Green Lifestyle

Published on November 19th, 2020 | by Scott Cooney


5 innovative and simple waste reduction strategies

Waste is dumb. So let’s get rid of it shall we? With the boom in simplification and decluttering we’re seeing across the country from the “Does it spark joy?” movement, what are some ways that we can use less and still achieve more? Here, I’ve assembled some innovative and simple strategies to declutter your life and maintain your quality of living.

Plastic bags

They suck, but let’s face it, they’re useful. As long as the zip seal is good, and it should be able to be used many times, these can be washed and dried and reused. I have several ziplocs that I’ve used more than 10x each.


Vegetable stems and such

This one is easy – Take the stems, twigs, leaves…anything that’s not the ‘eating part’ of a plant. Then boil them, and make some veggie broth. Sure you can add bouillon or miso to it later, but there’s still a lot of nutrients in those plant parts that you can extract with boiling to make a soup stock.


Think rechargeable! Here, you can see some common electronics that have their own rechargeable battery. This is simple. The more challenging thing is the ones that have disposable batteries.
For these, I keep the plastic containers the rechargeable batteries came in, and mark the top and bottom with whether they’re charged up or not.

Twist ties and rubber bands

So many things come with twist ties or rubber bands or both, that we often just chuck them. But then…you need one, and it’s frustrating, because your choice is to reach into the trash, or buy a bag of rubber bands! Silly. So keep a little bin in your kitchen drawer for these. With twist ties, you can actually cut them. Lettuce and other veggies often come with huge twist ties – I cut these into segments that are usable for cords, cables, wires, etc.

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About the Author

Scott Cooney (twitter: scottcooney) is an adjunct professor of Sustainability in the MBA program at the University of Hawai'i, green business startup coach, author of Build a Green Small Business: Profitable Ways to Become an Ecopreneur (McGraw-Hill), and developer of the sustainability board game GBO Hawai'i. Scott has started, grown and sold two mission-driven businesses, failed miserably at a third, and is currently in his fourth. Scott's current company has three divisions: a sustainability blog network that includes the world's biggest clean energy website and reached over 5 million readers in December 2013 alone; Pono Home, a turnkey and franchiseable green home consulting service that won entrance into the clean tech incubator known as Energy Excelerator; and Cost of Solar, a solar lead generation service to connect interested homeowners and solar contractors. In his spare time, Scott surfs, plays ultimate frisbee and enjoys a good, long bike ride. Find Scott on

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