A completely zero-waste lifestyle is not possible for most of us - but you can drastically cut back on what you send to landfill. This means reusing, recycling, replacing and composting as much as possible. The key is to ditch all products that are disposable and unnecessary and to find eco-alternatives. To help you get started, here is our list of easy-wins. Once you get into the habit you won’t even notice.
Paper Towels & Napkins
Convenient and biodegradable - yes. But they are also completely unnecessary and wasteful. Replace with cloth napkins. They are far more sophisticated. Choose different colours so each member of the household can identify their own.
Ingrained in our culture of convenience, cling film is very much a single use item, is entirely disposable and generally not recyclable. Why is it considered a household essential? Invest in a set of reusable wax food wraps made from beeswax, hemp, jojoba oil and tree resin. Cover leftovers by storing in Tupperware.
Did you know you can wash and reuse foil? Who actually does that? Replace your foil with Pyrex for cooking. Or if being used for storage, replace with a reusable sealable tin. You can even get 100% recycled and degradable paper to be used instead of foils at the hair salon.
Sandwich and Freezer Bags
Plastic supermarket bags have been largely eradicated but their smaller cousin can still be found in many kitchens. They are also usually only used once then discarded. Use plastic or glass containers instead. Or your wax wrap.
They may be eco-friendly because they’re natural, but they are usually used only once, and a reusable alternative exists in the form of metal BBQ skewers. No brainer.
A senseless waste of resources, the coffee pod is completely unnecessary. They require specialist recycling - consumers can drop them off to be recycled. So many will end up in land fill. The cafetière is a perfect way to make coffee and produces no waste. If you already own a machine, make sure you use reusable pods.
Loofahs are made from plants. But your kitchen sponge most definitely is not. It’s non-biodegradable and made from artificial fibres. Replace with a natural dish brush and washable cotton cloths or scrubbies.
Cotton Pads & Face Wipes
These single use items are grown using pesticides and are very water intensive. They can both be replaced with a cotton face cloth. A hot cloth facial regime is great for your skin too.
Body Wash and Shampoo Bottles
They come in plastic bottles. Next time you finish a bottle, get it refilled at a zero-waste shop with an eco-brand. Opt for bars of natural soap rather than bottles of body wash – they’re better for your skin anyway. There are loads of new shampoo bars on the market you can experiment with. They also take up far less room in your shower or wash bag.
Have you seen the new bamboo compostable toothbrush? Look no further.
Bright and cheerful and completely unnecessary. Be creative with newspaper, save your old wrapping paper, shoe boxes or paper bags. If you must buy wrapping paper, make sure it’s recycled.