It was fantastic to see so many people taking part in Zero Waste Week, and there were so many inspiring, informative blogs to read! I have tried to include as many as possible, which is why it has taken me several days to write this post. No doubt I will have forgotten loads of other brilliant ones too, but here is a round-up of just some of my favourites…
Becster took part in my personal challenges I set. Yay, thank you for joining in! Read how she got on in the following posts:
See how The Real Meal Deal got on with their plastic-free day. They have also got posts about zero waste cleaning, make and mend Monday, the problem with plastics, and other fab posts!
Thoroughly Modern Grandma has lots of excellent posts, including how to achieve a zero waste party, tips for zero waste gardening, some of her favourite places to shop and her fave zero waste products, amongst other things.
Treading My Own Path has been plastic-free and living a zero waste lifestyle since 2012! She has tonnes of advice on her blog.
Emily at Grow Eat Gift wrote a post about 50 ways to go waste free for good, which has plenty of useful tips. She has also written other zero waste posts too, so do have a read through her lovely blog!
Inspire Create Educate has written about 7 ways you can ditch plastic. Also check out her post about reducing food waste too.
Pebble Mag has some interesting information and stats about plastic waste in their zero waste week article. Did you know 4 in 5 of us are now concerned about the amount of plastic we use? The message is certainly getting out there!
A Sustainable Life has plenty of tips for leading a sustainable(ish) lifestyle, including podcasts, free resources and a detailed e-guide.
No Serial Number are campaigning for plastic-free crafts, because they are concerned about the amount of plastics often currently used in crafts. Check them out!
I explained in my preparations post that just prior to Zero Waste Week I had already made some observations, noticed what my weak spots were/ are and started to make preparations to tackle them. I have mentioned some of these in various other posts, but here they are in more detail anyway…
Take Away Containers
We literally never eat out because Squiggle cannot cope with it. To make up for this, we probably get more than our fair share of take aways (we do usually opt for the same type of restaurants that most families would go to eat out though, and just order food to go, rather than actual fast food places!)
We would drastically reduce our waste if we took reusable containers with us. But we forget! So one of the things I have done to prepare for this week is to get some containers, and a reusable bag to put them in, to make a dedicated kit just for this purpose – in the hope that we will then remember to use them! But one of my challenges for this week (that I haven’t done yet!) is also to find out where will actually allow us to use them too, so I will see how I get on with that task!
Snacks in Packets and Wrappers
The issue of packet snacks, such as crisps, has come up alot in discussions throughout this week and is one of the main things I noticed in our rubbish to. My first thought for such items that currently have no alternative was to send them back to the manufacturer. It certainly helps to get the point across.
But if I sent them back what would they do with them… dump them in landfill anyway? So I have since had some other ideas; I could email the companies and ask what they will do with them beforehand. If they won’t recycle them I could get a Terra Cycle bin then send them the bill?! It is time the responsibility is put back to the manufacturers in some way I feel. Especially as these types of items are a common issue that keep cropping up.
I wonder what alternatives could be used? How could they be kept fresh? Could they be sold in zero waste shops?! This definitely needs more thought and further research!
Fruit and Veg
This was what inspired my shop thoughtfully, aka plastic-free packaging challenge. We used to be better at this one to be honest, but we have let it slide too much recently and it is a time we got back on track. Unfortunately, even the best laid plans sometimes go awry.
As I shared in my post yesterday, rather than reorder a fruit and veg box delivery from past companies I have used, which are usually low waste and plastic-free, I tried somewhere new. Big mistake! I have discovered a fab local place to visit with my reusable bags for next time we need more though, so I will do better next time. And if I need to order, I will stick to ones I can trust!
I wrote a long time ago about buying huge Faith in Nature containers for shampoo and conditioner because we don’t personally get on too well with bars. But buying in bulk – having the funds up front and space to store – isn’t very practical and consequently we didn’t really manage it. We always recycled our bathroom plastics but that is not the point. When I observed our rubbish throughout the house, all that plastic jumped out at me – and I felt guilty as it was very much on my ‘I know I need to tackle this but not got round to it’ list – you know the ones!
