Today's post is about how you can go zero waste today! That's right. It's easy peasy. Don't be fooled by the idea that if you want to adopt this lifestyle, you have to completely revamp your home. Zero waste isn't about consumerism, or throwing away everything you have in order to replace it with eco-friendly alternatives. Otherwise, it would defeat the whole purpose of creating less waste. So how do you begin when you have such a busy lifestyle, and don't want to drop your whole entire paycheck on the latest zero waste products?
Well! You do things the old fashioned way. Here are a few ideas to get your juices flowing. Ultimately, there are no rules. You do what feels good to you for a healthier family and environment.
1) Ditch the single use mentality and opt for better quality long term products
You can go as wild here or as mild as you'd like. If you're not willing to ditch toilet paper for a bidet just yet (or ever), we understand! Opt for toilet paper packaged in paper, and that is preferably unbleached. If the toilet paper is made of recyclable material, it's even better! Most big brand toilet paper companies are causing incredible damage to our environment. According to this article on Green Matters
, some big brand toilet paper companies are clear cutting the Canadian boreal forest to source their materials. Save the forest, and opt for something more sustainable.
Plastic straws are another problem. We've all heard of this poor turtle
. Save the turtles and do your part in protecting our oceans from accumulating more plastic, by choosing plastic free alternatives for single use items such as these bamboo straws
from our store ;-)
Don't get us started on Ziploc bags! Ziploc bags create unnecessary plastic waste. How about opting for reusable silicone kitchen bags? You can find some on Amazon. Check out these ones
2) Pre-cut your own veggies and make your own meals
Buying those pre-cut fruits and veggies at the grocery store is so tempting and convenient, isn't it? But what you don't know, is that on top of causing unnecessary plastic waste
, they also cost you double what they would cost if you were to buy them whole, wash, and cut them yourself. Moreover, frozen fruits have chemicals in them that fresh fruits do not. Keep your family safe, and buy your food whole instead of pre-packaged. The same idea applies to pre-made meals versus cooking at home. To eat healthy home made meals does not require you to be a five start chef and dedicate your precious daily hours to the kitchen. You can adopt meal-planning, and pre-cook your meals one week or a few days ahead of time and then freeze them. Not only is this healthier for your family, but it's also environmentally friendly. For freezer meal ideas, check out this fantastic youtube channel.
Just be sure to switch out the disposable containers she recommends for reusable ones. ;-)
3) Replace everyday cleaning supplies and body care products with home made alternatives
If you're a clean human and shower daily (we hope!), then you use plenty of soap and shampoo bottles. This means that as a consumer, you create many bottles of plastic waste
. Shampoo bars are all the rave right now! They last longer, are healthier for your hair, and create less waste
! Here's a DIY of a homemade shampoo bar
. Turn this into a project with your kids and have a special DIY day, as you watch their eyes light up when they create beautiful soaps. Opt for safety razors instead of disposable plastic ones. A safety razor will cost you about 50$ and last you a lifetime. You can purchase about 50 blades for 6 dollars. The safety razor requires a bit of a learning curve, but totally worth the time investment!
4) Ditch single use house cleaning products for reusable ones
Have a disposable paper mop to clean your floors? How about buying a regular mop and washing your floor the old fashioned way? Do you use paper towels to clean and wipe your counters? Invest in re-usable paper rags, or use scraps of fabric you already have. This will save tons of trees, and protect the environment and your wallet!
5) Take out waste out of Take Out
Do you go to your local coffee shop every morning and buy yourself a good cup of coffee? Do you often go out with your friends for a dinner night out, or a dinner date with your partner? Well then go prepared! Instead of requesting take out containers when you can't finish your meal , show up with reusable containers to put your leftover food in. You can also buy a reusable coffee cup and bring it with you to the coffee shop every morning. A lot of them offer reward points for frequent customers and those points allow you to purchase reusable cups or mugs. But if you don't have the points, and don't want to spend more money, you can simply bring in a mason jar with you, or any glass jar container you already have at home. We recommend the glass jar containers for cold drinks only. Check out your local dollar store, Walmart or Amazon for silicone reusable coffee mugs too!
6) Recycle leftovers
We all know how annoying it is to spend hours preparing a delicious meal only to see that half of it was eaten and the other half still remains! We hate to throw out food, so here are a few things we recommend that totally work for us. If you made a curry sauce, and you have leftovers, freeze it and turn it into a quiche for another day. Have leftover spaghetti sauce? Freeze it and recycle it into pizza sauce instead. The possibilities are endless as long as you're willing to be creative. You can even revive potato fries with this method
7) Buy in bulk whenever possible and use reusable bags when grocery shopping
Buying in bulk allows you to buy things at a lower price, with the exact quantity you'd like, without any packaging! So it's win-win on all accounts! Check out bulk stores in your area, bring containers with you, and have fun buying exactly what you need. That way, you create less waste
because we all hate having a huge quantity of spices sitting on the shelf for years, taking up space, and going stale!
8) Buy your statement pieces from thrift stores
Fast fashion is one of the world's biggest pollutants. Making the latest fashionable clothing uses a ton of water, and creates a ton of waste. Consider giving items you no longer wear a new home, and joining local clothing swapping parties or visiting thrift stores. You will be able to find timeless pieces that don't go out of fashion in a few seasons, and you'll get to develop your own sense of style. It's great for the environment and your wallet!
9) Trade your feminine care products for healthier, more sustainable alternatives
Did you know that tampons and pads create a ton of pollution? Menstrual pads are made of 90% plastic
. They also contain bleach and a gazillion chemicals that are harmful to your body. Menstrual cups are a solution to this problem. They last 10 years, can be sterilized after each use, and don't create any waste
because they are made of silicone! If you are a menstrual pad user, consider purchasing period underwear, such as these
or washable fabric pads from Etsy
. Just be sure not to use them on a heavy flow. Believe us, we tried it and totally don't recommend. Might be TMI but hey, we wish someone had told us before we went in for a hot yoga session wearing them. Gross.
10) Reuse recyclables such as glass jars, and plastic containers
Have plastic containers from purchasing food items like Yogurt? Re-use those as lunch containers. There is no need to buy dedicated lunch containers if you end up purchasing them every week anyway! Glass jars also come into your life every week. Think sauces, salsas, olives... Instead of throwing these in the recycling bin, rip off their label, properly wash and dry them, and repurpose them for storage purposes. If you hate the look of an industrial tomato sauce lid, you can always DIY the lid, and give it a new life. We found so many tutorials on Pinterest and a few on Youtube. Check out this awesome tutorial for creating wooden lids
and this one for repurposing plastic lids
So there you have it? Which one of these tips has inspired you the most? Send us a note in our social media and let us know your thoughts!
With love and compassion,
1st Photo by Laura Mitulla on Unsplash
2nd Photo by Anna Pelzer on Unsplash
3rd Photo by Viktor on Unsplash
4th Photo by Brian Patrick on Unsplash
5th Photo by Charles D on Unsplash
6th Photo by Cayla on Unsplash
7th Photo by V2OSK on Unsplash
8th Photo by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash
9th Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash
10th Photo by Olio Gozha on Unsplash