Reducing the amount of waste your family creates on a daily basis is important for the environment, helps preserve resources and saves you money. If you’re new to the zero waste journey, here are eight simple ways to reduce your waste, without reducing your quality of life. And if you’ve fallen off the bandwagon recently, you can use this article as an excuse to go back to basics and revisit the fundamentals!
Stop buying bottled water.
Many people buy bottled water for convenience, but a million plastic bottles are sold every minute around the world, and only a small percentage are recycled.
One of the simplest swaps you can make is to get a reusable water bottle. Not everybody enjoys the taste of tapwater, so a high-quality water filter can be placed on your counter and filled to remove undesirable tastes and taints. You can then use this to fill your reusable water bottle, and take it wherever you go.
Compost your scraps.
Throwing food waste in a landfill site, not only releases methane – a potent greenhouse gas – into the environment, but you’re throwing away a valuable resource too.
Instead consider composting, whether it’s conventional composting, or just starting a wormery or bokashi bin. The compost you make can be used around your garden to provide plants with nutrients they need to thrive, or used for your house plants.
Use reusable shopping bags.
One of the first changes we made at home was to stop using plastic disposable carrier bags, after realising the harm they were causing to marine life. if you have a collection of carrier bags already in your home, start reusing them or recycling them. Many large supermarkets now recycle them, and some even buy them back from you! If you’re out of plastic bags, consider making your own fabric bags that can be used again and again. Morsbags have a free pattern for this.
Re-purpose jars and containers.
Glass jars and plastic containers that foods are brought in can often be reused. Many containers and jars can be used for storage, as drinkware, or simply to organise items within your home. This keeps them out of landfill and gives everything a second life, plus you get a neat and tidy home!
Stop wasting food.
Food waste is a massive problem, yet it is one of the simplest areas of waste to avoid. Many people don’t realise that leftovers can be used in new dishes in interesting ways. Leftover vegetables can be put into a soup, or leftover meat can be added to a salad to up the protein in a meal. You can even just take leftovers to work as your lunch the next day. Reducing food waste is not only better for the environment, but can save you a lot of money to.
Shop bulk bins.
Many stores now offer shoppers the ability to purchase items without packaging from bulk bins. By using your own containers you can buy the exact amount of product that you need. Grains, nuts, flour, pasta, and even cleaning products can be purchased this way. It’s a brilliant way to avoid excess packaging.
Stop using paper towels.
Most people have at least one roll of paper towel in the kitchen, but this single-use product can be so wasteful and is often unnecessary. Instead of using paper towels, cut up old cotton items such as holey bedding or stained t-shirts as rags. These rugs can be washed again and again and do not contribute to global waste. By making this switch, you’ll be reducing your paper footprint and helping protect forests at the same time. One statistic I read suggested that if every household in the U.S. used just one less 70-sheet roll of paper towels, that would save 544,000 trees each year!
Take part in World Refill day.
World Refill Day (June 16th) is a global public awareness campaign to prevent plastic pollution and help people live with less waste. City to Sea, the organisation behind the campaign will be mapping all the locations where you can access refill and reuse options on their free Refill App. To take part, take a selfie of you and your reusable bottle, cup or container and tell the world you’re taking action on plastics by choosing to reuse this #WorldRefillDay It’s a brilliant way to find out what others are up to and to feel part of a growing movement!
You don’t have to make all of these changes at once to make an impact on the amount of waste your home creates. Start with one or two things and gradually progress until you feel good about being part of the solution! And I’d love to know which simple steps you would advise someone just starting out to make…