Small Steps, Big Savings: What You’re Wasting Most

Living more conservatively and adopting sustainable habits doesn’t have to be hard. Here are a few of the things we waste the most and how we can stop.

By Reader's Digest Editors

Living more conservatively and adopting sustainable habits doesn’t have to be hard. In a post at thenest.com, “Top Things You’re Wasting — and How to Stop,” editors compiled dozens of simple ideas for saving energy, water, trees, and more. So what are Americans excessively wasting? Here are a few of the things we waste the most and how we can stop:

Water: The price and usage of water varies considerably depending on where you live, though a survey by Circle of Blue, an international network devoted to the global freshwater crisis, claims all Americans should expect rising costs as sustainability continues to be a concern. In “The Price of Water: A Comparison of Water Rates, Usage in 30 U.S. Cities,” Circle of Blue suggests that people became accustomed to lower water prices and so fail to see there’s a connection between cost and sustainability. Preserving resources comes at a price.

Best ways to waste less?

  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth
  • Only run the dishwasher when it’s full
  • Do full loads of laundry, not a little here and there

Paper towels: Not only are disposable towels and napkins costly, but they contribute to landfill waste, polluting water and soil. Think about how often you reach for paper towels, then add in napkins and you’ll see how quickly a roll can disappear.

Best ways to waste less?
– Use cloth towels and reuse them until you absolutely have to launder them. Switching to cloth for cleaning up spills can save you up to $1,000 per year, according to growingagreenfamily.com.

Plastic bags:
The EPA estimates that just 9 percent of plastic bags are recycled, and each year the U.S. produces enough to cover the state of Texas, according to thenest.com, adding that most plastic bags are not biodegradable.

Best ways to waste less?

  • Purchase a reusable tote for grocery trips
  • Don’t double-bag in plastic if you find yourself tote-less and the only option’s plastic
  • Invest in a lunch bag (here are 6 lunch bags we love)

Disposable razors: Anyone shopping for razors at the drugstore knows how expensive these things are, and yet EPA estimates claim 2 billion blades end up in landfills annually. While no one’s suggesting you stop shaving, it’s clear more can be done to curb consumption.

Best ways to waste less?

  • Splurge on an electric razor. It will pay for itself in the long run
  • Preserve disposable blades by drying them out after each use

See the full list for six more most-wasted items at thenest.com.

Sources: thenest.com, growingagreenfamily.com, circleofblue.org

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