For me a zero waste lifestyle isn’t about generating absolutely no waste at all.
It’s very difficult in this day and age to live completely zero waste – particularly in an urban environment and with a family.
Just like my personal journey with minimalism I am embracing my own version of zero waste – a version that works for our life and that I feel comfortable with.
I doubt that many people out there are truly zero waste but the important thing for me is that people are becoming more aware of the amount of waste they generate. And people are taking small steps towards minimising that level of waste.
I’m a big believer in the age old saying ‘every little helps’ and in doing my part towards helping the environment and being eco-conscious.
The 5 ‘R’s of Zero Waste
I think that everyone is pretty familiar with the main 3 – Reduce, Re-use and Recycle but Repair and Rot tend to get left off of most people’s lists.
This one, along with recycle, tends to be a popular word at the moment.
And with good reason – the first step towards zero waste is, realistically, reducing your use or purchase of goods that create waste in the first place.
It’s a great place to start – and is pretty simple.
Here are a few easy ways to reduce the amount of waste you create:
- Say ‘NO’ to single use plastics – ask for your drink to come without a straw and don’t use disposable cutlery when eating your lunch, get a reusable coffee cup or a glass water bottle that you can refill.
- Use the hand-dryer instead of paper towels in public bathrooms.
- Try to buy products that have less packaging – loose carrots instead of bagged for example. This is easier if you shop local or at markets instead of big supermarkets.
Pinterest is ram full of ideas for re-using materials or items. Instead of replacing your old table with a new one why not try giving it a zero waste makeover?
Scott recently built us a bed frame out of pallets that had been left in the street near our house – it looks fab and was free wood!
Nurseries and primary schools are usually grateful for donated cardboard and paper such as the rolls our toilet paper comes on – the kids can use them in craft projects. Just check first before you cart over a bag of craft supplies!
I re-use jars from cooking to store dry ingredients or even as simple vases for cut flowers.
I think many households now recycle. A lot of local councils also offer recycling collection services so check to see what your local borough provides.
By reducing and re-using you will naturally reduce the amount of waste you have left to recycle anyway. It’s a key part of trying to go zero waste (or at least minimise your waste).
I’m a novice sewer and DIY-er.
My skills aren’t particularly developed but even I can replace missing buttons on shirts, fix a leaking tap and so on.
Even if you aren’t confident at these things it is almost always worth getting someone to repair an item rather than throwing it away and purchasing a new version.
There are also YouTube videos for absolutely everything nowadays – from re-wiring a lamp to replacing the brake pads on your car.
You can learn a new skill and save money (and the environment!) to boot!
We’ve been on a serious mission in our house to reduce the amount of food waste we produce.
Since going back to meal planning I’ve definitely managed to reduce the amount of food that we throw away.
Another tip is to turn your food waste into compost instead of chucking it into the bin. This is a simple way to go really zero waste in your home.
Leaves and other outdoor waste as well as certain kitchen scraps can be composted to enrich the soil in your garden.
If you don’t have a garden of your own local allotment plots would probably be very grateful for the donation.
You can get stylish counter-top compost bins too. I love this one from Garden Trading.
Can you think of any little changes you could make that would have a positive affect on the environment?
Are you trying to minimise your family’s waste?