How To Create A Zero Waste Home?July 14, 2020
Be Eco! Save the Planet! These slogans are screaming at us through social media feeds, TV and magazines. But what does it really mean to be a part of a Zero Waste Movement? How can we fix the world by changing our day-to-day life? It is not that hard, just follow a few steps and slowly create a “Zero Waste Home.”
Why do we need to think about Zero Waste?
The most important part of living ‘zero waste’ lifestyle is reducing the amount of rubbish we produce each day. Since plastic was introduced, it seems like we can’t get enough of it which has created an abundance of waste.
Today, each of us wants fashionable clothes, the newest models of electronics or stylish furniture. When something breaks down, instead of fixing it, we upgrade. When there is a new TV, phone or laptop model — we feel the need to have it. What happens to your old product or device? Well, we usually just get rid of it, resulting in more waste.
According to the Australian Organisation Clean Up Australia, the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste in a year. If we changed our habits, much of this household waste could be avoided, but that’s only if we choose to do so.
Now, here’s the problem. The amount of waste is growing so much that we are running out of space to store it. And, to make matters worse, our planet is paying for it. This is why we need to start making some changes.
How do we live a Zero Waste life?
Here are some simple ideas that can help you to slowly change your lifestyle and reduce the amount of waste in your household. It might seem a bit hard at the beginning, but with time it will become easier. Here are some simple steps that you can follow to lead a zero waste free life.
Reduce the use of plastic packaging
Plastic packaging is present in almost every aspect of our
lives. We buy drinks, food and cosmetics wrapped in plastic bottles, boxes and bags. In such a short time, plastic has become almost irreplaceable.
A Brief History of How Plastic Has Changed Our World via National Geographic
Plastic has damaged our environment, almost to a point of no return. The toxins in plastics can take hundreds of years to break down, causing not only land, but also water and air pollution.
This is why it is important for households to reduce plastic waste. Luckily, there are plenty of solutions that can help us to replace plastic in our lives. If you want to reduce plastic, here are some simple tips you can follow.
Drink more water and always choose the tap water
With this choice you will drastically reduce the number of plastic bottles that you use in your household. If you don’t trust tap water, simply get yourself a jug with a filter; or install one on your tap. If you want to know more why drinking tap water is so important visit drinktapwater.com.au
Get yourself a reusable water bottle
There is no need to buy plastic bottles with juice when you just create your fresh fruit and vegetable drinks. And, because they don’t come with any preservatives or sugar, you’ll be able to feel better about drinking something that is both healthy and good for the environment.
Today, the market has plenty of options to choose from, such as glass, metal and BPA-free plastic bottles. That’s why it is a good idea to buy a reusable water bottle. But if you do, just make sure to fill it every time you leave the house. In the long run, this will save you a lot of money as you will be less likely to buy drinks when you’re out and about.
Don’t use disposable cups
We all love a good coffee in the morning on a way to work or during our lunch break. Want your coffee take-away? Forget about the disposable coffee cup. Did you know that even paper take-away cups are lined on the inside with a plastic film? Well, this makes them difficult to recycle. Instead, bring your own mug. The barista will be more than happy to serve your coffee in it.
Avoid buying plastic wrapped food
This task can seem the most challenging, as many supermarkets and grocery shops still wrap their products like fruits and veggies in plastic cling wrap. The chemicals that the cling wrap is made of make it impossible to recycle. That is why it is important to avoid products packaged this way. By doing so, you will also send the message to the shop owners to change the way they package food.
Reduce the use of single-use plastic bags
Single-use plastic bags are next to plastic bottles, one of the biggest pollutants of the planet. This can be easily fixed by bringing material bags for your groceries. They are available in different sizes and can fit any type of vegetable or fruit.
Reduce the use of containers
Are you planning to get pre-made salads, antipasti or meat? Take reusable plastic or glass containers from home. Simply give it to the worker of the deli section in the supermarket and they will fill it up with the product of your choice. This is simple, quick and zero waste friendly.
Cook at home
We all have days when we want to just sit in front of the TV and order a pizza. Unfortunately, most of the time, the boxes and bags end up in the rubbish bin. Why don’t we instead bake at home?
