You’re interested in reducing waste around your home but not sure where to start? You want to say a big, fat NO to plastic and good for you! Transitioning to zero waste, or simply reducing the amount of waste you produce, takes time and doesn’t have to be overwhelming. We start slowly, and here’s how.
SMALL STEPS MAKE BIG IMPACTS
At Ulu Hye, we are moving towards zero waste, the operative word being ‘moving’. We have a way to go and that’s OK, we are going to enjoy the journey. We are most definitely not going in and throwing out all forms of plastic as this, too, is very wasteful. Once we have used an item we then look at how best we can transition said item to a more sustainable option. It’s all about those small step, they add up in a massive way.
GET TO KNOW YOUR PANTRY…AND YOUR GARBAGE
A great motto to implement is ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’. What do you use on a regular basis that ends up in the garbage/recycling bin? Have a quick squiz in your garbage bin and your recycling bin. When you become familiar with the items that are filling up your bin, you become more aware of what is used most and how you can swap it for something more sustainable. Choose an item and ask yourself; do I need this item? Can I make it myself? Can I swap it for a more environmentally sustainable alternative?
FIND A NEW PLACE TO SHOP
Supermarkets are convenient but they encourage the use of plastic, not to mention the use of toxic sprays on produce. Supermarkets also encourage you to spend more than you really need.
Your first stop is to find a local farmers market to buy your fresh fruit and vegetables, let’s not only shop what is seasonal but let’s support our neighbouring farmers. If the produce is grown locally then that’s less fuel used to transport the goods to the market. You also have less chance of sprays on your produce and almost zero chance of them being wrapped in some sort of packet or plastic wrapping. Always take your own reusable produce bags with you, and reusable shopping bags, and say no to plastic. If you’ve forgotten them than nearly every store will have a cardboard box you can use to take your goods home
Your second stop is a bulk whole-foods store. Here you can buy everything in the exact quantity you require. They only offer paper to put your goods in, but you can go an extra step and bring your own jar to reduce waste. They weigh your jar before you fill it up to make it even more convenient.
Places like The Source, Naked Wholefoods etc. stock a huge array of goods such as nuts, seeds, grains (such as pasta and rice), flours, powders, sweeteners, chocolates, legumes, mueslies, spices, dry teas, cooking oils, balsamic vinegars, coffee, all kinds of cleaning products, soap, shampoo and conditioner, just to name a handful.
HANDY TIP: ONCE YOU RUN OUT OF SOMETHING – REFILL IT, RATHER THAN RE-PURCHASE IT.
Take in that old peanut butter jar, or passata jar, and fill it up with whatever you like. I know a pantry with all matching jars is easy on the eye but that’s not what this is about. Make your focus on reusing what you’ve already got.
SWAP IT OUT
Alternative: Bamboo toothbrush. They last longer, and are made out of 100% biodegradable bamboo. Health food stores will be all over this.
Alternative: Are you willing to make this yourself? Click here for an easy recipe
Alternative: Make your own. Deodorants are full of toxic chemicals, including aluminium. When you make your own, you choose what goes in, and what scent too!
Alternative: Use soap. Almost all markets, health food stores and bulk wholefoods stores stock natural soap bars that are not only void of harsh chemicals, but void of plastic packaging.
Shampoo and conditioner
Alternative: Once you’ve run out, refill from your bulk wholefoods store or consider a shampoo and conditioner bar. If you really want to go next level, consider the “no-poo” method, and simply use bicarb soda to clean your hair. We’ve seen some luscious locks with this method.
Alternative: Face washer
Make up remover
Alternative: Coconut oil and a face washer
Alternative: Choose unbleached, recycled toilet paper that is not wrapped in plastic. Who Gives a Crap deliver to your door in bulk and using 100% recycled toilet paper, and 50% of profits are put towards building toilets and better sanitation around the world. Yeah!
Alternative: Did know 1 woman will use up to 300 tampons or pads a year? That’s about 10,000 over her lifetime and with approximately 6 million women menstruating in Australia alone you can just imagine the amount of landfill this is creating. There are some amazing companies doing their bit for the environment and whilst these might seem a little out there, do your research and if any option seems like it is doable, give it a whirl. Afterall, there’s no harm in trying. Consider; menstrual cups, non-toxic washable sanitary cloth pads, or even period proof undies. What a time to be alive!
Alternative: Just say no! Hang on to reusable bags and always keep a bunch in your car as well as a couple in your purse, handbag, glovebox etc.
Alternative: Use old newspaper. Who admires wrapping paper? No one. They admire the gift inside.
Alternative: Get yourself a reusable coffee cup or make your coffee at home. Keep Cup have a wide selection of colours to choose from and most places even take off a small fee if you supply your own. Double win!
Alternative: When out, ask for no straw, when at home, use a stainless-steel or bamboo straw.
Alternative: Use a bamboo dish brush. This lasts longer, and is biodegradable.
Alternative: Whilst a lot of Tupperware is BPA free, that is only one of many plastics that are used. Hang on to glass jars, they make the best containers. If you don’t have enough jars and don’t want to wait then go op-shopping and load up. That way, you are reusing rather than supporting more production.
House hold cleaning products
Alternative: White vinegar, bicarb soda, tea tree or lavender oil. There are many recipes online supporting DIY cleaning products. Otherwise, head on over to your bulk wholefoods store and purchase theirs but in your own glass jar.
Alternative: Whilst this is paper think about how much we go through. Microfiber cloths are a better option and they can just be washed and reused.
Dishwashing liquid & washing powder
Alternative: If you have time, make your own. If not, once you’ve run out, refill at your local bulk wholefoods store. Think about what is mixing in with our water, and where this is ending up, not to mention what is hitting your skin, day in and day out.
REDUCING WASTE = SAVING MONEY
Whilst reducing waste is at the forefront of your mind when shopping, the bonus is that you end up spending less on packaged items you don’t really need. When you cease replacing items you used to regularly buy, that’s more pennies in the pocket. Everyone wins.
Take your time with this journey and enjoy it. Every switch you make will make you even more empowered about the life you are choosing to live.
REDUCE then REUSE then RECYCLE.
If you’re any other tips or tricks, we’d love to hear them! Comment below to share your knowledge.