Although the goal of a zero waste lifestyle is to completely eliminate household garbage, even attempting to get as close to zero as possible will make a positive change in your home and the environment. Here are 10 tips to help you do just that.
1 - Refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot
These five steps for living zero waste were created by writer and activist Bea Johnson. The principles are simple – refuse what you don’t need, reduce what you use, reuse whatever you can, recycle where possible, and ‘rot’ or compost what’s left over.
2 - Consume less
When you feel the urge to buy something, ask yourself if you really need it. Could you buy it second hand or borrow from a friend? Waiting 24 hours before purchasing an item is a good way to reduce impulse buying.
3 - Buy in bulk
Buying food items in bulk at your local co-op or farmers market saves money and packaging. Use glass jars or containers, or make cloth bags from old sheets to store dry goods like pasta or rice.
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4 - Purchase loose products
When shopping at the supermarket, opt for loose fruit and vegetables rather than those wrapped in plastic. If you really need a bag for smaller items such as baby spinach leaves or green beans, use the small paper bags designated for mushrooms, or larger brown paper bags from the bakery section.
5 - Refuse promotional items
It’s hard to resist free promotional items such as pens, t-shirts and plastic cups, but the reality is they are often poorly made and end up in landfill.
6 - Use eco-friendly toilet paper
Use 100% recycled toilet paper or bamboo toilet paper individually wrapped in paper. Our eco-friendly toilet paper comes in a big box of 36 so will last you for months.
7 - Takeaway the eco way
As well as using reusable containers for bringing your lunch to work, or for snacking on the go, take them when you go to eat out at restaurants. If you have leftovers, you can pop them in your own containers rather than taking the flimsy one-use plastic containers often used at restaurants.
8 - Cut down on clothes shopping
Shop seasonally four times a year to reduce impulse buying and try to buy second hand or vintage where you can. Stick to a minimal capsule wardrobe – this has the added benefit of giving you a clear space and less decisions to make when getting dressed.
9 - Opt for natural bed linen
When replacing bedsheets and pillowcases, opt for natural materials that will compost at the end of their lifespan such as wool, cotton and bamboo.
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10 - Look for alternatives to disposables
Swap paper towels for reusable rags, swap sandwich bags for beeswax wraps or stainless or glass containers, and paper napkins for cloth napkins.