Zero Waste for Beginners
Zero waste in the kitchen, bathroom and on the go
Whether you are a complete beginner to the zero waste lifestyle, are embarking on a zero waste challenge this month or want some tips on how to reduce your household waste, any change no matter how big or small is a great way to be more environmentally conscious.
Some things you can start with:
A reusable water bottle; just think of how many plastic bottles you will save!
A thermos mug; you get discounts in most cafes for bringing your own coffee cup too
Non disposable cutlery and straw (bamboo, glass, stainless steel)
A tote bag for shopping; also saves you a bit of money from not having to purchase a plastic bag at the supermarket
Jars to store and refill food in; this is easy just wash and reuse any empty jars from pickles, sauces, peanut butter, jams etc.
A lunchbox if you eat out a lot; bringing your own container also gets you discounts in some markets and cafes.
Bulk or refill stores are great because you can bring your own jars, bottles and boxes or use paper or cloth bags to buy any amount of dried goods. It is more cost effective than shopping at supermarkets since you can buy smaller quantities of only what you need and will use, thus reducing your overall food waste.
Find the nearest one to you on: https://zerowastenear.me/
Farmers markets; if there are any near you are a great option too as most produce will be package free and you can buy fruits and vegetables loose. Remember your own bags and containers so you can leave all boxes or plastic trays to the vendor who will reuse them.
Some supermarkets sell their vegetables and fruits loose but not all, so visit the ones near you to see what you can buy package free; think cardboard, glass, jars, and cans instead of any sort of plastic packaging which come in all forms so read labels to check.
Reduce waste in the kitchen by
Storing perishable items in the fridge, any leftovers in the freezer for later consumption
Compost any vegetable and fruit scraps or dispose in an organic waste bin
Don’t buy or cook more than you know you will be able to consume in a certain time period
If this is difficult make a meal plan and buy only what is needed to cook your meals for that week so nothing goes to waste
Grow your own herbs on your window sill, or even fruits and vegetables if you have space in your garden. Eating your own homegrown food is so rewarding, completely organic, and you are nourishing yourself as well as the earth!
Reusable and washable cloths and kitchen towels
Biodegradable sponges and non disposable or bamboo cleaning brush for dishes
Three essential ingredients to clean with: lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking soda, (essential oils optional for smell) are all you need product wise and work for every room and surface in the house.
Repair, mend, or sew any holes or rips instead of buying new identical items
Swap clothes you no longer want or need with your friends and family members that may be interested, otherwise donate them to charity shops.
Similarly when looking for new items visit charity shops, or buy second hand from stores, apps, websites and marketplaces instead of buying into fast fashion brands.
Bamboo toothbrush, this is biodegradable and needs to be changed every three months
Cleansing pads that you can wash and reuse over and over again instead of wet wipes or cotton pads which have devastating environmental impacts and are responsible for sewage blockages
Toothpaste and mouthwash can be found in jars or bottles but you can also make your own
Bar soap and bar shampoo
Menstrual cups and washable sanitary towels
Stainless steel razor
Natural sponge that is biodegradable
Refillable body wash or shampoo if you opt for the liquid version, the same goes for toner and make up remover unless you decide to make your own!
Zero waste is a long-term goal which is not necessarily achievable; actually in today’s day and age it is virtually impossible to live completely waste-free; being a human being is wasteful in itself! So do what you can, and see how many of these tips you can implement in your own life. When purchasing something new opt for natural materials over plastic and single use, non-recyclable items.
Good luck on your zero waste journey, the planet thanks you
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Is working as an intern for Zero Waste Club, writing blog posts on all things zero waste, from cooking tips to travelling hacks. She is passionate about encouraging others to adopt low waste habits in any and every aspect of their lives.