July is plastic-free month. A good time to seriously think about how you contribute to the piles of waste filling our landfills and polluting our oceans. Our consumer-based instant gratification lifestyles can be extremely selfish when you look at it from the bigger picture. Is zero waste living really possible though? Every single household that makes an effort to reduce waste to a minimum contributes to a wave of change that can truly create a better, more beautiful earth. The closer to zero the better. Here are a few simple tips to starting a more conscious relationship with waste.
- Replace paper towels with reusable cloths in the kitchen
- Take your own lunch to work and use reusable containers instead of buying ready-made packaged meals or take-aways. Use Tupperware or glassware. You can even re-use glass jars from food you have bought as containers
- If you can’t do without your favourite take-away coffee get a reusable coffee cup you can take with you and ask them to use that instead of their disposable cups
- Avoid buying water bottled in plastic by taking a glass bottle around with you instead – it’s more cost effective too. Get yourself a good water filter and fill up before you leave home. Bottled water is also increasingly becoming a burden on the environment as big companies plunder natural water resources to package and sell
- Choose products that are packaged in reusable or recyclable containers
- Take glass jars to shops that sell loose produce such as grains and legumes and package your own
- Always bring your own re-usable shopping bags: try make it a habit
- Compost: don’t just throw your leftovers away – they were designed by nature to turn into compost and go back to fertilise the earth, not a landfill
- Repurpose and recycle glass jars, clothes, anything you can – get creative
- Save money, avoid harsh chemicals, plastic containers, and packaging by making your own cosmetics you can store in glass
- Make your own household cleansers that are non-toxic to avoid buying plastic bottles as well as the tons of harmful chemicals found in most cleaners. White Vinegar and baking soda are your new best friends.
- Grow your own food – it’s satisfying, healthier and comes straight from the garden without any packaging
Simplify Your Choices
- Use cleansers that are multipurpose so you only need to buy one container. Cleansers such as Castile soap are very versatile and can be used for anything from body cleansing to household cleaning. Liquid soap can also be used as both a body wash and shampoo
- Use it up: don’t buy things you aren’t sure you are going to need, and finish what you buy
- Quantity vs quality: source quality basics for your wardrobe that will last and can be donated or passed on instead of thrown away
- Support your local organic market: you can take a basket along and have a lovely morning buying fresh veggies minus the plastic and soaking up the community vibes
- Donate what you don’t need to charity
Start somewhere no matter how small. There’s a lot you can do before you reach zero!