At first, the idea of having zero waste or living a waste-free life can be overwhelming and seem impossible! Of course, undertaking this project means a whole life overhaul and is a big commitment. However, there are so many things you can do in your day to day life that are easy, quick, simple and fun- and each one will dramatically reduce your contribution to landfill and pollution.
When you first set out on your mission to reduce your waste, think about these classic 5 principles first-
Refuse what you do not need,
Reduce what you do need,
Reuse what you consume,
Recycle what you cannot Refuse,
Reduce or Reuse, and Rot (Compost) the rest.
This little slogan will help you as you navigate the path to using less!
Perhaps the easiest place to begin is to look at your daily life as it stands- how much garbage are you creating? What
do you really use on a daily basis? How can you make switches to more sustainable options? Begin to let go of what you already have that you no longer use or really need- downsizing is very liberating and brings you back to the question of what do you need in life to truly be functional and happy. Donate what you can to good will stores and recycle what you have left, try and start with a clean slate to move forwards from.
Take a look at the list below and see how you can start to implement new practices into your lifestyle:
Look into alternatives to anything disposable- Swap paper towels for reusable rags, swap sandwich bags and plastic wrap for stainless containers, drop garbage liners or source biodegradable ones.
Buy in bulk, bring reusable bags, bottles, jars and containers when you shop to refill what you need.
Start making your own condiments such as jam, nut butter, preserves, dips, cheese, bread- get creative in the kitchen and steer clear of buying things that you can easily make (that are always healthier and tastier anyway!)
Shop the farmer’s market- you can take your own bags, fill up your own jars, return things like egg cartons or veggie boxes. Organic local produce is also free from stickers and plastic too.
Invest in a good water filter so you can say goodbye to plastic bottled water.
Buy your washing up liquids in bulk and invest in compostable cleaning utensils and scrubs- there are a lot of great varieties on the market now.
Begin composting at home, get backyard chooks or take your compost to a nearby farm or neighbor who composts. There are lots of great home compost systems that are easy and take up minimal space and time.
Use 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper.
Refill your bottles with bulk shampoo, conditioner and body wash.
For body/face soap, find a package-free solid soap like our bio-dynamic handmade coconut soap.
Switch from toothpaste to homemade tooth powder.
Use a wooden compostable toothbrush.
Begin to make your own cosmetics at home (you’ll be amazed at the products you can make from coconut oil!).
Purchase disposable feminine products or invest in a menstrual cup and reusable liners.
Welcome natural cleaning alternatives: Castile soap on floors and sinks, homemade all purpose cleaner, baking soda for scrubbing jobs and vinegar or clove oil for mildew.
Welcome alternative house cleaning tools: a metal scourer on stainless, a wooden brush for light scrubbing, an old toothbrush for hard to reach places and rags for everything else.
Buy laundry detergent and any other cleaning products in bulk.
Use ceramic dishes and cloth napkins.
Stick to minimal wardrobes, shoes and purses and buy second-hand where you can.
Learn a few sewing tricks to mend clothes rather than throw them away.
Reducing your waste at home and in your day to life has so many benefits. Not only are you making a huge impact on the world around you, but you will also find a greater level of contentment and satisfaction in living a simple life. You will find that you will save money by using natural products, buying less, shopping in bulk and being creative when it comes to shopping. You will notice that you will automatically begin to support local businesses and have a positive impact on your local community. You will find that you eat a healthier, fresher diet made up of wholefoods and less junk food. You will also be dramatically reducing your exposure to harmful chemicals and toxins by steering clear from packaged cleaning products and foods in supermarkets. Your lifestyle and practices will also undoubtedly inspire and influence those around you and instigate family, friends and strangers alike to rethink their own consumption choices and levels of wastage.
Of course, living waste-free is not without its challenges, however, implementing any of the above suggestions is a step towards less waste and cleaner living. Take one step at a time and watch how inspired you are to take more.