When cooking at home with fresh products, we are able to fully use it and prepare the healthy meal without creating a pile of boxes and bags that quickly fill our bin. Plus, not too mention, ordering take away food can be quite pricey.
Grow your own food
Having your own veggie garden is healthy, a relaxing hobby and helps you to live a zero waste life. Why not make a change and grow your own herbs and veggies? By doing this you’ll be able to spice up your meals and save money on buying groceries.
As an added plus, you could also consider creating a compost for your garden. Just put 2-3 wooden boxes or crates and plant a few of your favourite veggies on your balcony or create a community garden together with your neighbours. In that way, you can also help get rid of food waste from your kitchen in an eco-friendly manner.
Buy less clothes
Let’s face it, most of us enjoy shopping. We like to “feel the excitement” when we’re trying on items. And, we usually buy more than we need, which creates waste.
That’s because, the more items we buy the more products companies create. This results in a lot of waste and we should buy things we need, rather than buy items that we might use once or twice. This mindset is bad for the environment and our wallets.
A big question to think about then is, how can we change our shopping habits? Well, next time when you’re shopping, when you pick up an item, consider if you really need it?
If you’re still tempted to buy, then imagine all of the clothes in your wardrobe and how many times you’ve bought something that you have never worn. It might seem hard at the beginning, but having less is actually much easier, gives you the feeling of freedom, and what’s more important, it is great for our planet.
When getting new furniture, clothes or electronics, most of us simply go to the shop or online and we buy a brand-new product. The old couch, wardrobe, TV or bed gets thrown away, and the landfill is full of forgotten, unwanted things that could still be used by someone else.
Why don’t we change it? Before going to the shop, first, check out what second-hand options are available. Many times, you can find something that has been barely used and in almost perfect condition. It’s also a fun environmentally-friendly way to shop.
If you really feel like you need to buy new clothing or furniture — then to minimize waste, try giving your old item to a friend. Alternatively, you could donate your items to a charity; or even sell them online thanks to sites like Gumtree and Craigslist.
But, if you have an abundance of things that you’d like to make do with, then hosting a garage sale could be your best option. This will help you to make money, clear up any unnecessary items you have, plus make a bit of money and have fun in the process.
6. Try upcycling
Upcycling refers to the creative transformation of old items into beautiful new products. By using a DIY approach, you can create new things from stuff that you’re not using anymore. The interesting thing is that you can upcycle almost anything.
Say for example, you have a spare jar laying around, then you could paint or decorate them with flowers and sequins. Or, if you have an old shirt, this could be turned into a tank top or skirt.
Zero Waste bathroom
Have you ever thought about the number of bottles that we have in our bathroom? Most people will have a few shampoo bottles, shower gel and a variety of cleaning products like laundry power. All of these come in large plastic bottles that are hard to recycle.
To reduce waste, choose package-free options instead. For example, instead of hand wash or shower gel, use a soap bar. In fact, a lot of stores stock soap bars without any packaging. As a substitute to using liquid shampoo and hair conditioners, try the solid soap versions as they are as good as the liquid versions and more economical.
If you’re buying toilet paper, choose the 100% recycled paper that is packed using recyclable paper. And, for sanitary items, consider using a menstrual cup or reusable liners to reduce waste.
Did you know that many ingredients that you can find at home, can also be used to create cosmetic products? Here are some ideas you can try:
Home-made deodorant: Mix baking soda with corn-starch, coconut oil and add a few drops of essential oil.
Toothpaste: Use baking soda as a substitute for your toothpaste.
All-purpose cleaner: Mix warm water with white vinegar.
Say goodbye to junk mail
How many times do we open our mailbox and receive a lot of advertisements that we are simply not interested in? Let’s face it, most of the time we don’t even go through the junk mail, we simply put them in the bin.
By adding the sign, “No Junk Mail” to your letterbox will reduce rubbish added to our bins. The added bonus, you’ll feel better each time you do open up your mailbox because you’ll save time; whilst, you’ll know that every mail that you are receiving is intended for you.
A zero waste home is easier and more fun than you might expect. It’s all about changing our mindset and thinking about if there is a better or smarter way to do things that is better both for our environment. Not, too mention, if you do choose to embark on your own zero waste journey, then you’ll save a lot of money in the process and have a lot of fun too.