reasons to try reducing your waste
Photo by Phoenix Han
Author: Adelia Favret
Did you know, the average Canadian generates 4 pounds of trash each day? Bare Market Blogger Adelia Favret takes us through how we can do better and why we should want to.
Scrolling through websites these days, we are bombarded with tons of information - about our friends, our interests, our world. What happens when we encounter something that strikes a chord with us? Is that the start to personal change?
I often wonder this when scrolling through Instagram or Facebook, where someone has shared a video of a plastic-polluted river or polar bears struggling to find ice. Personally, my motivation manifested itself when I learned that the average Canadian produces an estimated four pounds of trash per day, approximately 1700 pounds per year. Grossed out, I dug deeper; plastic dependency is a disease to our planet, that ultimately leads to our excessive waste and pollutes our personal health and that of our shared environment.
Moved by the findings of my research online, especially these key environmental advocacy websites and articles: this sheet on plastic pollution, Eco Watch’s shocking list of plastic-pollution facts, and organizations like Greenpeace, I began to question, how we can try to do better and more importantly why should we want to try. Luckily, I found most inspiration and guidance from a friend already on the waste-reduction journey.
Humble beginnings count!
“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” - Lao Tzu
My friend Tamara is a third-year university student in Toronto, and is a seasoned low-waster. She describes some challenges in the practice, but her motto is “Just because you can’t solve a problem doesn’t mean you should be a problem”. It is tempting to not bother with changing our lifestyle, especially when the challenges we face like climate change seem so big and we are so small. Our collective effort and tiny steps make the biggest difference! Tamara notes that the biggest challenge she faces is trying to meet all her needs when so many everyday items are sold in plastic. It can be argued that most people use single-use plastics because of cost and convenience. However, she adds that the benefits always outweigh the difficulties because planning her day well leaves her with a sense of accomplishment and has given her some unforeseen benefits. Tamara’s key lesson, start small and continue to make incremental changes as time goes on. Eventually, she says the learned lifestyle benefits are great, such as:
Healthier eating habits
Opting to go the low-waste route often makes grocery shopping a whole lot simpler and healthier. Choosing package-free foods means a lot of produce and bulk! Staying on the outside lanes of the grocery store. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and simple snacks will be the staples.
Life might just get simpler with less belongings
Avoiding packaging in every sense makes each shopping decision a little more thoughtful. Choosing reusables over single-use items leads to saving money in the long run while supporting more local businesses and buying higher quality goods or packages! Having less stuff in your life in general might just bring about a sense of peace in a home with less clutter. Living while mindfully trying to produce less waste makes every purchase a thought-out decision, so...
You’ll save your hard-earned cash
While most of the plastic things we purchase are in fact cheaper than their reusable counterparts, their lifespan is nil. Over time, using reusables and leaning towards bulk items will lead to less frequent purchases and greater savings in your wallet. Bulk items tend to be cheaper as they have no packaging and luckily, many products we use in our daily lives are already available in bulk from food to toiletries. It takes some planning, but it’s possible!
It may seem overwhelming at first, but as long as you have the intention and give it a shot, you’re making a difference! Why not give it a try? Even if you don’t have your own Tamara, perhaps you can be somebody else’s.
For some easy tips to get started, recommendations, and product reviews, check out the Bare Market Blog or get to a Bare Market Pop-Up Shop near you!
About the author: Adelia is a fourth year student at Ryerson University in Toronto with a passion for the environment, music and travel. She’s very excited to be collaborating with Bare Market; as the first of its kind in Toronto (a package-free one-stop shop), she feels that Bare Market is building community and bringing folks across the city together. You can follow Adelia’s adventures at electriclia.co, or on instagram @electriclia.