However, as I wrote about in my Zero Waste Week Bathroom post, we were able to finally switch our shampoo, conditioner, handwash and shower gel to plastic-free versions thanks to our new local zero waste shop. So that is brilliant news! Happy about that!
So that is where I currently am with my personal challenges. Some have turned out to be bigger tasks than perhaps I thought, or maybe it is more the case that once I got thinking about them fully I decided I would rather do it properly, to make lasting changes and impact, rather than just focus on getting it ‘done’ this week. Either way, implementing the changes may go beyond Zero Waste Week, but it will happen. And I shall keep you updated!
So now I get to tell you about some of the fabulous goodies we got from our local zero waste shop, The Refill Pantry, recently! They sell an excellent range of personal care items, which made it much easier to go plastic-free in the bathroom…
I already have a bamboo toothbrush, and I have used the same plastic disposable razor for a very long time that I will continue to use for as long as possible because it would be wasteful to throw it out otherwise, just because it is plastic! I don’t wear make up very often so doubt I will need to consider replacing that in the near future. I don’t use skincare products either; water for my face and coconut oil to moisturise my skin where needed, but that comes in a glass jar.
However, the rest of my bathroom products are a different story, so I made some simple switches…
Obviously I haven’t thrown out the plastic products we were using, because that would be pointless. It makes sense to use up anything we still have laying around, rather than discard it before it is empty. Once they are properly finished with, they will be put in recycling, not landfill though!
Also, I am still toying with plastic roll on deoderant at times at the moment, but I do have also have a cardboard Earth Conscious one that is effective! Toothpaste is tricky due to sensory issues, so I have decided not to tackle that at the moment. But let’s stay positive and focus on what improvements we have achieved…
So anyway, we now have reusable dispensers for our shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and handwash – yay!
When empty, they will be taken to our local zero waste shop to be refilled. Simple!
Now admittedly, it isn’t perfect, because these particular products do still come from plastic containers, but they are the biggest size they can get of course! And I have no doubt they are then recycled or even reused if possible. Bottom line is, if you prefer, or need, liquid rather than bars it is certainly much closer to zero waste!
So that is our bathroom… what plastics are lurking in yours?!
Hooray, Zero Waste Week has arrived! I am so proud, and very excited, to be an ambassador for this inspirational challenge! This year the focus is on reducing our use of (unnecessary) plastics.
Plastic has its uses. However, it is also designed to last for years, yet gets used for items that are only needed once for a few minutes! And much of our plastic packaging is excessive too. It is this reliance on single-use plastics and over-use of unnecessary plastic that we would like to reduce in particular.
The main concern with plastic is that it is not frequently recycled, and cannot be recycled many times over. Plastic is also not gentle on the environment either; it leaks toxic chemicals. It also breaks down into microplastics that harm our marine life and end up in our food chain. Not ideal.
There are lots of good reasons; caring about how we leave our planet for future generations, protecting our environment and saving wildlife, or saving money. Squiggle said it is important to be environmentally- friendly and not create landfill; it is just the right thing to do. That sounds like a good enough reason to me!
As I mentioned in my Zero Waste Week Challenges post a couple of days back, our preparations are well underway and I am excited to share them! I have been busy reflecting on our current waste, considering where our weak spots are, and then thinking about what we can improve on, and how. So here are some of the things we have already done in advance to prepare for Zero Waste Week…
Observing Our Current Waste Habits
I have yet to fill out an actual audit sheet for the day, but I did a general observation of what we are throwing away into landfill, in order to determine what actions we could take next. Now, I will admit one thing from the outset; we have been slacking abit lately. After Squiggle had a prolonged bout of poor mental health (anxiety issues) earlier this year, we let some things slide. We needed to. And I don’t feel guilty for that, but I do see this as an opportunity for us to get back on track.
