Zero waste lifestyle - Minimising waste in the kitchen

Zero Waste Lifestyle – The 5 ‘R’s of Zero-Waste

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.

The 5 'R's of Zero-Waste

1. Reduce

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.

2. Re-Use

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.

zero waste jam jar flowers

3. Recycle

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).

4. Repair

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!

zero waste repair

5. Rot

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.

zero waste compost bin

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?



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  • Reply Jenny May 9, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    We have chickens to help use up any scraps (and love getting eggs in return). Where we live there is a plastic bag ban so we use fabric shopping bags – which are stronger anyway than the plastic ones.

  • Reply Lauren Davis May 9, 2018 at 3:06 pm

    Great Tips, this has been one of my focuses this year! Some great ideas and well done for doing your bit and encouraging others to do so 🙂

  • Reply Jenni May 9, 2018 at 7:45 pm

    We have been trying to reduce our waste as a family and I have been really surprised that with a few changed we have made a massive difference in the amount we put in our waste bin. So much goes in the recycling, the garden waste bin or the compost.

  • Reply Laura - Dear bear and Beany May 9, 2018 at 9:27 pm

    Great advice. My husband is great at recycling and I’ve been managing our food waste by getting better at meal planning. Which also saves money!

  • Reply Miriam May 9, 2018 at 10:09 pm

    This was inspiring. As a parent of a s Isabel’s child who can’t drink without a straw I do feel guilty that we are not environmentally friend,y but reading this I realise we are doing what we can and we can still do more. Thanks

  • Reply Helen May 10, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Absolutely! We really need to get a compost bin because it’s such an easy way to help reduce waste 🙂

  • Reply Melanie May 10, 2018 at 9:13 am

    I love this post! For me, to re-use is a fab idea. Such as a jam jar or bottle can be made into a candle holder x

  • Reply Fran Back With A Bump May 10, 2018 at 9:56 am

    Some great tips. I’d like to think we’re fairly good at recycling and reducing waste. We never buy plastic bags and both have plenty of bags for life in the boot for shopping. I’m not so good on the food recycling front though mainly because it gets full of maggots!

  • Reply Clare May 10, 2018 at 10:36 am

    We’re pretty hot on recycling but could so much more in other areas. Great tips, thanks!

  • Reply The WIllow Tree May 10, 2018 at 10:53 am

    Some great tips here! I must admit, I need to rethink about how I go about DIY and fixing things that can be broken myself! We are super on top or recycling – i am still amazed at how many plastics are still non recyclable especially from ALDI

    • Reply bettertogetherhome May 10, 2018 at 11:04 am

      I always find it shocking how few items can actually be recycled – and there are still some local councils who don’t offer recycling at all!

  • Reply Rachel May 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Repair is such a good one – I think people are so quick to throw things away when they could easily be prepared. I think people are just a bit too lazy these days!

  • Reply Rhian Westbury May 10, 2018 at 7:22 pm

    I do try to reuse and recycle as much as I can as we always have a lot of things to get rid of x

  • Reply Lisa May 10, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    We do what we can and we’re just about to embark on using washable nappies, wetwipes and breastpads once our baby is born. Our kids are well aware of recycling etc which I think if instilled at a young age can only be a positive thing. My daughters school is trying to reduce the amount of plastic as well 😀

    • Reply bettertogetherhome May 11, 2018 at 8:35 am

      We are using washable wipes and breast pads this time round – I’m still toying with the idea of reusable nappies I’m just a little nervous about that!

  • Reply Stephanie May 10, 2018 at 9:02 pm

    I use to be so much better at repairing things but I have got really bad and don’t anymore. It is a time thing and you can also buy things so cheap now. We are really good at recycling our rubbish though and sorting that to the right places.

  • Reply the frenchie mummy May 11, 2018 at 7:43 am

    I must admit that I actually never heard of the two last Rs! We are recycling as much as possible but I still feel that our waster is too big…

  • Reply Lisa (mummascribbles) May 11, 2018 at 8:13 am

    This is a fabulous post. I do what I can to reduce our waste but there are some brilliant tips that I will be trying out to improve what we already do!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome May 11, 2018 at 8:32 am

      Thanks Lisa! 🙂

  • Reply Emily / Babies and Beauty May 11, 2018 at 11:07 am

    I like the sound of repair. I always feel a bit I don’t know, cheap? Repairing things when they’re broken but you’ve made me feel a whole lot better about it.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome May 11, 2018 at 11:39 am

      I used to feel like that but actually it’s not cheap it’s clever 🙂

  • Reply John Milnes May 11, 2018 at 8:32 pm

    I studied this type of thing at Uni. I have a business degree. The one thing they taught us, that in any part of work or life. It is near impossible to have zero waste. That being said, in the home. It would be easy to recycle and up-cycle old goods or clothing, its what you do with these items that counts.

    Great post.
    John M

  • Reply Deb May 12, 2018 at 7:30 am

    So important and so glad to see more and more people thinking about it.

    We reuse food all the time. I also make bistro scrubs from used coffee beans – it’s so good x

  • Reply Janet May 12, 2018 at 11:20 am

    It’s very difficult to reduce our use of single use plastic isn’t it? I hope that consumer pressure will mean there are more choices soon.

  • Reply Anosa May 12, 2018 at 6:59 pm

    What lovely tips you’ve put together, I often try to re-use man items in my home.

  • Reply Sophie's Nursery May 13, 2018 at 7:40 am

    Some really useful tips! I always try & buy products with minimal or no packaging as sometimes it’s ridiculous how much is used! x

  • Reply Mudpie Fridays May 13, 2018 at 6:40 pm

    We recycle as much as possible having asked for a larger recycle bin recently from the council. Although we dont ‘rot’ as much as we use to before kids. I would also like to do more up cycling as I am only so inspired by others projects!

    • Reply bettertogetherhome May 14, 2018 at 9:10 am

      Our council don’t give recycling bins – you have to purchase large plastic bags from them which seems daft!

  • Reply Sharon Powell May 15, 2018 at 7:32 am

    Some great advice here. I am trying our best to reduce our families waste, I’ll definitely be using your advice moving forward x

  • Reply Kate May 17, 2018 at 4:59 pm

    This blog piece informative and the images are great. Our local council have just recently provided a variety of bins to help households be more green. so far great response according to the usuage of bins and more areas are getting involved. I grew up in New Zealand where there was always an encouragement to recycle and most schools encourage to plant trees every year. Just seems the world is catching up. It was German and Dutch immigrants that maybe influenced New Zealand but it good to see uk and other western countries being more green.

    • Reply bettertogetherhome May 18, 2018 at 10:40 am

      Thanks Kate. In the UK we are definitely behind other countries in terms of ‘being green’ but every little helps.

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