Samm's Top Five Ways to Reduce Consumption and Waste by Samantha Jakuboski, August 06 2015

Here are five top ways in which you can reduce your consumption and waste.

  1. Recycle!  Do I really have to elaborate on this one?
  2. Only purchase products and clothes that you need or absolutely love (You already have a dress like the one in Saks’ window, so keep walking!). Not only will you reduce unnecessary consumption, but you will value your possessions more and decrease the clutter in your home.
  3. Buy high quality products instead of cheaply made ones that are bound to break. Many companies today sell chintzy products with the belief that when they break, consumers will simply purchase new ones from them. Yes, the toaster from Williams-Sonoma may be more expensive that the substandard one from Ikea, but it is well made and will last you for years. Think of it as an investment.
  4. Shop at resale stores and websites, such as eBay and Craigslist. (You can even download phone apps to buy and sell used goods!) Second-hand stores are springing up all over the city, such as the San Francisco-based furniture resale store, Move Loot. If you are want to be more adventurous, get down and dirty and try dumpster-diving. People have been known to find some pretty cool gems while searching dumpsters, such as ornamentation from the FAO Schwarz store (which closed its 5th Avenue location last month, sigh) and set pieces from the recently ended Late Show with David Letterman. You never know what you will find!
  5. BYOB. Bring your own (reusable) bottle with you wherever you go to decrease your disposable plastic bottle consumption. Also, when going shopping—grocery, clothing, and everything in between— bring your own (reusable) bag. Don’t contribute to the ONE TRILLION plastic bags used worldwide every year (my heart raced when I read this statistic, no joke!).
  6. Compost. About one third of all the food produced in the world is wasted, and in the United States, food is the second most abundant constituent of landfills. At the landfills, the food releases methane, one of the leading greenhouse gases. Composting prevents this release of methane, and plus, your garden will never look so good, trust me!

Being more aware of our actions will guide us toward making better choices for the environment and the well-being of future generations. If we all work together to curb our consumption and waste, the benefits will be tremendous.