Advanced Tips To Reduce WasteDecember 2, 2021 · Maria Harutyunyan
Read on to discover actionable zero waste tips that could be the first step towards an eco revolution.
But First… The 5 RsThe 5 Rs — refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle, and rot — are an excellent introduction to the zero waste lifestyle. Here’s a brief breakdown of each step on the zero waste journey.
- Refuse what you don’t need. Refusing things isn’t easy, particularly when they’re free. But think about whether you really need them. Could you enjoy your drink without a straw, for example?
- Reduce what you do need. In today’s society, many people believe that more is more. The festive season, in particular, is a perfect example of excessive wastefulness. So, the next time you pick up a mega pack in your next grocery shop, just consider how mega you really need things to be.
- Reuse by repurposing stuff, or by using reusable objects like metal straws. You’d be surprised just how many items are reusable and a great way to reduce waste. If you like drinking from a straw just take your own reusable metal straw out with you to minimize single-use waste.
- Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse. Endeavour to recycle your waste once you’ve exhausted the preceding options. Just make sure you follow the specific recycling guidelines that are available on most packaging.
- Rot (compost) the rest. A compost heap can be great if you’re planning to grow fruits and vegetables or just improve your garden. Not only does it help to reduce waste but it can be an enjoyable pastime too.
Getting Started: Simple Tips
If you’re wondering how to be zero waste, here are some simple tips you can try to get your zero waste journey under way.
- Refuse single-use tableware. Stop using items like paper towels, garbage liners or aluminum sheets and go for kitchen towels, reusable rags, and cease using garbage liners entirely, since wet waste can still be used as compost.
- Buy in bulk and shop from the farmer’s market. Just remember that buying in bulk doesn’t mean purchasing large amounts that aren’t likely to be used and may eventually need to be thrown away. It means buying more things that are contained in one piece of packaging rather than individual items.
- Invest in a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers halve the cooking time of a normal cooker, so you’ll have less hassle and use less energy.
- Compost food leftovers. It enriches the soil.
- Use 100% recycled and unbleached toilet paper wrapped in paper. These are the same products you’ll normally find in restaurants and hotels. An alternative option is to use a washlet or washcloths instead.
- Use reusable razors and sustainable toothbrushes, which last much longer than the single-use or plastic alternatives.
- Refuse single-use beauty items. If you’re looking for reusable beauty products that will help you on your zero waste journey, try the LastRound — reusable cotton rounds or LastSwab — a reusable cotton swab.
- Stick to minimal wardrobes, shoes and purses and buy second hand. Rather, oft for a time capsule wardrobe, which is a small number of interchangeable pieces that might just change your shopping and waste habits for good.
- Avoiding impulsive purchases. An impulsive purchase is often one that comes with regret later, so try the one-week rule. If you still want it in a week and you can justify it, then go ahead and make the purchase.
- Donate unworn pieces. Second hand clothes are always wanted and needed. Lending a hand to charity and helping the planet at the same time is a big win-win.
- Use natural cleaning alternatives. For example, you can use Castile soap on floors and sinks, white vinegar mix as an all-purpose cleaner, and baking soda for scrubbing jobs. They’re just as effective but cheaper and better for the environment.
- Dry clothes on a line when possible. Even in the winter months, you can still hang clothes somewhere inside so you don’t need to use the dryer.
- Consider upcycling before throwing things away. It’s a great way to start leading a more zero waste lifestyle.
Advanced Zero Waste Tips
Advanced tips will have a long-term impact on your zero waste efforts, so they may seem a little trickier to begin with, but their impact will make a huge difference. Here are some zero waste ideas you can give a try.
Sustainable Electricity: Reducing and Swapping Providers
Most electricity companies will offer you the earth but leave out the damage that they are doing to it. Homes need electricity to function, so this can’t altogether be ignored but switching to an electricity provider that uses 100% renewable power (like solar or wind), is a good solution.
Another idea for saving power in your home would be reducing or eliminating air-conditioning. Air-conditioning might seem like the answer to everything when the weather warms up but it uses a large amount of electricity and brings more problems than it solves in most cases. LED-bulbs and energy efficient household appliances will also ensure that you don’t miss out on the necessities in your home. You can also rest in the knowledge that such a swap is making a difference!
Moreover, while the winter months are always more expensive when it comes to heating bills, installing double pane windows or even insulating windows and doors in your home can prevent high costs and promote strong changes. Tankless water heaters can also be something to consider because they offer fewer carbon emissions and only use the amount of energy that is required.
We’ve all stood in the shower for a lengthy period of extra time just because it feels so good! But it’s time to consider some of the consequences of this. Reducing the amount of time we take using showers and washing machines is a big step towards saving the planet. You can overcome such challenges by buying customizable shower heads, for example. Water-saving taps are another solution if you ever have problems with the kids leaving them running. You could also insert silicone rings on the taps, which limits the water flow no matter what your general water pressure may be.
Use The Services Of A Sustainable Bank
Sustainable banks work with clients to minimize the climate change effects on their operations. Digital technologies help to ensure that banks no longer need to send out paper documents anymore but can instead rely on email and online banking. While physical bank branches can be very useful, joining a bank with no physical branch can also help to reduce your carbon footprint drastically.
Learn more in our ethical banking guide, to get a full grasp of how your choice of bank gets you closer to leading a more zero waste life.
Reduce Your Digital Waste
Instead of using normal browsers like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox, add the Ecosia extension instead. Ecosia uses the ad revenue from your searches to plant trees where they are needed most. As of November 2021, over 137 million trees have been planted by Ecosia using their own solar energy plant to power every search. By simply using this browser extension to browse the web as normally would, you can make a big impact on the planet’s future.
Another way to reduce digital waste is checking your phone storage. Deleting old files that you don’t need is a great way to save space as well as energy.
Pay Attention To How You Travel
While travel in itself is ultimately unsustainable, it’s still essential to a normal livelihood. A great approach to minimizing your impact is endeavoring to use green transportation modes or choosing green destinations for holidays. Copenhagen and Costa Rica are two sustainable places you need to visit. Both destinations pride themselves on being pioneers for sustainable tourism. The lighter you travel the better because it significantly reduces emissions.
A minimalist lifestyle is another great way to lead a more zero waste life. Not only is it better for the environment but it also helps you to declutter and focus your time and energy on the things that really matter in your life.
Stop Junk Mail In Your Mailbox
Junk mail may seem like a constant pain that just fills up our mailbox, but the reality is much scarier! The annual production and transport of junk mail consumes more energy than 2.8 million cars idling around the clock. The amount of greenhouse gases produced in the annual production, delivery and disposal of junk mail is equivalent to the output of 11 coal-fired power plants!
Most local authorities or citizens advice bureaus will have some handy tips for preventing junk mail from making it’s way from your letter box to the bin. A couple of useful tactics are adding a ‘no junk mail’ sign on your door or registering with a mail reference service to prevent certain mail from being delivered to you.
Start Reducing Waste To Save The World
Your interest in this topic and plan to lead a more environmentally friendly lifestyle is a massive step. Take the next step by following the simple zero waste tips to make small lifestyle changes before moving on to the more advanced ideas that will have a bigger and longer-term impact on the world.