Looking through my landfill waste, it tends to be food packets that dominate my bin. The quick, easy to grab snacks. Rice cakes and Quorn veggie sausage rolls are a couple of examples. The frustrating thing is though, these can not easily be switched for the same product in plastic- free packaging either, because it doesn’t exist. Yet. And that is why I also intend to send the rubbish we do accumulate this coming week back to the companies, to encourage this change.
A zero waste lifestyle goes hand in hand with healthy, clean eating. When we opt for convenience food, our landfill waste automatically goes up. But whilst healthy eating is ideal, sometimes there are actual reasons (not just excuses!) why someone may genuinely needto opt for convenience at times. So I feel companies should be prepared to make more effort with their packaging too!
Zero Waste Shopping
Other items are very easy to switch, and I started my shopping in advance so I would be ready to start the week off right! As well as stocking up supplies from our local zero waste shop (more about that in a later post!) I was also kindly sent some essentials to add to my zero waste kit…
If any of you watched my insta stories last week, you might have seen my eco fail! We went to Ikea, where Squiggle always gets a drink (it is literally the only place she gets one from, rather than just taking her own drink in her reusable cup from home!) We remembered our straw but forgot the lid is plastic too – doh! (And she does need a lid).
So when I spotted Klean Kanteen have a handy straw set that fits neatly onto their stainless steel cup, I thought how perfect it would be for Squiggle!
I also love their insulated bottle, which keeps drinks hot for 14 hours and iced for 48 hours. Very useful to make sure I actually find time to drink it… eventually! I adore the colour too!
Both the steel cup and the insulated bottle come in different sizes. Klean Kanteen also have an excellent range of other eco- friendly bottles, cups, tumblers, accessories and canisters. See the website: www.kleankanteen.co.uk
I had specific ideas for these fab containers from Elephant Box. But Squiggle spied them and claimed them as her own! To be fair, they are ideal for eating on the go, as she often has food from home while we are out, so it does make perfect sense!
The larger box is the Elephant Box. It is deep, big and sturdy, with a capacity of 1.8L. Good for big appetites! It is freezer safe so helps with tackling food waste by freezing it to use later. Price:£29.50
The Salad Box fits neatly inside the Elephant box, so handy for storing them when not in use, or for making compartments. The salad box has a capacity of 500ml and is perfect for sandwiches or snacks too! Price:£16
The concept of zero waste is an ideal, but is it realistic? Well, you decide just how far you can take it! The term ‘zero waste’ is frequently meant more as a journey than a destination itself. The key idea behind it is that as an individual, as a household, or even as a business, you actively try to reduce your waste, even if it is just one small thing at a time; it all helps!
With Zero Waste Week(founded by the lovely Rachelle Straus) looming in just a few short days, from 3rd – 7th September, I thought it would be fun to set some challenges of my own to help reduce landfill waste. And I would love for you to take part!
I have set 5 challenges in total, but you don’t have to complete every challenge to join in – do just one, some or all – it is up to you! Afterwards, let me know what you did – and how you got on – and I will share your stories (only if you would like me to obviously!) And of course I will be sharing how we get on too!
So here are the challenges…
Challenge 1 – Audit your waste
Spend a day recording all of the rubbish you throw away. The wonderful folk over at Zero Waste Week have created an audit sheet for you to do this easily so grab yourself a copy and get auditing!
The audit sheet includes what item of rubbish it is, why is it being thrown away (remember: reuse if possible!) where it will end up (recycling is way better than landfill rubbish of course!) and what improvement can be made (e.g. could you have avoided this item of rubbish somehow?) This will help you to reflect on your current waste and identify small positive changes you could make.
Challenge 2 – Tackle a Weak Spot
Pick one thing that you know you could improve on and is something you can change immediately. We all have that one thing that jumps out at us – that we know we could better – we just haven’t got round to it… yet. Maybe you still grab your coffee to go in a disposable cup. Or perhaps you buy plastic water bottles. It could be something else entirely. Whatever it is, now is the time to make that switch – and stick to it!
