With Thanks, to Alice of SLOELY.com.
So you want to get started living zero waste and plastic free, right? That’s brilliant.
And the good news is there ARE loads of tiny ways to live a zero waste, plastic free lifestyle.
… the BAD news is: there are loads of tiny ways to embrace a zero waste, plastic free lifestyle!!!
It’s too much all at once, our heads spin and we change nothing or try lots and stick to none.
The BIG secret is simple: KEEP IT SIMPLE!.
As beginners, if we focus on a few easy zero waste, plastic free ideas in our homes, we’ll see the huge personal benefits of an eco friendly lifestyle – saving money, less clutter – and that will inspire us to try more simple tips.
And I’ve got six super simple zero waste, plastic free lifestyle ideas for you that make a big difference, but are easy for beginners.
WHAT NOT TO DO
When we’re all super excited about saving the planet it is very tempting to …
- Chuck out all our plastics all at once
- Instantly replace them with a load of “zero waste, natural” alternatives on Amazon.
- Rush out and buy huge volumes of “naked”, i.e. packaging free but horribly expensive, food in some trendy zero waste store.
These are NOT good things to do, as to truly go green and be eco friendly, we must:
- Keep using plastic to keep it out of landfill
- Buy less stuff, since production pollutes
- Cut shopping miles to reduce pollution from shipping stuff around the world
- Stop stockpiling food we will NEVER eat
So as you’re getting started DO keep these four basic rules in mind – they will truly help.
But now we’re ready for those six simple changes for a zero waste, plastic free lifestyle.
6 SIMPLE ZERO WASTE RULES
Save glass jars & bottles for food storage.
Glass jars ARE a zero waste, plastic free lifestyle must have. They don’t leach chemicals into food like plastic. They keep leftovers fresher in the fridge and can even be used in the freezer, AND are essential for storing loose dried food we will – little by little – buy more of our journey to zero waste.
But do NOT splurge on fancy mason jars, just save empties from pickles and the like. And next time you’re shopping choose oil, mayo, ketchup etc in glass rather than plastic.
When they’re empty, add to your jar stash. We slashed our plastic waste, simply by buying stuff in jars AND saved cash as we no longer buy single use cling film, freezer bags etc.
It’s a super easy lifestyle change that helps both our planet AND our purse.
And my next zero waste, plastic free lifestyle change for beginners is just as simple
Buy a bar of soap. Locally made when possible
Next time that plastic bottle of hand wash is running out, replace it with a good old fashioned bar of hand soap. Opt for a natural brand if you can, to cut chemicals.
And to slash shopping miles, look for a local soap maker. It’s crazy to schlep stuff as simple as soap miles around the world polluting as we go.
Now, one bar of soap might be a tiny change. But it’s the start of something new.
You can ditch another plastic bottle by using a soap bar in the shower. And another by choosing a shampoo bar. And another and another and another with a hair conditioner bar or a body lotion bar or a shaving soap bar.(Target has just announced that they're selling all of these in all stores!)
That’s a lot less plastic bottles, a lot less waste AND a lot less clutter. And it all starts with one little bar of soap. Easy.
Clean with cloths, not chemicals and paper towels.
We’ve all bought into the idea, we need chemicals – strong ones – for cleaning. So we end up with shelf loads of plastic bottles full of toxic nasties covered in safety warnings. Even though we can clean most stuff with hot water and a cloth and a bit of soap if we must.
You can buy special cleaning cloths – I use them loads – but I also use rags. Tatty old t-shirts, vests and pajamas past repair are fab!! We have massively cut our plastic cleaning waste. We’ve gone from 20 odd bottles of cleaning stuff cluttering up the cupboard under the sink to two – from brilliant Bio D – made from recycled plastic and recyclable.
And yes we still have two, but it’s a 90% cut in our plastic cleaning waste. That’s enormous.
And cloths don’t just cut cleaning waste. Any good old fashioned cloth napkins tucked away in a drawer can also slash waste and plastics.
We use them to wrap snacks and carry them when we’re out to cut out cling film, foil, snack bags, paper napkins, wipes and more.
So again, we cut waste AND save money AND clear clutter with a simple lifestyle change.
A SHARP BLADE
Invest in a last forever razor.
In our crazy world, we waste so much money chucking single use plastics away.
So, once you’ve got started with jars and bars and cloths – all of which can be done for free – I recommend you make one small investment BECAUSE it will save you money.
And that’s buy a proper safety razor.
You can get a last-forever decent one costing the price of 6 months of chuckable ones.
Every time I use mine, I enjoy that little feel good moment of having made a difference. And that motivates me to change more.
We hear lots about zero waste, bulk buy stores. BUT bulk buy stores are NOT for beginners!! It’s too easy to end up with jars of stuff we’ll never cook and guiltily call out for pizza. Not a motivating start to our zero waste journey huh? The easy answer is an old school "farmer's market" like in centuries past. The food is fresher, locally produced, and healther.
I know not everyone has one close, but lots of us do and they sell most fruit and veg loose. Most of them also include baked goods, natural honey, cheeses, herbs, and a myriad of other necessaries. And if you bring a bag along, you're doing even more!
I say most because finding plastic free berries and lettuce is hard BUT don’t beat yourself up about the trickier stuff to start with.
If you get into the farmer's market habit and buy loose apples and bananas and oranges and carrots and broccoli and the like, you can cut 80% of your plastic, fresh food waste easily.
Then you can move onto the rest.
All you need to remember is your bags. And that’s my final super easy zero waste, plastic free lifestyle tip for beginners.
The thing is we ALL have homes full of bags: plastic bags in all sizes, paper bags, cloth bags. And we need to keep all those bags out of landfill. Especially the plastic ones.
So before you even think about produce bags, hunt down all the bags you already have. Even (GASP!) the plastic ones from the supermarket that you would usually throw away but are easily re-usable. If you reuse them only ONE TIME, you've just cut your waste production in half!.
Stash a few in your trunk, purse or handbag or coat pocket and in your desk at work. And keep the rest somewhere handy. Then never go shopping without them.
It truly is as simple as that.
So what are you waiting for?