5 ways you can reduce waste

Here are small changes you can make to reduce waste in your house.

Video Transcript

KRISTOPHER JUNIEL: Over the years, I've definitely tried to live a little bit more sustainably. These are a few things that I've done to help reduce waste and save a little bit of money. Food waste is a big issue in a of households. When it comes to produce and leftovers, we tend to waste a lot of food. Here are some ways you can reduce food waste in your kitchen.

Whenever I'm preparing vegetables, I keep a bowl like this on hand to catch all those scraps. Of course, you can compost scraps like these. But you can also save this for the next time you're ready to make soup or broth. Save the scraps for your celery or herbs like parsley. Those are great for juicing and smoothies.

You may not have an immediate need for scraps like this. So go ahead and store it. You can use, like, a plastic container or a freezer-proof bag. These will last for a couple of months in the freezer. You can pull it out the next time you're ready to make soup or stock. I like to package up leftovers like these in freezer-proof containers. That way, if I need a quick meal on the go during the week, they are already ready to go.

Once you use your scraps to make a broth, you can freeze it. Or, for smaller portions, you can freeze it in ice cube trays. That way, you can grab a little bit of time. I think we've all been taught that, when you trim up vegetables and prepare them for your meal that what's left over is just trash. But it isn't. It can be used for so much more in the kitchen.

And if you don't have an immediate need for it, go ahead and save it anyways. You can use it in the future so that, next time you're ready to make something, you have some in the freezer ready to go. When I'm at the grocery store, I tend to go for the convenient items, the food items that I'm familiar with, when there's other options out there more sustainably packaged or without packaging at all, like bulk food items, that will be a lot better if you're looking to reduce the amount of waste you're creating.

Here's how you can make smarter, more sustainable purchases by buying in bulk. Dry goods are great to buy in bulk. You can actually just buy the amount you want. That'll help reduce waste. Or if you buy a large amount, put it in a reusable container. And these will last a long time in your pantry. Save used spice jars and repurpose those for new spices you buy in bulk. To keep your bulk purchases fresh, use air-sealed containers, like a repurposed Mason jar or airtight containers.

It may be tempting to buy prepackaged produce. But that comes with extra packaging. And it's actually cheaper to buy loose produce, like loose herbs and loose vegetables. A smart alternative for reducing waste is just to choose looseleaf teas. You'll save on the packaging from individual tea bags. Buying in bulk is a great way to save money and help reduce waste.

Take a look at what you buy regularly. And see what you can swap out for bulk purchase. I eat a lot of rice. I love rice. So I tend to buy that in larger quantities. So that way, I can store it in my own airtight containers. And I waste less. And I always have rice on hand. Making the choice to live a little bit more sustainably can sometimes seem like a hassle. But these are some quick swaps to reduce waste around the house.

I keep a drawer of towels like these right next to my sink so that way I use these instead of paper towels. You can switch to cotton pads like these for makeup or face care. These are an easy swap that are sustainable and create less trash. Making a small switch to something like this bar shampoo, you may realize you like it a lot better than the traditionally-packaged shampoo.

Even if you have a traditional coffeemaker, purchase a reusable filter to avoid the need for disposable filters. I've transitioned to these reusable bags, which are way better than those disposable ones. And finally, I switched to silicone baking mats instead of foil or parchment paper. I am no master of sustainability. But I've decided to make some swaps, like these towels instead of paper towels, and these bags, which I love, that are reusable. And I'm also saving money.

Instead of spending money on coffee filters and regular disposable bags, I have an option that I can wash and reuse. And I'm helping the environment just a little bit. Under your cabinet could be full of different cleaning products, those disposable wipes, and other cleaning solutions. But instead of buying that, instead of wasting all that space on different bottles and containers, use what you already have on hand to make your own DIY cleaner. It's really easy. And what's great is these are natural solutions instead of those chemical solutions that you can purchase in the store.

This is an easy way to use stuff already in your house to make DIY cleaning wipes. You'll need hydrogen peroxide or isopropyl alcohol. White distilled vinegar is great for cleaning around the house. Castile soap, a sealable airtight container, and some reusable rags. Mix your ingredients together, a few drops of the soap.

Just poor enough to saturate your rags. This is great. Because they'll be ready whenever you need to clean. You can use the same ingredients to make an all-purpose cleaning spray. Just pour it into a spray bottle. As long as you have a sealed container, these will stay wet. So just pour in enough liquid to soak these. And that's all you need. And it's a good idea to protect your hands. Wear gloves when you're cleaning.

I like using these ingredients to make my own DIY cleaners. You can make glass cleaner with these as well as surface cleaners. And what's great is you can control what products, what ingredients are being used around your house instead of chemical sprays that you can purchase from the store. I would avoid using bleach as a cleaner. Mixing that can produce harmful chemicals. So I'd like to avoid it altogether, just use what I have on hand.

These wipes are so convenient to use. The spray is great. You can clean up your messes any time you have them. Doing dishes in the sink can actually waste a lot of water. This is how to get the most out of your dishwasher to save some water.

It's actually better to do a load of dishes nightly. The dishwasher will recirculate water, which traditionally uses less water than washing by hand in the sink. Also avoid the need to pre-rinse your dishes. Your dishwasher actually is made to wash them without the need for pre-rinsing them. Stagger utensils so they don't nest in each other. If all the utensils are facing the same direction, they won't get as clean.

Dishwashers either have a disposal or a filter at the bottom. That'll collect all the food that comes off of your dishes. Make sure to clean this out regularly. For large-basin sinks, fill up a tub of water. That will reduce your need to clean dishes under running water. Dishwashers are way more efficient than wasting running water, doing them by hand. And that frees you up all that time to do other things.

I also like to accumulate my dishes in the dishwasher throughout the day. That way, I can just run it at night and not have to worry about it the next morning. I have a full dishwasher full of clean dishes. And I didn't have to spend time wasting water or at the sink scrubbing them all. So clean dishes, all you need to use is your dishwasher.

Being sustainable is not about being perfect. It's just about making some conscious decisions about what you do. And you'll probably find out that you like these methods a little bit better. I found out that I like some of these things way better than the traditional way. So reducing waste, saving some money, will help the environment. And you'll live a little bit better.