For this challenge, you might need to make an investment – but baring in mind reusables are, well, reusable, it will be money worth spending. In many cases you might well find you will actually be saving money as you are no longer throwing it away (quite literally!)
I have a few weak spots that I am tackling for this challenge, so I will write a separate post sharing details very soon – my preparations are already well underway! (You might even have spotted some sneak previews on my social media?!)
It is almost impossible to do an entirely plastic- free shop. However, you might find local independent shops that will help make this much more achievable!For example, use your local greengrocers if you have one nearby, or find out if there is a zero waste shop near you.
But even in mainstream supermarkets there are ways you can try to reduce the amount of plastic waste that you will create. For every item on your shopping list, choose options with less overall packaging and in particular little or no plastic where possible.
If you can find any alternative to plastic packaging then choose it, or decide how much you really need that item in the first place if not. (Obviously I am not suggesting you go without essentials or feel guilty if you do buy the items – we all have such things on our list – hence the next challenge!) Some stores allow you to take your own containers to the deli counter, and you can often take your own bags to buy loose fruit and veg too. So be organised and take your reusables with you!
Challenge 4 – Refuse and Return!
As consumers, we can only do so much to reduce our waste. We also need to put pressure on the companies themselves to change their habits, and provide more sustainable choices as well. But this particular challenge takes guts!
Actions speak louder than words. So either refuse the plastic packaging at the till straight after you pay – by removing it and handing it back to them immediately – or return it to the supermarket at a later date after you are done with the contents.
The alternative, if you find it is a particular brand you tend to use and gather landfill waste from, is to post it back to them direct along with a covering letter. Hopefully they might take a hint when it turns up back at their door!
Challenge 5 – Spread the Word
The last challenge is simply to spread the word. Let people know about your zero waste/ rubbish reduction efforts. Celebrate your successes. And remember, if you let me know, I will also share them too!
Good luck with the challenges – I look forward to finding out how you all get on! I will be posting about my own personal Zero Waste Week preparations in the next couple of days, then afterwards I will write about how we got on too, so look out for those posts coming soon!
This awesome 400 ml reusable bamboo coffee cup is dishwasher-safe, easy to carry around and lasts for years. It can be disposed of by crushing, soaking in hot water and burying with organic compost. The silicone lid and sleeve can be recycled.
The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts do fantastic work, and annual membership is a lovely gift for eco-friendly nature lovers.
Surfers Against Sewage
SAS works tirelessly to campaign for cleaner environments and supports the development of sustainable communities. Membership to this charity makes a great gift!
This beautiful Soapnut Soap Selection Set is handmade in the UK from 100% natural, organic, vegan, sustainable, ethically-sourced & cruelty-free ingredients! They only use recycled/recyclable paper packaging, so you will not be contributing to landfill either.
These ‘grow your own’ kits are perfect for even small spaces and do their bit for the environment and sustainability. They include; 6 varieties of seeds, compostable cardboard and PLA pots, peat free compost discs, palm leaf trays for your pots, wooden spoon plant markers, bottletop waterer (80% recycled plastic, made in the UK) and coffee sack planter bags.
Every coffee sack is unique and different. They have already been used to transport coffee and are then upcycled. Due to this they can be a little dirty and messy but perfect for growing!
Eco Clothes (Custom and Various Designs including Charity Clothing) Living Life Our WayCost: From £13
All Living Life Our Way clothing is made from 100% organic cotton, in a wind powered factory. Designs are printed using low waste, cutting edge technology. Furthermore, everything is ethically made and fully traceable from start to finish. Sustainable, ethical and good quality too. Choose from bags, sweatshirts, hoodies, tees and vests in a range of designs, or custom your own.
OHMME is an eco- friendly athleisure slow fashion brand created as ethically as possible, who also donate to CALM Charity. They use GreenDefence, which incorporates a built-in antibacterial function to the garments that stops bacterial growth and reduces odors without using harmful chemicals. They also use bluesign® to minimise environmental impact and to help evolve towards a sustainable textile industry. It eliminates harmful substances right from the beginning of the manufacturing process and sets and controls standards for a safe production.
