Thankfully, current generations are beginning to realise that we should be actively trying to minimise our waste daily. Whether that’s making an effort to bring your Keep Cup to your local cafe or to put in the effort to recycle mindfully. These days, it’s becoming easier and easier to join the zero waste movement trend so we wanted to share some of our top tips! For some, these ideas will be nothing out of the ordinary. But for those new to the journey, or those just looking for a little inspiration, be sure to give this blog post a read!
When it comes to minimising our waste, it first takes an awareness of how much waste we’re producing. There is a serious waste issue going on in the world if you haven’t already realised. So it’s about time we started making small efforts every day to be a bit more mindful about our choices. Everything from our purchasing habits, to our daily routines and our disposal processes, contributes to this worldwide problem.
We throw out over 50 tons of household waste every second. This horrifying statistic is expected to double by 2030. But think about it, that’s just the waste we see in our own homes. Each bag of household waste has produced nearly 70 bags of waste during its extraction and production processes.
So for anyone who says that ‘one straw’ won’t make a difference, remind them that it’s their mindset that does. Our attitude towards minimising our waste is what will shape our futures, and to be entirely honest, it’s not that hard. We’ll show you how!
1. Shifting your Purchasing Behaviour: in a world driven by convenience, we’re always looking for the easiest option and the cheapest solution. Fast fashion brands are constantly in our inboxes and on our facebook feeds driving us to purchase the latest trends at slashed prices. But by feeding into these cycles, we’re enforcing the idea that our clothing and our purchases are entirely derived from a need to keep up with those around us, rather than an actual need for the item of clothing. Buy for comfort rather than trend and only when explicitly required. Another way to think of this is only to purchase clothes when you’re having to replace worn-out items, or clothing which doesn’t fit. Even then, make the mindful choice to sell quality clothing on facebook marketplace, or donate unwanted clothing to secondhand stores. Perhaps even look into a Capsule Wardrobe, which is based around having essential items which you can wear in many different ways! Beyond the world of clothing, be mindful about your other purchases.
Take the time to ask yourself:
- do I need this item?
- will this item bring me joy?
- how long will this item last?
- how will I dispose of it sustainably?
- can I make it myself?
- can I buy it second-hand?
- can I buy this locally?
- what options do I have to purchase this item sustainably?
Another idea is to place a 24 hour thinking time on your purchases, meaning that you have to wait 24 hours before ‘checking out’. It's all about slowly down and taking the time to think through our choices rather than buying out of habit or impulse!
2. Buy Local! Purchasing local, preferably directly from the producer is a great way to reduce the environmental impact involved with shipping and transport. It’s also a great way to support local businesses if they’re already making a great effort to buy sustainably and be mindful of their impact. From a food perspective, head to your local Farmers Market to grab your fresh vegetables and produce. It’s likely to be spray-free, organically grown and significantly better for you nutritionally. Head to the library to stock up on some great reads rather than buying the book new. Also, check out Facebook Marketplace! It’s a great way to buy clothing and homewares from people around you and expand the life cycle of purchases.
3. Produce and Reusable Bags: We’re all pretty used to bringing our own reusable bags to the grocery store or market. So make sure you grab some reusable produce bags too! We made our own at home, check out the DIY tutorial here and we just keep them inside our reusable bags so they’re ready for our next grocery shop. If you have a Bin Inn nearby, this is an ideal place to stock up on your household essentials and check out some great eco-friendly products! Often you’ll be able to take your pantry containers and fill them up in-store which prevents you from having to purchase your products in plastic bags of their own. We love keeping a reusable bag in our handbag for on the go too, this is great if you’re heading into town or end up popping into the supermarket on your way home unexpectedly.
Check out our blog post which goes behind-the-scenes of the Cambridge Boomerang Bag Movement! These amazing women transformed the way our small town used reusable bags!
4. Food Transport: if you’re transporting food to work or school, say goodbye to single-use glad wrap or glad bags. Grab some beeswax wraps from your local supermarket, market or Bin Inn! These are perfect for wrapping up lunchbox treats or sandwiches for work. Making lunch at home is ideal anyway, as you have full clarity on what’s in your food and you can mindfully reduce your daily waste. We found these awesome reusable snack bags made by a local woman in Cambridge which is perfect for nuts, popcorn or other small snacks. If you’re packing a salad for lunch, grab a mason jar instead! We love keeping a reusable cup, a metal straw and a set of cutlery in our handbag for on the go. Here is a little DIY cutlery case which I’ve made for my bag. Keep Cups are great and coffee shops are usually happy to make the coffee straight into the Keep Cup. Also, grab a reusable drink bottle if you haven’t already! Glass or metal drink bottles would be preferred for health reasons!
5. A Zero Waste Period: this has been my recent adventure! If you’ve read our blog post about Endometriosis you’ll know that periods aren’t always much fun, but I can honestly admit that I feel a lot better about my period when I’m using mindful products. If you haven’t tried a menstrual cup before, don’t be afraid! While they look a little intimidating, they’re super easy to use once you get the hang of it. Check out the awesome brand called Wā Collective which all about supporting young women who are looking to minimise their waste. Each purchase of a cup subsidies a cup for a woman in need - preventing period poverty from affecting education in NZ. Reusable pads are also a great option, not to mention super cost effective! I’ve purchased some from Nappy Needz (who also sell reusable breast pads, cloth nappies etc.) and I’m loving them!
6. Bathroom Essentials: the bathroom is a great place to start if you wish to reduce your waste. These days you can buy everything from eco-friendly toothbrushes, handmade toothpaste, bio-degradable floss and so much more. We’re loving experimenting with shampoo and conditioner bars from Ethique. They’re a lovely way to wash your hair, super easy to use and last for significantly longer than a bottle of shampoo! The chemicals in store-bought deodorant would horrify you, so check out these eco-friendly options from Dirty Hippie. Dirty Hippie also sells great safety razor options - which is great to look into. We’re currently using bar alternatives for our shampoo, conditioner, body soap, hand wash, deodorant, and body lotions! It’s a super easy and affordable way to reduce your waste!
If you haven’t realised, there are so many ways you can start putting an effort into being mindful about your purchase decisions. Start small and rather than replacing your household items or clothing with your old favourites, do a little research, browse the shops and get creative with buying sustainably. A great way to spread the word is to gift sustainably too! If you’ve got a friend who is interested in your new finds, perhaps purchase them some eco-friendly products for their home as a birthday or Christmas gift!
Here are some websites to check out for more ideas and inspiration:
https://mostlyvegan.co.nz (a great local store to check out if you live in the Waikato!)
Don’t forget to check out our ‘zero waste’ board on Pinterest for our latest finds and ideas!
We also love sharing new zero waste tips on our Instagram stories @livelivelynz
From our home to yours,
Hi there! Thanks for checking out the Live Lively blog. I am so excited to share my passion for productivity, personal growth and wellbeing!