can make over night.

I am not suggesting that everyone needs to go zero waste. Rather, I would like people to start reducing their waste.

It is, however, sometimes hard to realize how much we are wasting, day-to-day.

Today, audit your waste. I want you to keep every bit of paper, plastic, metal, and food waste that you generate for the entire day. All of it (except anything that is a health risk… use your imagination).

At the end of the day, review all of your waste and ask yourself

  • What could I have avoided. How?
  • What can I recycle?
  • What can I compost?
  • What can I reuse?

Living a greener life is about living a life where you are more aware.

Each day, we waste without thinking. The receipt we receive when we buy coffee? That paper is a waste. Paper napkins used at lunch? Waste that could have been avoided with a cloth napkin. The packaging of a mid-afternoon snack? Waste.

Composting turns wasted food back into plant food. Ideally, however, you still want to reduce the amount of food waste because the composting of food waste releases methane, a greenhouse gas 25x more impactful than CO2.

Recycling helps conserve materials, but energy is still required to recycle those materials. It would be better to have avoided the waste in the first place.

Reusing something is great, but there comes a point when you can find no more uses for plastic containers, which you should be avoiding in the first place – How to Live a Plastic Free Life.

Today, audit your waste. Keep everything you would throw away, compost, or recycle.

Review it, post a picture of everything below, and let us know what you are thinking after your audit.