These 2-Dogs Yoga Shorts for men are stretchy and silky, lined with a soft compression layer for total freedom of motion. The material is stretchy; this tight but stretchy fit allows for excellent blood flow. The cut is fitted with an extra panel from the crotch all the way down the inside of the leg, removing the strain from the seams and keeping your shorts in place for maximum body mobility. They are made for all body shapes and types of workout allowing you to focus on your practice and forget about what you are wearing.
One lucky reader can win a pair of these brilliant blue 2-dogs mens yoga shorts! Enter via rafflecopter below. UK only. Ends 4th December 2017. Other T&Cs apply.
When people hear the concept of zero waste, it can seem somewhat overwhelming. How can someone not create any rubbish?! But the truth is, for the vast majority of people who try to practice a zero waste lifestyle, it is more like zero waste is something to aim towards by taking a slow step by step journey in the right direction. And that’s ok. It is really about doing your bit to protect our planet. Plus each action you take tends to become a gateway to the next. So it really isn’t as hard as it first sounds!
This post covers alot of different areas, but the point is just for me to share tips and alternative products with you all. I intend for you, my readers, to pick somewhere to begin, and to find new ideas to continue from whatever stage you are already at; the idea is not for anyone to try to take it all on at once! Gradual change is the key to making it feel sustainable and not too overwhelming. This is also by no means a comprehensive list by any stretch of the imagination! There are many, many people far further along the journey than I am, but we can all learn from one another, so I am just sharing what I know!
Here are my ideas for developing a zero waste lifestyle, divided into sections for ease of reference (because I like to be organised!)…
This is the area that I have been working on myself most recently, so I figure it makes sense to start here!
Earth Conscious sell a zero waste natural deoderant that now comes in both tin or stick format. I have only just got mine so too early to comment personally, but reviews on it are great!
Shampoo bars are the obvious choice for zero waste hair washing. Alternatively, powder is another option. However, if you cannot get on with shampoo bars or powder, I recommend that you buy a huge bulk size container of shampoo and conditioner so that it needs replacing far less often. You can purchase a smaller reusable pump bottle to make it more practical.
For example, Faith in Nature sell huge 5 litre refills for around £50. If you feel put off by the price for a product you haven’t tried, it is well worth ordering the smaller size versions first then investing in your favourite. They also offer free samples for a small limited number of their products, so you can try before you buy that way too. I realise this may sound like it defeats the point of choosing zero waste items somewhat, but it is really about looking at the bigger picture and thinking ahead. Other brands probably have bulk size versions too, if you look into it and find any others, do let me know in comments.
As for conditioner, I have written before about natural hair conditioners. Although these are not actually zero waste ideas as such, they are items that can be used for a range of purposes and again can usually be purchased in much larger sizes so this helps to drastically reduce waste.
There are a wide range of beautiful, often handmade, natural soaps available that are sold without packaging (or minimal, recycled packaging) so produce little to no waste. If you prefer liquid handwash, again I recommend buying in bulk to reduce waste.
I totally recommend you make your own! There are some fab DIY recipes around if you google. I made a great coffee scrub last year. Alternatively, there are various eco conscious independents and other brands who ensure their packaging is minimal and environmentally- friendly. (And remember to check for no microbeads too!)
Go for a bamboo toothbrush. Most come in fully recyclable minimal packaging and the toothbrush is biodegradable. I have one from Save Some Green.
Alot of people buy many different types of cleaning products for all different purposes, which immediately creates far more waste. So my first bit of advice is try to simplify!
Cloths/ Wipes/ Scrub pads
Opt for resuable versions made from sustainable natural materials, such as bamboo, hemp or organic cotton cloths and wipes, and coconut hair scrub pads for example.
Multi – Purpose Cleaner
I recommend making your own DIY version if possible. We tend to use vinegar solution. Otherwise choose an eco-friendly brand in the largest size possible that covers a range of uses.
