As satisfying as I think it would feel to fit a years worth of rubbish inside a jam jar, I’m certainly not here to claim that I am, in any way, #ZeroWaste. I think the Zero Waste movement can be quite daunting as it’s very difficult to know where to begin. Single use packaging is everywhere; it can feel overwhelming to suddenly try and avoid it all. However, by making a few incredibly simple swaps you can really make a dent in the amount of waste you produce.
~Food & Drink~
Plastic bags → reusable tote bags
An obvious swap, but we’re all guilty of forgetting to take our reusables to the shops so try and pop a few in the boot of your car or at the bottom of your rucksack so that you’ve always got some to hand for when you need them.
I love The Vegan Kind; shop their “because I’m not a baby cow” tote here.
Single use cutlery → reusable cutlery
A great thing to keep on you if you tend to buy food to take out at lunch times – it’ll stop you grabbing the single use ones in the coffee shop! You can buy sets of reusable cutlery, but if you’ve already got some light-weight metal ones in your kitchen then just use those!
Plastic straws → metal/glass/bamboo straws
We don’t really need to drink with a straw, so if it’s not your thing then simply remember to say “no straw please!” when you’re ordering a drink, but if you do like to use one then swap over to something you don’t need to throw away – metal, glass and bamboo alternatives are all available.
Paper napkins → cloth napkins
Perfect for wrapping your reusable cutlery and straws in to take out and about, don’t forget some napkins. You’ll no longer need to grab paper ones when you’re out for food. If you don’t already have some in your kitchen – try buying one or two second hand, I got mine from a charity shop.
Snacks & food packaging → take your own in a tupperware
Cutting down on buying food to take away is a great way to slash the amount of rubbish you’re producing. Make up your own lunches and snacks at home and transport them out and about in a tupperware.
I got my metal lunchbox as a gift, but check out Elephant Box if you’re in the market for a new one.
Single use drinks bottles → reusable water bottle
Avoid buying drinks in single use bottles and instead keep your own bottle of water to hand and fill it up when you get a chance.
I love Chilly’s bottles because they’re insulated, meaning they’ll keep your drink hot or cold for hours, but there’s loads of great metal bottles available.
Make up wipes → muslin cloths
Cleansing your face at the end of the day can be a bit of a wasteful task if you’re using makeup wipes or disposable cotton pads, try using your cleanser with muslin cloths or cotton rounds instead and just throw them in the wash when they’re dirty.
Plastic shampoo & conditioner bottles → shampoo & conditioner bars
A brilliant swap to completely cut out plastic hair care bottles from your life – simply use a shampoo bar instead, they’re just as effective and not to mention take up a load less room in your shower!
Shower gel → soap bars
I don’t know about you, but I just to get through shower gel bottles at a rate of knots, swapping to soap bars not only cuts out a chunk of plastic waste – but they also last loads longer.
Moisturiser → body butter bar
Yet another bar (I just can’t get enough), bars like this one contain loads of delicious cocoa butter in a handy solidified form, just rub on to damp skin and you’ll be soft as a baby seal. I am in love with this one from Lush, which both moisturises and exfoliates.
Disposable sanitary items → Mooncup/reusable pads
Ditch the monthly expense of buying tampons and towels and invest in a menstrual cup or reusable pads. As with every change, these can take a small amount of getting used to, but once you’re sorted, you’ll never look back.
I use a Mooncup, but there’s loads of different menstrual cups available, so do a little research. Eco Femme, a women led enterprise, is brilliant for reusable pads and when you buy from them you’re contributing to their “pad for pad” scheme which provides women and girls in India with the knowledge and tools they need to manage their periods.