The UK has a serious problem, a problem with waste.
I know these figures seem like an incredible amount, but think about how much waste you might produce on a regular day. Disposable water bottles, coffee cups, napkins, all the packaging you throw out, the list goes on and on because we live in a very disposable society. But sitting back and accepting this trash problem is hardly the answer, in fact, with a few adjustments living a zero waste lifestyle is very possible.
This new way of living takes a lot of effort and motivation. But there are people out there living this way with information to help you if you decide this is a path you want to go down.
Bea Johnson, the famed Zero Waste Home blogger and zero waste guru outlines simple steps everyone can adopt to reduce their trash. If everyone in the UK followed a few of these habits, we could save thousands of tons of trash from landfills, improve air and water quality, and even save some money in the process.
Here are some helpful tips on where to begin:
1. Down with Disposables — The kitchen is filled with disposable items that are responsible for a whole lot of waste. Try these alternatives instead:
- Replace paper towels with reusable rags
- Pack to-go meals with reusable sandwich bags
- Non-Disposable or biodegradable dinnerware
- Always bring your own shopping bags
- Earth friendly sponges
2. Buy in Bulk — Taking a few minutes of planning before you head to the your local supermarket can help eliminate that waste.
3. Love your Leftovers — Check out these recipes from WeHateToWaste.com and learn to love your leftovers. Whatever can’t be salvaged should be composted!
4. Recycle! — Always recycle paper or paper-based products. While reusable water bottles are the BEST option, any plastic water bottles should be recycled as well.
5. Shop Second Hand — Carbon Trust estimates that CO2 emissions associated with clothing account for three percent of global emissions. This number includes out-sourced production, shipping, washing, and drying. Shopping second hand saves good clothing from a landfill and reduces the overall demand for clothing production.
6. Take Care of Clothes — Buying fewer items of higher quality will save you money in the long run and make it more likely you will take the time to mend rips and tears instead of throwing it out.
9. Simplify Cleaning Supplies — White Vinegar and baking soda are your new best friends. These all natural alternatives to dangerous chemical cleaners are versatile, effective, and eliminate plastic bottle waste. Check out this link for a list of zero waste alternatives for all your bathroom supplies.
10. Make Your Own Cosmetics — Save money, avoid harsh chemicals, plastic containers, and packaging by making your own cosmetics. Check out Free People’s blog for instructions on how to make your own natural cheek and lip stains, perfume, shampoo, make-up remover, and more. Also be sure to check out OGP’s very own DIY beauty guides right here.
These are only a few ways you can live with less waste. So for more information on adopting a zero waste lifestyle, check out these helpful resources:
- Zero Waste Home
- The Story of Stuff
- 42 Ways Not To Make Trash by No Impact Man
- Trash Is For Tossers
- Why You Should Try Zero Waste Living by Utne