Washing up Liquid
Again my best advice is to select one that lasts longer so less waste!
I was sent this fab soapnut starter pack from Living Naturally, which I have used for my most recent washes (probably about 4 loads now of various items). I am really impressed at how effective they are; in my opinion, they leave clothes just as clean and fresh as regular detergent! Not only are they natural and zero waste but they also work out much cheaper too, so this is a very cost effective way to do laundry as well as protecting the environment. Do give them a try and tell me what you think!
Ok, so granted this isn’t relevant to everyone but menstruation products can cause alot of waste so this is an important one! There are various reusable products, so you will most likey find that there is something to suit everyone that needs them. Earthwise Girls are my go to site for this, since they stock a good range of items to choose from. Personally, I mainly use a cup but also have reusable tampons, period pants and cloth pads too so that I can go with the flow. (Get it?! Sorry, excuse the pun!!!)
This is a huge area. There are so many different aspects and I doubt very much that I have covered even the majority of them in this post, but here goes…
First things first; take your reusable bags along! Or use cardboard crates instead, which is what we do as we find that easier.
Choose items with minimal and recyclable packaging wherever possible. Aiming for a fresh raw food diet, rather than buying convenience goods, is not only good for your health, but better for the environment too. Fruit and veg, for example, do not need plastic wrappers! Of course, I totally understand this might be ideal but is not always realistic for many – but it is, at the very least, just something to consider when doing your shop. Buying bigger versions of long lasting cupboard food also saves on some packaging too.
Try not to buy more than you will eat, freeze if applicable so it lasts longer and my favourite for fruit and veg – make it into a smoothie and drink it up!
Storage/ Lunchboxes/ Picnics
There are lots of durable, practical ways to store food without causing waste. Mason jars, glass or metal containers, resuable sandwich bags and washable beeswax wraps (to replace clingfilm) are all good options. For snacks on the go, carry around reusable cutlery, made from bamboo or similar. Plus carry washable cloths rather than wipes in your bag too.
Today my guest is the absolutely lovely Tamsin. She is a fellow blogger who writes about green living, eco products and aiming for a zero waste. She is truly inspirational. Read on to find out some of her top tips…
My name is Tamsin, I’m 29 and I live in Suffolk with my son and fiance. I used to work in the motorcycle industry, but sadly lost my job in 2011 before having my son in 2012. Before my son was born, I was really into power lifting but unfortunately had to give that up when my health declined suddenly. I suffer from multiple chronic health conditions and at times I find things hard. But lucky for me I have a supportive family and the most wonderful readers who constantly spur me on.
Name one random fact about yourself.
I hold a full motorcycle license.
Who is your biggest inspiration?
Tell me about your blog. Have you always been passionate about green living and working toward zero waste? What inspired you to start the blog?
I’ve always been interested in natural skincare and holistic healing. But it wasn’t until I was pregnant with my son that I found out about cloth nappies, which opened my eyes to green living. I had no idea how truly wasteful our society is. Like many others, I never truly understood that there is no such thing as ‘away’, and that rubbish is a huge problem. After discovering cloth nappies, I kind of fell into the world of green living and have progressed towards a zero waste lifestyle (although I am absolutely not perfect or 100% zero waste! – I am still making progress, too!)
I started the blog as a diary of sorts for my working out and talking about my experience as a first time Mum. I wrote about cloth nappies and babywearing as it was something that I really wanted more people to know about. From there I expanded my topics to include reusable menstrual products. It’s what really what launched my blog from a little space of internet for waffling, to a trusted site for others also seeking information on living a greener life.
What is the best piece of advice you would give someone just starting out on their journey to zero waste?
Don’t panic and remember to start small. It’s all too easy to find out about zero waste, then realise about how wasteful society is and feel like we need to make loads of changes immediately. You will end up overwhelmed, stressed out and feeling defeated.
