Let’s be honest… Trying to reduce waste around the home can sometimes seem like quite the challenge and other times it can simply seem unavoidable! The truth is that, yes, trying to go zero-waste all at once will likely end in a lot of frustration, but even trying one small step at a time can mean a really big difference and will certainly increase your chances of a more sustainable lifestyle in the long run! That’s why we’re going to break it all down the best we can and not only share a couple of super easy eco-swaps, but also all of our top tips for a zero waste home & kitchen!
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly” - Anne Marie Bonneau
The Big One - Plastic Packaging!
When it comes to doing the food shopping, you shouldn’t have to change all of your old habits at once… Simply start by choosing fruit and veg without the packaging, be conscious of the more eco-friendly options and avoid plastic whenever possible. You could bring your own produce bags if you like, or just skip on the small single-use plastic ones that are usually on offer. When you have some spare time, try researching supermarkets close to you that are trying to offer more food with less packaging. If you have a bulk/refill shop near you, give it a visit and be aware of what sort of stuff it sells. Also look into farmers markets, dedicated veg shops or veg box subscriptions! Something a little different could be trying to make your own dairy free milks - our favourite is oat milk!
Don’t Rely On Recycling!
Admittedly, when buying food and drinks, it can be quite easy to say “but it’s recyclable” or “I can always recycle it”, but don’t forget the “R” that is perhaps the most important - Reduce! First ask yourself if you really need it and then think about more eco-friendly alternatives. Aluminium for example is infinitely recyclable without loss of quality, whilst plastic is only ever down-cycled and often times shipped half way around the world only to end up in illegal landfills, or even in the ocean. Another good option is to choose products made from recycled materials (not just recyclable materials) as they typically have a lower carbon footprint and do not require extraction of raw materials - for example cutting down trees.
A Third Of Food Is Wasted!
Most people do a weekly food shop, which is probably a good thing - it encourages you to use what you already have… But, on the other hand, buying more frequently can mean only buying what you need, so there’s probably a good balance in there somewhere... Either way, we still find ourselves throwing out food scraps and the occasional out of date item, so we’ve been looking into home composting A LOT lately! Not only will our back garden thank us for it, but the planet will too! Because food sent to land fill emits green house gases whilst a compost heap actually captures them!
Dealing With Dirty Laundry!
Washing clothes before they actually need to be can be a really bad habit - not to mention a massive waste of water! Plus, all of the chemicals that could enter waterways due to using an unnatural washing powder? Thankfully, there are all-natural options available, and chances are they’ll be available at your local refill shop!
Not only that - synthetic clothing like nylon and polyester is notorious for shedding plastic microfibres down the drain, so we've stepped away from buying, washing and even wearing them as much as possible. However, for the few items that we've held on to, we were able to switch to using a “Guppy Friend”, which is basically a big mesh bag that catches the plastic fibres.
And lastly, tumble dryers can be a complete waste of electricity, when most of us could actually be opting for a clothes line or rack instead, and save some money too!
Move Away From Microfibres!
You might be surprised to hear what other items around your home contains plastic quite possibly unknowingly! Synthetic sponges for example can shed plastic microfibres down the drain as well, but another issue with them is that they don't biodegrade! Using all natural products such as Maistic's kitchen scrubber can be quite simply chucked in your compost at the end of it's life instead of piling up in a landfill... Better yet, you could repurpose some old cotton clothing into cloths, and likewise for reusable wax wraps as a replacement to clingfilm.
When It Comes To Cleaning…
If you have a cupboard full of cleaning supplies in your home, here's an absolute game changer for you! Did you know that you can replace them all with just two or three things?
Use 1 part white vinegar with 1 part warm water for counters, floors and dishes. You can even infuse it with citrus peels for a nice, fresh smell. For stubborn dirty dishes and even toilets, use white vinegar with bicarbonate soda. For granite or marble surfaces, you're better off using a castile soap though - 1 table spoon of castile soap with roughly 235ml warm water. All of these should be available at your local zero waste / refill shop, so you can get them plastic-free. And, if you're not quite ready to make a switch like this, you'll likely be able to refill all of your everyday cleaning supplies anyway, including a full range of all purpose cleaners, washing up liquids, laundry detergents and fabric conditioners!
“Buy Cheap, Buy Twice”
The saying is tried and true… Buying quality products can mean that they last you a lifetime, and buying stuff that’s built to last can often mean a guarantee. But don’t think that you should always have to spend more £££! Sure, choose well and make it last, but even better if you can buy second hand or borrow before you buy! And if something breaks, can it be repaired or repurposed?
Single Use Swaps!
Anything single-use quite simply creates a lot of waste… Drinks bottles, coffee cups, cutlery, cling film, paper towels, disposable razors, make up wipes and even sanitary products can all be easily swapped for reusables! Honestly - the list goes on!
Trying to go zero waste yourself and have a tip of your own? Leave a comment below to let us know!