It can be easy to build up waste over time between coffee cups, plastic bags, food containers, water bottles and all the other things we go through on a daily basis. This stuff is everywhere, it’s usually more convenient, and finding a reusable option isn’t always on the top of our minds. It is easier to recycle now, but there’s always more we can do. These are some simple ways to reuse that don’t require too much effort and will make you feel good!
My focus has always been on finding ways to replace disposable things with reusable things. Once you start paying attention, you start to realise how much waste you go through day to day. All it takes is a few simple steps to start making a difference, so here are four simple ways that I reuse!
4 simple ways to reduce and reuse
1. Ditch the disposable coffee cup
Considering I try a lot of coffee from a lot of different shops specifically for this blog, I’m guaranteed to build up a mountain of throw-away cups over time. Many coffee shops offer compostable coffee cups, but these don’t necessarily find their way to a compost pile. I started to feel increasingly guilty about all the cups I was throwing away, so I invested in a reusable one. If you get your coffee to go regularly, just think about the number of disposable cups you go through in a year. Now consider that for all of those cups, you could be using just one!
I decided to go for a KeepCup because they’re designed to fit perfectly under the barista’s coffee machine, at the same height as a regular take away cup. You can mix and match the colours and even go for a glass one if you want something a bit more fancy. But it doesn’t have to be a KeepCup, there are loads of brands and loads of designs that you can choose from.
To make things even better, more and more coffee shops are offering a discount to those who bring their own reusable cup to the store, so it will save you money too!
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2. Reusable sandwich wrap
I first heard about reusable beeswax wrap online and thought it was more of a concept than something you can actually buy. I thought it was cool, but I wasn’t sure it would be something I’d get a lot of use out of. Fast forward a few months and I realise that every time I bring a sandwich to work, it’s always wrapped in clingfilm or tinfoil that then gets thrown away. Sometimes I’d use a lunch box but it was bulky in my bag and my food never fit right.
Then, while browsing a kitchenware shop in Dublin I found it – Beeswrap sandwich wrap. It was a little pricey at almost €15, but I decided if I’d use it often enough it would be worth the investment. Beeswrap is simple to use, it’s made from beeswax and it’s quite thick and very pliable, meaning you can use it in lots of different ways. It will be most effective for about a year. I also think my sandwich just looks lovely all wrapped up!
I got mine at The Kitchen Whisk on Wicklow Street for €14.95.
3. Bringing my own water bottle
First of all, let me draw your attention to this video with a very important (hilarious) message about bottled water. I really, really resent paying ridiculous prices just to be able to drink some water, so having a bottle to refill already has a big bonus. A lot of people have their own water bottle that they use every day, probably more for convenience than anything else, but it still means that there are that many less plastic water bottles being thrown away. It cuts down on waste and saves money since most people can refill them at school, college, work, and at home.
If you find yourself buying bottles of water a little too often and you want to start bringing your own, make it a considered purchase and get a reliable bottle that won’t leak in your bag, that’s not too heavy when empty, and something you won’t find awkward or bulky. This means you’ll be much more likely to continue using it.
4. Remembering the bags for life
I’m almost certain everyone has a few reusable shopping bags around the place, all purchased after you forgot to bring the one you already own to the shop with you. Having plastic bags hanging around the house is annoying, but buying a new bag for life every time you go to the shop is also not ideal. The key is remembering them, but remembering them can be hard!
My advice is to leave them somewhere you’ll actually see them as you’re heading out the door, or if you usually drive to the shops, keep them in the boot of the car. I picked up one of mine in New York from my favourite bookshop, and the fact that I actually love the bag means I’m more likely to remember it because I want to bring it.
What do you do to cut down on waste? I’d love to hear more ways to reuse!
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Some useful links for helping you to reuse:
- You can find a list of cafes and businesses all over Ireland that will give you a discount when you bring your own cup here on MelanieMay.com. There are lots of great spots, my favourites are Bean in Dingle and Coffeewerk + Press in Galway.
- Here is the handy map from the Conscious Cup Campaign to help you find a coffee spot near you with a bring-your-own discount.
- Take a look at some ideas from the European Week for Waste Reduction website.
Thank you to Mike Andrews for his help with some of the photos in this blog post!
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This is not a sponsored post, everything mentioned was bought by me.