How to make your life zero waste

Zero waste is a great goal in life. For most people its a goal that won't be reached. Sound harsh? Well if you actually look at your home garbage I guarantee that you will have necessary evils in there that you don't have the resources to dispose of. It is achievable to drastically reduce your waste. One day last year I stood and looked at my own garbage bin, over flowing and unable to add the last bag to the top before garbage day which was weekly. All I could think was, how on earth did a mostly one adult and one 3yr old create that much rubbish in a week?! The answer is simple, we often just don't have the effort to put into sorting and dealing with things. Not to mention a life time of accumulated junk from before sustainability became a known issue. In my teens and twenties I saw no issue with filling the bin. Somethings broken, get a new one, want an upgrade, sure why not? Now when I see something shinny in a shop i stop and think, does mine still work, does it need replacing? Or even if something i own breaks, do i actually need it at all, is it worth replacing?

These simple ideas are how any home can go low waste. Look at what you are throwing away each time you take the trash out. I guarantee half of it will be recyclable and about another 1/4 compostable. At least one item in there could be given to charity. Doubtful? Since that day that i stood there staring at my bin I tried several methods for dealing with waste. I had a 4 bin system for a while which was too much work for me. So instead i tried to be more mindful of what was recyclable and what was garbage. Notice I said garbage, not waste. Ill come back to that. This week when i took my bin out, there was one bag in there. The simple act of being more mindful of which bin i throw into reduced my garbage from 4 bags a week to 1. I also occasionally have a container on the bench for compost but usually only if im making a big batch of dinners and know i will easily fill it. (I am terrible at remembering to empty the compost bins and they attract bin flys)

No back to waste vs garbage. Waste is anything that leaves your home. Recycling, garbage, homewares. If you are getting rid of it, its waste. Garbage is anything that is going into the garbage bin and put into landfill. We need to reduce our garbage as a first step to reducing waste. If you have to buy packaging, make it recyclable or even compostable in the case of cardboard or paper. So here are my top tips that may work for your household.

1. Bring cutlery and a reuseable straw with you when you go out. there are some great ideas for cutlery holders on pinterest.
2. Remember your reuseable bag. Clip one or two to your handbag or car keys so you always have some on you.
3. Don't buy wrapped produce. Fruit and veg doesn't need its own bag, you can just chuck it into the bag with the rest of the groceries. Or you can buy recycled produce bags made of recycled plastic if you buy large quantities at a time. I use these ONYA ones from Biome.
4. Put leftovers into reuseable containers, not zip lock bags or plastic wrap. Washed jars are great to store food and freeze well (remember to leave a gap at the top for the food to expand when frozen).
5. Use a bar of soap. This might sound odd but body wash comes with packaging and soap often comes with many bars in the one box.
6. you Don't need to wash your hair as often as you think. you hair produce oil as a reaction to shampoo. Once a week is more than enough. I have had the same bottle of shampoo for 6months now.
7. Cook from scratch. Fresh food isn't packaged so nothing in, nothing out. Its also cheaper and better for you.
8. Get a soda stream. They now allow you to recycle the bottles and get a replacement for half price, win win. Soda stream cuts out the plastic bottles which clog our waterways. I didn't think this was such an issue until i filled a bag as tall as me in 2 weeks over christmas with cans and soda bottles! Most states also currently allow a 10c refund if you return plastic bottles.
9. Buy in bulk. More product, less packaging.
10. Never buy individually wrapped items like cheese and biscuits. Buy by the block or bag or in the case of snacks, make your own.

These simple changes will mean an instant reduction in the amount of garbage leaving your home for not alot of extra effort. I will do another post about changes you can make to reduce this even further.

If you want further inspiration this woman has a family, and is zero waste (i find alot are single women)

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