Being 'zero waste' can be defined as sending no waste to landfill. This would mean reusing, composting and recycling absolutely everything that you ever use and buy, including all packaging. The planet is drowning in pollution as a result of the convenience throwaway culture we've all become accustomed to. In a ridiculously epic design flaw, convenience products and materials are often made from plastic and other chemical-based properties, and are not biodegradable. A huge amount ends up in landfill or polluting landscapes and oceans.
As many of us are becoming more aware of the problem and causes, we are striving to adopt a more zero waste lifestyle by investing in reusable products and avoiding as much single use packaging as possible. There are a number of easy changes you can make right away to significantly reduce your own single use waste. Here are ten to get you started!
1. Stock up on 'out and about' reusable products
Invest in some useful reusable items to take out with you every day which will enable you to complete avoid single-use takeaway packaging. For example a coffee cup, water bottle, straws, cutlery, shopping bags, and food containers. Browse our range of eco essentials here.
2. Create a packageless pantry
Food packaging causes a huge amount of waste - most of which is plastic. It's heartbreaking when you're trying to be environmentally friendly to then be faced with mountains of packaged food items with no obvious way of avoiding them.
Fortunately, new zero waste / bulk buy shops (bricks & mortar and online stores) are opening up across the country offering an alternative shopping experience to general supermarkets, where you can buy fresh and dried produce and many household items packaging free or at least in biodegradable packaging. Many supermarkets are also starting to offer loose fresh fruit & vegetables, plus there are many farms who deliver to your door packaging-free and local farmers markets and shops.
To create a packageless pantry, stock up on glass jars. As things like pasta, cereals, nuts, and spices run out, head to bulk buy shop and buy produce to fill up your jars. Reusable produce bags, bulk food bags and bread bags can help you on your packageless pantry endeavours.
3. Switch to a bamboo toothbrush
Toothbrushes made from bamboo with nylon 4 bristles are 100% compostable and biodegradable. So you can brush in the knowledge that when you're done with your toothbrush, you can dispose of it in your garden or compost bin and it will not exist forever in landfill or the ocean like many plastic toothbrushes. We stock a range of bamboo toothbrushes for adults and children.
4. Make your own cleaning products
Soapberries and DIY cleaning recipes and kits offer a great natural alternative to supermarket cleaning products that are packaged in plastic and often full of harsh chemicals. We have used our own mixtures for a while at home now (we will share these soon) and can confirm you can get as effective results as with the 'proper' stuff.
5. Use reusable wipes & towels
Stock up on small towels and keep them around the house as an alternative to paper kitchen roll, cosmetic and baby wipes. There are some lovely products out there now in bamboo and organic cotton.
6. Say no to plastic bags
Keep reusable shopping, produce and bread bags in your car and bags and you will be able to avoid plastic bags forever more. Supermarkets are also increasingly offering 'pack without bags' as an option for home delivery. Browse our range of reusable bags here.
7. Supply your own containers
If you're getting a takeaway one evening or a take out lunch or breakfast, see if you can provide your own containers to avoid having to be given multiple takeaway boxes (many of which are plastic). Sometimes it is impossible to avoid (without ditching the takeaway all together), if this is the case wash the containers and keep them as they could be useful for your pantry or for freezing food. Browse our range of food containers here.
8. Make your own 'convenience' foods
There are many things you can easily make at home to cut out packaging. For example - simple soups, bread, hummus, 'canned' tomatoes, and pesto can be made in bulk and frozen. For the more adventurous chefs among us things like pasta, naan, ice creams, cakes and dips and spreads would also all cut out packaging. We find making something every day and having a rotation of slow cooking / blending / freezing / getting the bread maker out etc, and constantly topping up the fridge and freezer with these every day goodies, can significantly reduce the amount of household waste you create.
9. Switch to reusable tea bags
Most teabags are made using plastic and even though many of us put them in the compost and rubbish bin, they will never fully degrade and will leave behind the plastic shell that holds them together. We stock a fantastic reusable tea bag or you could opt for a tea strainer instead.
10. Use bar soaps
Use bar soaps around your home and avoid plastic bottles and pumps. You can get fantastic natural soaps for all occasions now - for hands, body, face and even hair shampoo and conditioning soaps. They are often much nicer to use than chemical-ridden supermarket brands, smell divine and come wrapped in paper so they are better for you and for the environment. Browse our range of soap bars here.