For a long time, the focus of the environmentally conscious community has been on recycling our waste and more and more councils have became more virtuous by introducing something separate waste bins’ collection (which requires a proper planner on your fridge to remember exactly when and what goes out on the curb!)
However, it was learning that most of the plastic we use and try to recycle actually ends up in the landfill anyway that prompted us to start this zero-waste journey.
We will certainly keep praising those that differentiate their waste, but wouldn’t it be amazing if we could all decrease the amount of waste we produce altogether?
So here is a list of some tips you can implement in your life too to be even more environmentally friendly in your home!
Plan your meals ahead
We are not suggesting you spend your Sunday meal prep for the week (although some people prefer it that way), you can still cook every dinner but plan ahead your weekly meals before heading to the market.
Give yourself time to find new recipes and note down the exact ingredients you need so that you will have everything handy in the following days and nothing more.
In this way you will immensely reduce your food waste and save money!
Make less trips to the shops
If you follow our advice above, you will naturally make less trips to the shops, saving in fuel, time and money.
Veggies are always good
If you find yourself with some slightly old veggies, use them to prepare a yummy vegetable soup (or Minestrone). You can throw in some beans and you will have a hearty vegan meal ready.
Go meatless one day a week
Pick one day of the week to reduce your consumption of meat and fish. Find new vegetarian or vegan recipes to experiment with and it will soon become a habit for you.
Cook for your lunchbox
Double up your portions for yourself and your partner when preparing dinner. This way, you will have your lunch ready for the next day and stay away from the temptation of take away, reducing your consumption of plastic and saving money.
Use re-usable glass or aluminium lunch boxes which will last longer and won’t absorb food odour.
And if you really have to eat out and don’t; have a reusable container with you: do you really need that straw, or that plastic bag or lid?
For example, tell the staff preparing your meal to not put the plastic lid on your lunchbox or beverage (if you are going to eat your meal straight away) and to ditch the straw from your Coke.
Say no to freebies
We know it’s very hard to say no to freebies, but they always involve unnecessary packaging (most of the time plastic) and most of the times it’s something you don’t even normally use / consume. So why derail your efforts now?
Buy a mini compost (or a big one)
Even if you live in an apartment, you can still buy a mini compost to differentiate your fruit and veggies.
If you are lucky enough to have a big garden, enquiry with your council if there is a composter program.
And if you have chooks or other animals, you already know how they will love eating your food scraps!
Keep your reusable bags close to your heart
Every time you store away your food shopping, put your reusable market bags back in your car so you are sure you won’t forget them next time.
Keep a small cloth bag in your purse or business bag to always have something handy should you require to stop at the supermarket on your way home from work.
Keep a clean take away coffee cup and reusable water bottle in your car and in your office so you always have one with you if you need a quick coffee fix.
Check the website Responsible Cafes to find coffee shops that accept reusable coffee cups (and we hope the list will increase fast!)
Always opt for reusable cutlery instead of plastic disposable one
If you forget your takeaway cup, ask your favourite coffee place if they can lend you one of the ceramic ones. We bet they will say yes because they know you’ll be back the following day 😉
Avoid asking for a takeaway coffee and then sit down in the café, it really is an unnecessary waste of disposable packaging.
If your office is throwing a party, speak to the organiser to arrange for compostable disposable plates and cutlery instead of plastic alternatives.
If the office is equipped with a dishwasher, advocate for the use of ceramic plates and cutlery whenever is possible.
Whenever is possible, buy your stables in bulk from places like The Source Bulkfood.
If you have to buy something packed, always go for the bigger version possible as it will last longer which in turns mean that you are reducing waste and the pollution caused to bring the product to you.
Choose reusable for that period of the month
Switch to reusable sanitary pads or menstrual cups, after the initial adjustment you’ll find out how much you can actually save on waste and money.
Compostable is the way to go
If reusable is not available, always look for a compostable alternative.
This could be using a biodegradable bamboo toothbrush, compostable packaging (paper instead of plastic), compostable sponges made from loofah or bamboo, home compostable cling wrap or baking paper etc.
Rethink your laundry
Run your laundry machine only when full and opt for a cold-water program. The detergents out there are not powerful enough to work perfectly well in cold water too.
Use soapberries or concentrated laundry detergent strips which will save you enormously in space, back pain to lift that heavy detergent bottle and waste.
Their packaging is home compostable and they completely dissolve in the water leaving virtually no waste behind.
Remember to dry your clothes naturally and not use a dryer machine, which consume a lot of electricity (and remember the higher the electricity consumption, the more pollution you create)/
We know you might think that where you live there has never been a drought or a water shortage but saving water has also to do with saving the emission created to bring that water to you!
As we suggested in our blog 10 easy ways to start your zero waste journey, keep a bucket in your shower to collect water while it’s warming up. And take shorter showers!!
Wash your veggies in a bowl to collect the water and use it for your plants and garden
Learn from your grandparents
Our grandparents were (maybe inadvertently) much more environmentally friendly than us.
They were using cotton napkins and hankies instead of paper towel and tissues.
They were re purposing old clothes into new cloths to cleaning their house.
They were saving water for the garden and having amazing flowers reusing coffee filters and tea bags.
And much more!
Feel free to pass these tips around and be an advocate for a slow and sustainable change into an ecofriendly daily life!