Zero Waste can seem extremely daunting to those starting out. I know when I started looking at it, I was overwhelmed. I felt like there was just SO much to change, that I didn’t know where to start. But I’m here to help you with my 5 zero waste tips to get started on your journey to living a bit greener. Just remember, Zero Waste doesn’t have to be all or nothing. You don’t have to revamp every single aspect of your life. Just do as much as you can for what’s do-able and accessible to you. Here are my 5 zero waste tips:
Look In Your Bin
Something I did, and see recommended a lot is to look through your bin. Look at what you’re throwing away. Then consider what is called the Five R’s – In order: refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot (compost).
If there are things you’re often throwing way then try to reduce how much you purchase so that nothing gets wasted. Can you create a meal with or compost (Rot) those limp courgettes that got forgotten about in the fridge? Reuse or recycle glass jars (Tip – glass jars are awesome for bulk shopping).
Refuse to buy things packaged in single use plastic, or at the very least try to reduce it? Try and buy things unpackaged and in bulk where possible. Health food stores are usually great for this, as are farmers markets. Refuse unnecessary freebies and things like plastic cutlery and straws. Instead, bring your own in the form of reusable bamboo sporks and stainless steel straws.
I couldn’t possibly sit here and list all of the things you could do. Just take note and jot down your bin contents and sit down one evening to figure out how to make changes.
Invest In Reusable Bags
Plastic carrier bags create so much waste and are damaging to the environment. Since the introduction of the ‘5p tax’, it’s reported that usage of plastic carrier bags has dropped by a staggering 85%. It’s not necessary to use them when we have sustainable, reusable options for shopping bags. You can even get reusable fruit/veg bags, too!
Another thing to consider changing are the sandwich/snack bags you use. Before making changes, we would go through a roll of 100 plastic snack bags in a month. The bags would be used for sandwiches, sealing open packets and packing picnics. It shames me now to think how wasteful I was being. There are so many great reusable options for varying budgets. Check out my post on reusable food bags.
Try A Cotton Dishcloth
Conventional dishcloths and sponges just aren’t made to last.There are some cloths out there like microfibre that can be washed and reused but are bad for our waterways. Recently, Jo from Boobalou told me that when plastic derived products like microfibre and fleece are washed, tiny plastic particles are released into our water system. Unfortunately, the particles are too small to be caught in the washing machine filter.
Consider using a cotton dishcloth which can be washed and will last. I really recommend one by The Organic Company which can be purchased online from Boobalou.
Brush With Bamboo
Toothbrushes have a lifespan of approx 3 months, and cannot be recycled or composted. I don’t think I even need to give numbers for you to understand that there is a LOT of waste created from toothbrushes.
Many bamboo toothbrushes can be composted at the end of their life. Some of the bamboo brushes are completely biodegradable, but some are not, so check what the listing says when making a purchase. These Nordic bamboo toothbrushes* are 100% biodegradable and available in kids and adults.
Ditch The Plastic Straws
Every day in the USA, 500 million straws are used and thrown away every day. The mind boggles! I couldn’t find stats for the UK as a whole, but did find out that every day 3.5 million drinks are sold at McDonalds in the UK. Assuming every single person takes a plastic straw, it’s a staggering amount. Those are some pretty scary numbers.
But you can help change that by using a reusable straw. They’re available in stainless steel, glass and silicone, and come in varying sizes. I take mine out with me everywhere, in a little jute bag. The straws are so small and light that they don’t take up hardly any space in my bag.
(Use code ECOFLUFFYMAMA for 10% off at Babi Pur and EcoMama for 10% off at Boobalou)
What zero waste tips can you recommend for those just starting out? Let me know in the comments!