As the zero waste movement gathers momentum, this week sees zero waste being celebrated in Ireland. When you first delve into the world of zero waste, it can seem overwhelming and your first instinct is to close your eyes and block your ears singing ‘lalalalala' loudly to block out the shame you’re feeling about your wasteful indulgent lifestyle. Relax, take a deep breath and have a read of some of the small changes you can make that are realistic (it’s probably what our parents all did anyway) and a step in the right direction.
- Plan meals and shopping lists so you only get what you want and don’t buy 2 for 1 on perishables as some of them will more than likely go off
- Once every couple months use up everything you have in your freezer and presses
- Use up fruit and veggies in smoothies and soups
- Embrace the blackened bananas for banana bread
- Freeze any leftover dinner for lunches & dinners
- Bring your own bags when shopping (that goes for clothes too) and choose fruit and veg with the least amount of packaging. Better yet, shop in a whole foods shop that encourages you to bring your own containers for grains, pulses, oils... the list goes on
- Have a clear out of furniture and clothing and donate to the charity shop (once it’s in good condition)
- Repair appliances (our dishwasher stopped draining and one plumber told us we’d be better buying a new one (approx $300) than going down the route of fixing the old one. It turned out it just needed a washer and including the call out cost $50)
- Make a natural all purpose cleaner from household ingredients. There are tons of blogs on this so here’s one to get you started
- Sell anything you don't need in a yard sale or online or else give away for free on a free trade site. I love these sites, you can list items and no doubt you will be contacted in minutes and a collection arranged. I have got hanging baskets and strawberry plants for my garden and have listed garden slabs and kids toys that were gone to a new home in no time.
- Use a bar of soap for hand wash instead of the plastic pump bottles.
- Put a ‘no unaddressed mail’ sign on your letterbox to stop junk mail. I tried the ‘no junk mail’ sign but was still getting some. I suppose people have different views of what constitutes ‘junk mail’
- Buys second hand or swap with friends. Unless you plan on dancing with a glass of red wine in your hand, borrow from friends for formal wear and save a fortune.
- Bring your own shopping bags and say no to the shoe boxes and extra bags
- Buy quality pieces that, although may cost more, you’ll cherish and have for years to come
- Donate your old clothes to charity and clothing bank and use really old ones as dust cloths
- Keep aside any children’s clothes, shoes and toys for friends and family who might start a family. We lucked out with an older nephew and a friend’s son whose clothes have been passed onto our kids saving us thousands, I mean it, thousands. I currently have bags of kids clothes put away for the next boys who come along
- I can’t recommend enough natural face mask using ingredients you probably already have in your press. My favourite is an oat mask followed by a honey mask (read this blog for ingredients). Put them on when watching a movie and let nature work it’s magic.
- Silk threads (a few of them, undid of course, twisted together) make a great alternative to dental floss. In fairness, I’ve a pretty good supply of them and have sent out some to customers who requested them
There are a few tips to get you started. For more check out Bea on Zero Waste Home for the ultimate guide ;)