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Sunday, 31 March 2019

Zero Waste Living: Where To Start

Hannah Barnes

I'm about to go plastic free, in a bid to eventually becoming seriously low waste, which I think is a pretty good place to start. Plastic is one of the biggest problems our world faces and if I can cut my dependence on it by even 50%, I'll be pretty chuffed. 


                   
So, where do you start when looking to cut your plastic use?

Here are a few ways I've attempted to prepare my myself for a waste free life. If you're embarking on a zero waste journey, this is where to start!

1. Assess What You Have


Heading out to purchase products to help on your zero waste journey, isn't necessarily a bad thing. But before you go wild, figure out what you already have at home. Chucking out all of your plastic containers, for example, just adds to the mountains of plastic already awaiting recycling (if that's even possible). You can still use them! Call it quits on buying new plastic items; but using what you already have is a sensible way to save it from ending up in the ocean. The same goes for all the forgotten items in the back of your cupboards. Reuse sauce jars, water bottles and cut up old clothing for reusable cloths and cotton pads.

2. Use Up What You Have 


In a similar vein, use up the products you already have at home. Get everything out of the cupboards and remind yourself what's actually in there. It makes for an interesting meal plan and means that, again, you won't be wasting the effort, natural resources and resulting pollution that came from manufacturing the - less than ideal, but perfectly serviceable - items you own. This goes for shampoo, body washes and cleaning products too. You might be tempted to chuck them out and replace with their eco friendly counterparts but it's far better to wait until you actually need a top up.

3. Suss Out Local Stores 


If you're lucky enough to have plastic free or zero waste specialist shop near you then check them out. Do a reccy and find out how it works, what they offer and what you'll need to bring (usually your own jars and containers). You can also suss out farm shops - take along cloth produce bags to avoid the plastic ones - and local bakeries, soap shops, butchers and fishmongers. When it comes to meat and fish you can take containers along again and get them filled up with produce. Worst case scenario, buy in bulk. If you're really stuck opt for the largest portion of whichever product you're after. Smaller versions just mean more waste, so go big - check out local wholesalers - and avoid individually packaged items.

4. Save Your Waste 


As unappealing as that sounds, it's worth saving your waste, or at least being more mindful, for a week. This way you can take stock of where you most offend and start coming up with ideas to immediately reduce your rubbish pile. I noticed that my diet coke habit was amounting to a huge pile of used aluminium cans, every single week - which finally gave me the push to kick it! I switched to lemon water, filling my long forgotten BRITA filter and refilling used plastic bottles. Honestly? I haven't looked back. I thought it would be a challenge for me to kick the caffeine, but as it turns out...water is far more refreshing, better for you and tastes delicious with a few slices of lemon thrown in.

5. Do Your Research

There is so much information out there. Barely a day goes by when I don't spot something on the news, or an article on my social feeds highlighting the waste epidemic we're facing. They're not all decrying the end of the world though! Many people are taking responsibility for their own waste, and writing about it. They've already been there and they know what they're talking about which is why I found it so helpful to follow their stories. You can find a bunch of resources in the zero waste guide I've put together here. Or else, stay tuned, for more on my own journey into a waste-free world.

Know of a Zero Waste shop near you? Let me know in the comments section!                               

Hannah Barnes / Author & Editor

I keep myself busy with my small business; The Loft Gifts, the period poverty charity I run; The Crimson Wave, writing here and for vaious platforms and a growing menagerie of household pets.

28 comments:

  1. I totally need to get into this more. I'm the worst at remembering bags, however, my other half is pretty good at that. I've recently gotten into buying more things at the charity shop and doing fun things with my recycling!

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    1. Hey, every little helps! Sounds like your partner needs putting in charge of the shopping to me and you can pop your feet up!

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  2. We've spent the last few months trying to use up what we have - it's so satisfying.

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    1. So glad somebody else gets it! I was so excited to reveal my almost-empty cupboard to a friend...but she just didn't get it. So, so satisfying!

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  3. Lots of great ideas. It just drives me mad that there isn't enough money invested to use plastic alternatives as it's so cheap to produce. We do have a Zero Shop around a 20 minute drive away, I need to investigate!

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    1. I know the feeling! I think we're getting there slowing. Go check it out and report back!

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  4. Love this post! I have been doing a lot more recently and found a shop that is zero waste to me. It may be slightly further than the supermarket, but means i can take my jars and stock up

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    1. Yes! I feel exactly the same. Plus, supporting local business is good for the soul!

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  5. Good luck! I think this is such an amazing thing to do. I'm not sure if I would manage to completely do it myself but you have certainly given me some ideas to think on, on ways to cut down.

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    1. Glad to be giving you ideas even if it's just one Sarah! Thanks so much for reading.

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  6. I'm happy to share that many of my friends have been discussing this lately. I'll send them this link. Thank you!

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    1. Thanks for sharing! Let's spread the word.

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  7. I love this!! We always try to cut waste and recycle as much as we can xx

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  8. I’ve been trying to make more conscious effects now of reducing our plastic waste but switching to water bottles made out of bamboo for example to help us not continuing to buy and throw away once used. I don’t know if we have any zero waste shops near us but I will be intrigued to find out.

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    1. Definitely look into it Kirsty! I can't wait to get myself a proper water bottle, currently just reusing old plastic ones.

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  9. This is such a great in depth post, I have said before I would love to go more towards zero waste but I've not known how to start. So I am going to slowly start bringing these tips in. I think if I did it all at once it would be too much and I would probably just give up.

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    1. That's my thinking too Sarah! I'm doing it little my little to save myself the overload!

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  10. I've started trying to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I've stopped buying plastic water bottles and use a reusable one and also a reusable coffee cup.

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  11. We have been looking at the amount of rubbish and recycling that we have been producing at home. Purchasing reusable bottles has really made an impact especially on days out etc

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    1. Can't wait to get my hands on one for myself!

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  12. We've been considering what we have been producing recently so this is a very handy post. We've actually just had a zero waste shop open up nearby.

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  13. You're right about using up what you have as opposed to just throwing it all out as that's just as wasteful x

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    1. Exactly my thinking! Itching for some new bits, but holding back.

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  14. I am really consciously reducing our plastic usage - it is horrifying how much the nation gets through. I am doing more research at the moment. Kaz

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    1. Best place to start Kaz! It really is horrifying!!

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