Ten easy zero waste tips for avoiding single-use.
Updated: Aug 8, 2020
The waste that we discard through the course of our daily lives is often used for such a short time before it ends up in the bin. When you consider the resources that go into making these items, and also how long they may take to degrade afterwards, you can see how wasteful many of these items are. So, here are some straight forward ways in which you can start to reduce your single use consumption and start living low waste now!
1. Carry a set of cutlery from home in your bag. That way you can avoid single use disposable plastic cutlery if you decide to grab lunch out. Also, a washable linen napkin is an essential so that you can say no to paper napkins.
2. Carry a stainless steel/reusable bottle for water instead of buying plastic bottled water.
3. Buy your fruit and vegetables at the local greengrocers/market and place straight in your bag (fruit and veg have their own protection - skin!). Use cotton or mesh drawstring bags and carry them with you for loose items such as tomatoes or mushrooms. Markets will often supply paper bags for each item that you buy, but remember, paper packaging is still resource intensive and only designed to be used for a brief amount of time. If you don't need it then say no, and if you do try and reuse it.
4. Track down local shops which sell un-packaged products and ask for them to be put into your own container or bag. For example, go to a baker for your weekly loaf and ask for it in your own cloth bag.
5. Take your lunch to work. You can re-use glass jars from items such as peanut butter, sauces or pickles to pack up salads, soups, pasta or curries, and you wont get any plastic leakage. Alternatively, use beeswax wraps or a cotton wrap for sandwiches.
6. Switch out washing up sponges for cloth dish cloths that can be put in the washing machine. Also a set of wooden and natural fiber brushes work well on pots, pans and bottles.
7. Compost your fruit, vegetable and other natural waste. Get your local council to collect it each week or start a compost bin in your garden.
8. Swap foil for beeswax or soy wax wraps. There are lots of tutorials online for making your own wraps, or you can invest in some yourself. Another great alternative to foil and baking paper is to use silicone baking sheets in your oven trays.
9. Try your hand at making packaged food items from scratch. Think hummus, guacamole, wraps, biscuits and crackers.
10. Make your own cleaning spray from equal parts vinegar and water and add a few drops of essential oil. Bicarb is also highly effective on tough stains and bin smells and can be bought from your local zero waste shop.