6 Top Zero Waste Tips
Let’s be honest: we are trying our best to live zero waste but it can be difficult at times. Maybe your partner is not convinced of zero waste living or thinks it is not important. Maybe you live in an area without a zero waste shop and find it difficult to shop in a sustainable way. Don’t worry, the zero waste lifestyle is a step by step approach. I will share with you my top zero waste tips in this blog article. Feel free to share your own top zero waste tips in the comment section.
What Is Zero Waste Living?
The idea, of course, is that you produce no waste or as little as possible. Sometimes it is more specific to disposable plastic packaging as the plastic is one way or another polluting the environment.
You most likely will have heard of the mantra Refuse – Reduce – Reuse – Recycle which sums it up nicely. Try to refuse items if you can, if you can’t try to reduce or reuse them and try to select items which can be recycled. If you are a beginner these are my top zero waste tips you may be able to adapt easily in your life.
Top Zero Waste Tips
1. Less Shopping
Let’s start with an easy top zero waste tip: one of my first steps was to shop less for items I don’t really need. The easiest for me personally was clothes as I never enjoyed shopping for clothes in the first place. I now only replace items if my clothes break beyond repair and buy most clothes second hand. Over time this approach helped me save a lot of money. I also love the feeling of making a great bargain for an item I really needed.
Also, consider purchasing fewer meals in plastic packaging. So that would concern a lot of processed food which is marketed as a great way to save time and quickly cook a “healthy” meal. This is rarely the case. Be more considerate of what you are eating and purchase food if you can in bulk from shops that use little to no packaging. Yes, these shops exist and had a recent surge of interest. More people are now keen to bring their own containers so they can be re-used. The benefit: you only purchase what you need, rather than what is being marketed to you.
2. Cook More Food From Scratch
This can be a tricky but rewarding step. Of course, ready-made and processed food come in a lot of extra packaging and you are more flexible when buying ingredients. However, it usually still comes in not recyclable packaging. If you are lucky to live close to a Zero Waste or Bulk store try and shop there. Yes, it may seem more expensive at first but if you keep accounts and regularly cook from scratch you will notice that you end up spending less. If you need ideas head over to my recipes section. It is actually really affordable to make your own oat milk, granola or bread for example.
3. Zero Waste Cleaning
There are lots of nearly forgotten tips and tricks on how to clean without chemicals. Did you know you can clean your stainless steel pans with white vinegar or tomato sauce? Did you know you can replace your old plastic toilet brush with a more sustainable one? There are so many smart ways of cleaning your house with Zero Waste methods. Be inspired and share your own tips in the comment section!
Find out what items can be recycled in the area you live in. Sometimes recyclable items are picked up with the normal rubbish collection or you have to find specialists who recycle more unusual items.
Also consider which items still have value. My favourite strategy to get rid of items who still have value is to sell them on flea markets or through online market places. If the item does not have much value or you just want to get rid of items quicker than selling them consider donating them to a charity of your choice.
There are also online platforms, like Freecycle, which allow you to pass on items which hold little to no value to you but may come in handy for others, sometimes even just as parts. My friends are always surprised to hear of what I was able to pass on: old cardboard boxes – check (great for moving house), old headphones which do not work anymore – check (for parts) or old magazines. Someone might find them handy. Over the past few years, my old items have been used in art projects or repurposed which makes me incredibly happy.
5. Find Joy In Activities Shared With Others
Buying a shiny new object gives you a short burst of positivity. You added a new item to your collection and it may or may not get used or admired in your home. Why not spend more time on activities like exercise, going for a walk in nature or volunteering to get that positive boost? There are so many activities that you can enjoy with family and friends. If you need some me-time, why not try one of these activities and focus on yourself? Yes, that is ok too – we all need some me-time every now and then. And some need more than others.
6. Sharing Is Caring
Recently, I’ve tried sharing apps to reduce the amount of waste being produced. The concept is simple: someone purchased something which they did not like or just did not end up using. You can add these items on the platform and whoever is interested in them will contact you and arrange for collection. It is a very easy process and everyone I met so far when collecting items was super nice. My go-to app is Olio and not only have I received items that were given away, but it also helped me declutter. Definitely one of ma favourite top zero waste tips!
We have managed to get complete meals from Olio. We collect a lot of fruit and veg and my favourite was a roasted tomato soup that I made from some tomatoes which were past their prime.
Some platforms also allow businesses to distribute their unsold goods. My favourite platform is Olio which has a section for food and non-food. Not only do I help to reduce the waste in landfill but it also helped me cut down the cost of food in our household.
7. Swap Liquid Soap For Soap Bars
Most liquid soap comes in plastic bottles but the switch to soap bars is actually very easy. Not all soap bars are being packaged in recyclable material but I noticed a trend that more are being made available without plastic packaging. Also soap is easy to make at home and if you don’t feel like making it yourself check out a few independent shops who sell handmade soap and support a local small business! I found many of these when browsing artisan craft fairs.
I hope my top zero waste tips will help you with your own zero waste journey. Remember that no one is perfect and little steps are better than making no efforts at all.
This is just a short list to get you started. If you have other top zero waste tips feel free to share them in the comments. Always remember: be gentle with yourself and don’t compare yourself to others. Every bit you do is helpful. 🙂