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Zero Waste Tips: The Beginner’s Guide to Waste Reduction at Home

February 10, 2023

[4 min read]

What is Zero Waste Living?

Having no trash at all may seem like an impossible thing to do, but when you choose a zero waste lifestyle you are trying to live your life by creating as little waste as possible. Zero waste is the simple concept of paying more attention to how your consumer habits impact the environment. This means committing to reducing what we need, reusing as much as we can, and not relying on recycling centres as much as you rely on yourself.

There’s plenty that we can do to reduce waste, but you can start by choosing one or two things from the list below and turn them into habits. And then keep doing more to increase your habits into a more sustainable way to live.

How to Start?

Think about the main reason why you decided to begin your zero waste journey, whether it’s to preserve the environment, to save money or you are deeply concerned about the worldwide plastic pollution. When in doubt, reference to why you started this journey from the start when you need some inspiration to keep your new habits up!

These are 10 tips that will help you to start to think about some basic ways to start reducing waste:

1. Start by eliminating single-use items

Take a look around you and note down what items you constantly reuse and what you throw out regularly. You’ll notice some items everyday items that you have to constantly place in the bin after just using it once. Those are the items that will regularly pile up your trash can, most of those culprits will include paper napkins, plastic utensils, drinking bottles and cotton pads. When possible, swap those items with reusable ones, such as reusable cutlery, a washable drinking cup wherever you go, including the office, and reusable cotton pads that you can wash and reuse for removing makeup.

2. Opt for bar soap instead of bottle

Did you know? A bar of soap lasts six times longer than a liquid soap! The quality of the ingredient is just as good as a liquid soap and it requires no plastic packaging, takes up less space, and are smaller to transport thus have lower emission from transportation that a bottle of liquid soap or shampoo. This saves you plenty of trips to the store and much less bottles to recycle at home.

3. Repair your things

With the rise of Amazon and fast fashion, we’ve become spoiled with choices and prices. So much that when we get a small stain on our top, we just buy the exacts same one online and dispose of the old one in the bin. Products on marketplaces such as Amazon are sold so cheap and shipped so fast that we can buy and replace things in less than 20 seconds.

We tend to forget that throwing things away could have an impact to the environment. The next time you have a broken lamp or a broken zip, repair them when possible as it will also save you money and you’re doing better than most people out there for the environment.

4. Plan out your meals weekly

Not only does this reduces your food wastage, planning out your food for the week will allow you to see how much you’re actually eating. A good meal plan will also encourage you to cook at home and avoid delivering food and wasting money. This is also a good way to save your time every day, for those of you that spends at least 30 minutes deciding what to eat or order by scrolling through delivery app options.

5. Use what you have

Sometimes all it takes is to have a look around your house for things you might already have. This is one of the best ways to reduce waste at home. We tend to forget some of the things we have already bought in the past in our cupboards or storage closet, you never know what you will find when you start clearing your house up and living with minimal possessions.

Tips: Use up empty glass jars from food or candles to store food or things or even as a plant pot. (Be sure to clean them first!) It’s all about being resourceful and creative with what you have.

6. Shop second hand

When you need to buy an item, check out your local thrift stores first, many of these can also be found online. There’s so many thrift shops out there with new items that people get rid of and at a much lower price. It’s also good to check out local brands that are producing items through a greener initiative.

7. Choosing to support brands that don't use plastic in their packaging

If you haven’t already, it’s a good initiative to check out some of the local brands in your city that are supporting a greener lifestyle. Most brands with a green initiative will display all their social and environmental responsibility on their website. Think about some of the worst plastic users when you are doing your online shopping, many brands that has 0 environmental policies tend to package their items with loads of plastic and bubble wraps instead of paper packaging. Think of all that plastic you will then have to dispose of.

Check out our guide on what NOT to recycle at home here. This includes things such as packing peanuts, stickers, and clothes hangers.

8. Support your local market and community

It’s always great to get your family, friends and the neighbours around you involved in reducing waste. Some of the ways to get involved in your local community is to start supporting local bulk food store, farmers market and community gardens. Get involved in your local recycling community and find out ways you can get involved.

Planning a clothing swap or evening joining a few around is a great way to support your community. Get involved in getting your thoughts heard by sending an email to your local council about single-use plastics in your area.

9. Start composting

If you are ever interested, it’s always a great idea to start your own compost bin, this is one of the most affective method of reducing your overall waste at home. You can use your compost to build healthier soil, prevent soil erosion, conserve water, and improve plant growth in your garden. Food scraps and paper are some items that you can compost at home. It’s good to also start switching from non-compostable items to ones that has a compostable label on it.

10. Consume less

Isolating your mind from trends on TikTok and all social media can more save money and reduce your overall product consumptions. We tend to be exposed to new products and trends everyday and switching your mind set can change your lifestyle for the good of the planet and for your own personal wellbeing. Consider switching to a minimalistic lifestyle by having less products at home. Challenge consumerism by developing a relationship with your items and purchase products that will last in the long run.

Image Credits:

  1. Jilbert Ebrahimi via unsplash
  2. Bluewater Sweden via unsplash
  3. Micheile dot com via unsplash
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