Starting a zero-waste journey is not as hard as you may think. We often forget that the phrase “zero-waste” is a goal to guide people into becoming more sustainable, so chances are, you’re already on this green path and don’t even know it!
Sustainability enthusiast, Paola Nosthas, shares six tips that were key to adopting the zero waster mentality:
1. Easiest tip; eat your food!
Households in the UK generate 6.6 million tonnes of waste per year of which 4.5 million tonnes are avoidable. On top of that, the food industry is one of the most resource intensive industries, using massive amounts of water and energy for production. So, when you throw away food because you “aren’t hungry anymore” or because it’s gone bad, you are basically paying for these resources to be wasted. To avoid this, you can organise your meals according to the expiration date of the items and also store fresh food in ideal conditions.
You can also switch your purchasing habits and buy food that is more sustainable and requires less resources to be produced. For example, you can switch meat for veggies, fruits and grains! If you are a meat eater, it can be challenging to completely eliminate this from your diet but you can start by reducing the amount of meat you eat or simply buying the most sustainable of meats!
2. A little more effort; Refuse plastic!
Plastic is an extremely water and energy intensive material to produce. To put things into perspective, It takes 22 gallons of water to make just one pound of plastic. The worst part is that it never disappears! This material only decomposes into micro-plastics which then contaminate our water and are absorbed by plants, animals, and us!
A great way to refuse packaging is going to zero waste stores where you can bring your own containers and fill them up. Furthermore, you can use reusable bags, jars, and buy products with compostable packaging.
3. If you can’t avoid plastic, build an eco-brick!
Building an eco-brick is a really good way to make sure your plastic waste is put to good use. An eco-brick is a bottle tightly packed with used, but clean, plastic filling. These bricks can then be dropped off at your closest eco-brick location where they are collected and used to build furniture and even homes. Check out our blog post that shows you how to build your own eco-brick! Link:
4. It’s time to reuse and up-cycle!
Get into the habit of giving items a second life. Allow yourself to be creative and find new ways you can use the things you have at home to make DIY projects! For example, you can reuse wine bottles and mason jars as beautiful flower vases to decorate you space. Reusing and up-cycling are great ways to slow down consumption and even save some money!
5. What are your products made of? Choose better materials!
There are plenty of eco-friendly alternatives out there! You can buy organic cotton shirts, bamboo toothbrushes, and even bar shampoo. Sometimes buying sustainably can be more expensive than conventional plastic choices but cheap materials like polyester put our mother earth at stake. The money you save from purchasing a £3 shirt, is then billed to our planet. If your products can decompose on their own, it means that they can be put back into the cycle of nature and that is our ultimate goal.
As consumers, we expect products to last forever, but what good is it if they still end up on landfills? We have to adopt the mindset that sustainable items will wear out because they are made from natural resources but that’s okay! Because they will return to their original state without damaging our planet.
6. Build your own sustainable garbage can!
Instead of throwing away your fruit and veggie scraps, you can start composting at home. This way, you are creating a great fertiliser you can use to help grow the green babies in your garden.
Zero waste is a mindset and like anything, it takes time. It requires reprogramming and thinking about how your daily choices impact the environment. The best tip Paola gives us when starting a zero-waste journey is to start slow and go easy on yourself. It doesn’t matter if your goal is small as long as you stay consistent! Our planet has given us so much and it’s our turn to do our part.
Make sure to follow Paola (@paolanosthas) on Instagram for more easy tips and tricks to a zero waste journey!