Every year we welcome new readers to this site. They might be signing up to Zero Waste Week for the first time, or curious about how to get started on their own journey.
But many readers have been loyal, engaged followers for over a decade. And we all know that although we might have been doing this work for years, there’s no time to rest on our laurels because there are always ways to improve things and up our game.
So today I’m inviting you to think outside the (recycling) box and see how you could live even more sustainably. Perhaps you’ve got your food waste down to zero, have swapped all your disposables for reusables and are wondering how else you could reduce your waste. Here are a few ideas, and please do add yours to the comments below!
Reach out and help your community
Community is more important now than ever, what with Covid restrictions keeping us in lockdown and forcing many into isolation. But that doesn’t mean you can’t help your neighbours and connect over a common cause. Household recycling centres are opening up again, so why not offer to take a neighbour’s recycling for them. By offering to help you’re also sowing seeds and ‘normalising’ recycling behaviour.
Be an armchair activist
If you’re stuck at home, make use of your time by putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) and write some letters. We all know that while our small actions do add up, we need collective change to make the massive impact. So contact your local MP, local council or supermarket and make suggestions to improve packaging and recycling facilities in your area. Or browse some of the government petitions that are getting a lot of interest.
Another upside to the recent lockdown is that many people have time on their hands to learn new skills. You could learn to sew, knit, mend simple electricals or get to grips with upcycling furniture. When you learn to take care of the things you have, there becomes less to throw away.
Green up your sex life
I was inspired by a conversation I had with someone this week about a little-discussed, yet massively important area of our lives – between the sheets! From sex toys, to contraception to lube, our sex life is screwing with the planet. Now don’t get me wrong, it’s far better to throw a used condom in landfill (please don’t flush) and there’s nothing you can do about packaging from the pill – because, let’s face it- the worst thing we can do for the environment is bring unplanned children into the world. However, there are a couple of things you can do, such as recycle old dildos as WEEE (oh yes you can), make your own lube (there are tonnes of videos and blog posts on the internet with recipes) and look for so-called ‘sustainable’ condoms (you can technically compost these at home!)
Get stuff for free
Every day your postman brings a myriad of valuable items to your door. I’m not talking about the contents of your post, but the actually packaging. If you carefully cut open envelopes, jiffy bags, plastic bags and save those annoying rubber bands, you’re saving a lot of waste packaging from being landfilled / recycled and you’re saving yourself a lot of money. I haven’t bought new supplies for over a decade – preferring to reuse what I get sent every week! I’ve even collected so much stuff over the years that I occasionally box it up and offer on Freecycle, so other people can reuse too.
Just Do It
There might be unused items around your home that you don’t know what to do with. Do the research and rid your home of that clutter; you know you’ll feel so much better for it. Whether it’s a car battery, tin of paint, old prescription glasses, contact lenses, redundant mobile phones or laptop, there will most likely be a solution. You can ask on my Facebook page, where our brilliant community will help you!
What about you? What would you suggest?