You've probably heard about the zero waste movement and wondered how on earth you could squish all your plastic, garbage and wrappers down to nothing. Zilch. Nada.
Or at the very least, whether you could get your rubbish down to one jar. You don't have to go 100% zero waste in one single swoop. Take baby steps. Once something becomes second nature, try another way to reduce your waste further.
So where to start? Here are 10 different ways how to live waste-free.
1) No more takeaway containers
Life's busy, so chances are you get takeaways. Save the plastic containers by buying a BPA-free, stainless steel or Indian-style tiffin container. Some businesses may also allow you to bring your own reusable containers. Ask your local café or browse the online directory, Trashless Takeaway, to find cafes and restaurants near you that accept BYO takeaway containers.
Coffee-cups have been estimated to be the second largest contributor of rubbish waste after plastic bottles. Invest in a BYO coffee cup. Largely accessible and cheap to buy, it’s one of the easiest ways how to live waste-free…..and many cafés give you a discount if you do!
2) Ditch the disposables
While we're taking a stance on disposables, why not get a bamboo or metal straw for your takeaway juices and shakes? Replace tissues with handkerchiefs, use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, buy a refillable water bottle (in glass or metal) and carry your own reusable shopping bags.
3) Support sustainable fashion
Fashion ranks in the top 10 of the world's most polluting industries. A simple but effective way to flex your muscle as a conscious consumer is to ransack your local op shops and designer upcycle stores for second hand buys (hello designer brands at a bargain price!). Or simply support sustainable fashion brands with a minimal or zero-waste and fair pay policies.
4) Reduce food waste
There are some startling stats on food waste in Australia. For instance, we discard 35% of the food we buy. When food rots without air in landfill, it actually emits a greenhouse gas. So conjure up ways to use your food scraps (put them in smoothies or soups), eat as much of something as possible (carrot tops can be made into a delicious pesto) or compost them in your garden. If you can, plan your meals ahead so you buy just what you need.
5) Be inspired by others
There are a heap of people who have shaped their lifestyle around how to live waste-free, such as, Bea Johnson, the author of Zero Waste Home. Trash is for Tossers and Plastic Free Mermaid are also great resources.
6) Share, not buy
Technology is an amazing tool to support waste-free living. We're lucky to be living in a technology-enabled sharing economy. That means, instead of buying, we usually have the option to give, borrow or swap instead. Try your luck on Gumtree, or one of the buy-swap-sell groups on Facebook.
7) Push back on paper
If you haven't already done so, get onto your banks and utility providers to switch over to paperless communication. To take your tree-hugging, waste-free living gestures further, buy a no-junk-mail sticker for your letterbox or start using a free online diary.
8) Make it yourself
The maker movement is making a comeback, which is good news for the waste-free living movement. If making macrame wall hangings isn't your thing, experiment with your own body lotions, face masks, tooth powder or natural cleaning products. The options are endless.
9) Make memories, not more waste
If you're wondering how to live waste-free, buy less and experience more; try helping an African village to buy a goat, make a red velvet cake to bring to a party, treat someone you love to a hot air balloon ride, volunteer as a holiday or take a long walk in nature.
10) Upcycle your favourite sunglasses
It's a sad fact that when sunglasses get damaged or broken, they usually end up in the bin. We have an incredible waste-free living alternative. Sunglass Fix allows you to replace your old lenses with little effort and at a fraction of the cost to getting a new pair. Whether you’re looking for a new fashion statement or need to replace your scratched lenses, we can help!