People are getting more aware of climate change and its effects on our planet and our daily lives. There are many ways we can reduce climate change consequences. The perfect solution would be trying to live minimally. For those who don’t know, April’s the Earth Day month, so zero-waste is a perfect topic for this month (or any other month, really).
Going zero waste and eco-friendly doesn’t mean living an ascetic lifestyle. On the contrary, you’re allowed to own as many things as you want as long as you do not throw them away. Reusing everything, recycling little and throwing away nothing would perfectly describe the zero-waste philosophy. If you’re finding yourself thinking about protecting the environment, living in a zero waste home is a brilliant way to start. Here are some tips on how to do it:
1. Say NO to Plastic Bags
Let’s be honest — people love plastic bags. They can be used for many things, but unfortunately, they’re not so good for our planet. People use nearly 2 million plastic bags every minute. Even though they can come in handy, before you decide to take a plastic bag from a supermarket, just ask yourself: “Do I really need this?”. The answer is, no, you probably don’t. So, instead of piling plastic bags from the supermarket, use some alternatives, which, aside from being eco-friendly, are also much more durable. Also, there are other options for rubbish, so you really don’t have an excuse to say no to plastic bags and convert to a zero waste home today!
2. Use Your Own Cups and Mugs
Drinking takeaway coffee from those tall cups looks great. But only on Instagram. In reality, takeaway coffee mugs create a lot of waste, so if you’re eco-conscious, that should make you a little concerned. Unfortunately, many coffee chains around the world aren’t. The best alternative is to use reusable cups and make your own coffee and tea. Seriously, once you start, you’ll never buy a takeaway coffee again!
3. Use Kitchen Towels, not Paper Napkins
Paper napkins sound practical, but there’s only one problem: they’re made from paper, and in order, to make paper, you need to cut down a tree. Clearcutting is already a serious problem for the environment, so reducing paper waste and recycling could really benefit the environment. Most people waste paper while eating out or, in the kitchen. So, next time when you want to wipe something off of the table, use a kitchen towel, instead of a paper napkin. Soon you’ll see that towels and other fabrics are much better for cleaning than napkins.
4. Make Your Own Home Cleaner
The majority of off-the-shelf cleaners are full of chemicals that are harmful to us and our planet. Luckily, you can make your own all-purpose cleaner. Aside from being eco-friendly, homemade cleaners are also better for your skin, eyes, and your wallet. Plus, they’re safe for kids and pets so you don’t need to worry anymore. If you’re new to DIY experiences, it’s best to start simple: make your own all-purpose home cleaner by mixing one part of warm water with one part of white vinegar. Keep in a spray bottle and use it whenever you need to clean surfaces in your home.
5. Don’t Throw away Your Food
Food is all around us. Supermarkets, restaurants and fast food chains are all around us. We consume what we want and the rest we throw away. Aside from being an environmental issue, food waste is problematic since all that food can be used to feed those in need. Instead of discarding the food from your fridge, you can use it to make a different new meal instead. You’ll feel better knowing that you didn’t throw it away.
6. Avoid Plastic Straws
Drinking with a straw can protect your teeth from staining and also reduce risk from choking. But, guess who also needs protection from choking? Sea turtles. That’s right, the plastic waste in the oceans has been killing sea turtles for a while now. If you can’t stop using straws, there are recyclable straws made from stainless steel. Aside from being eco-friendly, they’re also much more elegant, so using them is definitely a win-win.
7. Make Your Own Beauty Products
Using homemade facial cleansers and creams is much healthier since we’re aware of the ingredients inside. Another benefit of making your own beauty products is reducing the number of plastic containers. If you opt for making something nice for yourself, make sure to use a container you already own. Instead of buying expensive deep conditioners, you can make your own super effective hair mask by mixing avocado and coconut milk in a blender and then applying to dry hair. This intense pre-wash treatment can keep your hair protected from more aggressive shampoos and helps to untangle your locks.
8. Find a Way to Reuse Your Plastic Products
Switching to a zero waste home and living eco-friendly means less plastic however, we’re all well-aware that nowadays that’s easier said than done. In case you must use plastic products, make sure to find a way to reuse them at least twice before you decide to throw them away. Reuseable water bottles can be used many times over. And if you must throw them away, then it’s better to find someone nearby who recycles plastic, so it won’t end up on landfills. Aim to make sure to reuse your plastic bottles, cups, and boxes, or collect them until you can give them to someone who’ll find good use for them. And invest in some long-lasting reuseable water bottles.
9. Try to Avoid Fast Fashion
When it comes to waste and pollution, fast fashion gets a pretty bad rep, and rightly so, because according to some reports, textile factories contribute a lot to water pollution. Besides, fast fashion companies rely heavily on sweatshops that are notorious for their low-wages and terrible working conditions. Therefore, in order to minimize this, it’s best to shop for ethical brands or even better, from thrift stores. Also, if you have clothes that you don’t feel like wearing anymore, make sure to donate them, or give them to someone who needs them more than you.
10. Shop in Bulk or Use Larger Bottles and Packages
A large part of our shopping list consists of things that we purchase time and time again without giving it much thought. For example, we all need to use a shower gel, and if you don’t feel like using a soap bar due to hygienic reasons, that’s not a big deal even though soap bars are the perfect zero-waste solution. In case you really want to stick to your favorite creamy shower lotion, at least make sure to buy larger bottles so it’ll last you longer. That way you’ll minimize your own waste, and you’ll save some money in the long run. Additionally, switch to shopping in bulk, especially when it comes to spices, nuts, beans, coffee, and laundry detergent is a big step towards becoming a zero waste home.
These are some tips on going zero waste at home. If you need extra inspiration, Japanese town Kamikatsu is a place where people are trying their best to be zero waste. Another thing you can do is make your own compost and thrift shop. Whatever you do, it’s important to throw away less and reuse more.