Three Easy Zero Waste Swaps You Can Make Today
If you're trying to reduce your waste, whether you want to go full on zero waste, or just make a few small but meaningful changes, don't worry! It's not as hard as you think. In fact, it's easier than ever to find plastic free alternatives to the single use, or even multi use plastics that we've been using for years.
1. Zero Waste Out and About - Water Bottles
Water bottles are really the low hanging fruit of the zero waste movement. If you buy bottled water and decide it's time to cut it out, your purse will thank you as much as the environment will because bottles water is almost expensive as it is unnecessary.
If you buy one bottle of water per day for £1 each then you've already spent £157 so far this year! Invest in a reusable bottle (I prefer stainless steel) which are available from around £7 to over £30, and then save those pounds for something you really need.
As we're lucky enough in this country to have water coming freely and safely from the tap, let's go back to basics. This one change will make a massive difference to the volume of plastics in our oceans.
2. Zero Waste in Your Kitchen - Plastic Wrap
If you're already packing your lunch for work, great! You'll be avoiding a lot of unnecessary waste that comes with buying one out, especially the "Meal Deal" types that many shops offer.
But if you're wrapping it in plastic wrap, or using cling film to cover leftovers at home - there is a better way.
Try wax wraps instead of cling film, they're available to buy online or in your nearest zero waste or healthfood shop, or you can easily and cheaply make your own.
Use plastic lunchboxes you already have to store food and carry your lunch, or, if your Tupperware cupboard is looking a little bare, invest in some glass, tin or bamboo boxes. These are widely available and many are a similar price to the plastic boxes (and may well last much longer). There are many especially pretty bamboo options available, and even supermarkets are stocking them now.
Leftovers or batch cooking can be stored in glass or tin in the freezer (just leave a little room for the food to expand in glass).
Reuse your jars. Zero waste isn't always (or even often!) about rushing out to buy new things. In fact that's often the very opposite of the movement's principles. If you finish a jar of something, instead of washing it out, chucking in the recycling bin and forgetting about it, try reusing it to store food in your fridge or freezer, or to store dry goods in your cupboard. You can also bring them to a zero waste or bulk foods store to fill.
Recycling is great but it should be a last resort.
3. Zero Waste in Your Bathroom - Safety Razors
There are so many zero or low waste swaps you can make in your bathroom. Swapping bottles of shower gel and handwash for bars of soap is an obvious one, but there's also facial wipes and baby wipes which can be swapped for washable cloth alternatives and plastic dental floss which can be swapped for biodegradeable silk or bamboo.
Here though, I'm going to talk about safety razors. Despite the name they can seem a little scary at first, but with a little practice you might find you never look back.
Safety razors typically cost around £25 which is more than most plastic razors, even the fancy ones with blocks of shaving cream attached, and extra blades.
Once you've made this initial investment though, you've got a razor for life. You simply replace the blade as it becomes dull, with a new one which can cost as little as 50 pence. The blades are stainless steel so can be recycled.
Safety razors are safe for faces, legs, and anywhere else you might want to shave and will save you money, and greatly reduce your plastic waste.