On average, everyone in the UK produces more than a tonne of waste every year— most of which could be recycled or composted. As a new parent, one of the biggest waste producers will be nappies and wipes. Choosing eco-nappies can help to reduce your waste footprint significantly. But there are lots of other changes you can make as well to acheive a zero-waste life.
Here Olivia Wilson from Zero-Waste.com gives her top tips for reducing your waste and carbon footprints:
If we all made small but meaningful efforts toward reducing waste, we could make a massive difference in the country’s sustainability efforts.
Are you interested in working toward a zero-waste lifestyle but need help figuring out where to start? Discover some simple steps you can take to reduce waste in your daily life below.
Use a Reusable Water Bottle
The Water UK organisation reports that 16 million of disposable water bottles end up in landfills. Disposable water bottle waste also kills over one million sea creatures each year when it washes into the ocean.
Instead of buying plastic water bottles, invest in a water filter and use it to fill a reusable water bottle. Not only will this approach help you save money, but it will also help you cut down on the amount of plastic you contribute to landfills.
Use Reusable Shopping Bags.
Make a habit of using reusable bags when you shop for groceries, clothing, and other items. Put them in your car and write “bags” at the top of your shopping list so you remember to grab them.
In addition to helping, you reduce waste, you’ll save money because most supermarkets now charge you for every bag they have to give you.
Swap Plastic Single-Use Items for Compostable versions
Nappies, wipes, cutlery, food packaging....there are now readily available compostable versions or plant based versions across the UK. These use less fossil fuel and fewer chemicals in their production and will degrade back into soil over time.
Choosing eco-nappies and compostable wipes can drastically help to reduce your waste if you are welcoming a new little member to the family. A single baby can use over 6000 nappies before they are potty trained!
The UK throws away around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste in a single year.
Much of the food you throw away, from fruit and vegetable peels to coffee grounds, can be composted instead of thrown in the bin.
Composting allows you to turn organic waste into a nutrient-dense soil that will feed your garden or flower beds.
If you do invest in a HotBin or wormery, you could even compost your nappies and wipes at home. Win-Win!
Buy Secondhand and Donate Old Items
When you need to buy something new, consider shopping at local secondhand or pre-loved stores first. You can find many great options at these stores and spend far less than you would at a regular shop.
Another way to get the satisfaction of knowing you’re keeping things like clothing, furniture, and dishes out of landfills is to donate your old items to charity stores or sell them online on eBay, Vinted or similar shops.
You can also join social media groups dedicated to exchanging various items. These groups allow you to find homes for belongings you no longer need and get all kinds of new-to-you items without spending any extra money. Check out your local mums’ or parents’ group on Facebook.
Support local small businesses or purchase food at farmers’ markets whenever you can.
Buying locally allows you to put money back into your community. It also reduces the carbon emissions produced by large vehicles that ship goods across the globe.
Keep in mind, too, that the food bought at farmers’ markets is often higher quality and grown without pesticides and other chemicals that can be harmful to you and the planet.
Switch to Paperless When Possible
Think about the amount of paper that gets sent to your house every day. From bills to junk mail, the stack can grow pretty quickly. While you can recycle these items, it would be even better if they were never produced and sent to you at all.
While on your journey to establish a zero-waste home, consider switching to paperless billing for all accounts that offer this option. You can also contact the companies that distribute ads and other types of junk mail and ask them to take you off their list.
One of the simplest ways to minimize your energy usage is by turning off appliances when you leave a room. We all have a habit of leaving things on standby which continues to drain energy even when we’re not home.
Flipping the switches helps you save energy and money.
Revamp Your Cleaning Strategy
Instead of relying on harsh chemical-based cleaners — most of which come in plastic bottles — start making your own at home. This option is a one-two punch that helps you cut down on plastic waste and avoid using cleaners that can pollute the air in your home and irritate your lungs.
You can make many effective and affordable cleaners using products you likely already have lying around, such as lemon juice, white vinegar, and baking soda. Swap your paper towels for reusable cloths and use other reusable cleaning tools, such as mops and dusters, to further minimise waste.
Carshare, Walk, or Cycle to Work and School
If you drive to work or school each day, consider sharing with colleagues or friends to save money on petrol and reduce carbon emissions produced by your vehicles.
Depending on how close you live to your job or school, you can also walk or ride a bike. Changing your commute gives you a chance to get some exercise, breathe fresh air, and soak up the sun before you head into the office (or your first class of the day).
Start Reducing Waste Today
From riding your bike more often to investing in reusable products, there are lots of simple but effective steps you can take to reduce waste and minimise your carbon footprint. Start with one (or more) of the tips listed above to begin your zero-waste journey.