So my advice is to make a couple of changes at a time. Start with analysing your rubbish and work out what it is you’re throwing way – from there you can easily work out simple solutions. Also, invest in reusable bags and drinks bottles. You’ll make quite a big impact by just refusing single use plastic bags and drinks bottles.
Remember, it’s not all or nothing. Do as much as you are able.
How do you relax/ spend your ‘free time’?
I am a really keen amateur photographer, so I enjoy taking photos whenever possible. I also really enjoy reading and crochet. For me, crochet is a great stress reliever and I have found it has helped my mental health a lot.
Since Living Life Our Way is a family lifestyle blog, I’d love to hear more about yours…
What are your favourite family activities?
As a family, we really enjoy going on adventures (As my 4yo puts it). We pack a lunch, go for a walk and just enjoy the beautiful countryside.
Where is your favourite outdoor place to visit?
Clare County Castle – it’s in a little village and has a big hill with the ruins of the old Clare castle. There’s also an old railway and a park, too. It’s just a lovely area to visit.
Best family day out?
Gosh, tough question. I couldn’t possibly pin point one as I struggle to get out due to my health. So every time we’re out as a family is special to me. Especially the simple things like watching the sun set from our garden and the deer walking up past out back garden. Our place backs onto a field and all you can see for miles is fields and forests.
Find lots of useful advice, support and info on green living from Tamsin here:
As part of Project Green Challenge by Turning Green, I have been collecting all the waste I have produced for the last 24 hours.
I do aim to refuse, reduce and reuse; and feel I have done quite well with this! BUT there is plenty more to be done and there are a few things this challenge has taught me…
I never thought about the cat food! I didn’t even check to see if the fish is from a sustainable source let alone consider the packaging it comes in. This is now a top priority on my to do list.
Obviously some things took more than 24 hours to become empty and therefore become waste (ie plastic film toilet paper packaging and handwash bottle), so it just so happened they fell into my waste pile during the challenge. But this led me to think what would have mounted up if the challenge had been over a week, or a month?
Aside from the plastic film packaging around the toilet paper (I wonder if there are paper alternatives to this?) the main culprits would be household items (handwash, shampoo/ conditioner, deoderant and washing liquid containers) and plastic fruit containers, so I need to take a closer look at potential alternatives to these. With the exception of the plastic film wrap, the other plastics do all get recycled locally, but this is not ideal and is a last resort. Refusing, reducing and reusing is better if possible.
Last but not least- crisp packet and coke cans- I really should cut out the junk food and drink! The packets end up as landfill. The coke cans are recycled and are arguably much better than getting a plastic bottle version, especially if the cans are packaged in cardboard, but cutting them out completely would be better for a multitude of reasons of course!
So, you’ve opted for reusable carrier bags, you say no to straws, you have a reusable water bottle and coffee cup, you take food in reusable containers and you refuse plastic cutlery, taking your own reusable version instead (or just do without!) You have come along way in reducing your waste, which is great! But what are the next steps in aiming for a zero waste lifestyle? Here are some more things to think about…
Look at your household items. Handwash, washing liquid, cleaning products etc… Can you find alternatives that have less packaging, or is more easily recyclable materials at least? Or buy in bulk- bigger versions mean waste less often at least!
Check your beauty and hygiene products. Shampoo and conditioner, soap, deoderant, wipes, scrubs etc… Can you find a reusable substitute for some items, such as wipes? Are there alternatives that come with packaging, such as shampoo bars? Or could you even try making your deoderant or face scrub? I had a go at making my own coffee face scrub as part of 5gyres #beadfree campaign about banning microbeads (tiny toxic plastic beads). It worked really well! Oh and don’t forget to look out for those pesky microbeads too!
Choose food products with less packaging. Buy fruit and vegetables loose if possible. Look out for paper or cardboard alternatives to plastic. If unavoidable, choose bigger packets so less waste overall. And remember to take reusable packaging, containers and bags with you to use whenever you can! If you have pets, remember to consider the items you buy for them too.
No doubt there are lots of other ways to help achieve zero waste, I would love to hear your tips too!