How To: Be Waste-less

posted on: Sunday, January 13, 2019

A simple guide on being waste-less. Because being waste free just isn’t practical for most of us.

How to reduce waste. How to be waste less. Eco vegan blogger.

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reduce, reuse, recycle 

We’ve all heard those three words at some point. First, reduce your consumption. Then reuse what you can. And finally, recycle the rest.

 

Social media has been flooded lately with zero waste content. YouTube, Instagram and magazine have been crazy by the zero waste moment. And I’m not complaining. I think it’s amazing that there is such a huge collective consciousness to save the earth. But if we’re being totally honest with ourselves, it’s not the most practical thing. Not to mention it can sometimes be time consuming. But I am a firm believer in doing what you can. If you really can’t reduce your waste then reuse of certain items or even recycling waste is such a great step in the right direction.

 

In a perfect world we’d be all completely zero waste. We probably wouldn’t even be here if that was the case. But this isn’t an article on how to do that. This is how to be waste-less. Not waste free. But some practical and easy steps in helping the environment. And your wallet.

 

If you are completely waste free, I commend you. But if it’s not something you can achieve right now, here are some ideas to help you reduce your carbon footprint.

Organised pantry by reusing jars.
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the rubbish epidemic 

Unless you’ve been living unless a pile of garbage, you’ve probably heard about the huge problem that is plastic. I suppose though, that if you’ve been living under mounds of it, you’d also know this. Plastic doesn’t break down. It simply breaks up. These micro plastics enters water ways and sea animals consume it. Animals also get entangled in it and it kills at least 100 million marine animals each year. This isn’t even counting other animals. And if you eat seafood, it can pass on to you too.

 

Every single piece of plastic that was ever made still exists. This is why it’s so important to reduce the amount of plastic you use as much as you can. Thankfully, this is really easy. Even if you can completely eradicate it from you life, you can still make a huge impact simply by reducing how much you use in the first place.

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plastic shopping bags

About a year ago, I replaced single use shopping bags with reusable ones. I now use natural fibre totes which are all very durable and when they finally do run their course, are also all biodegradable. It’s one of those things that make you wonder why you didn’t do it sooner. There are so many pros that that I find it ridiculous people still using single use plastic bags when grocery shopping. Australia recently passed legislation on banning single use plastic bags but you can still them if you want and it blows my mind that people want to spend money on what is literally rubbish when they could just switch over.

 

Here are some of the pros I’ve found since switching:

 

– Cute bags. There are endless designs when it comes to reusable bags. I have already amassed myself quite a collection. Unique designs means there is very little chance you will mistake someone else bags for you own. Ecoright has a whole bunch of cool designs. Many with zips so you can close them up too.

– No more groceries on the floor. I can’t tell you how many times my groceries spilled onto the floor due to thin plastic bags. Double bagging wouldn’t even save them. Not to mention it’s more added unnecessary plastic. Cotton, jute, hemp, etc… bags ensure this doesn’t happen.

– More room in your drawers, storage cupboard, pantry, ect… My utilities cupboard is no longer overflowing with plastic bags. I still have a few I haven’t gotten around to reusing (from over a year ago) but it’s so nice to have some extra space for things I actually need and use.

– Less trips to the bin. There’s no getting around it. If you feed a family and are using plastic shopping bags then if you’re not reusing plastic bags, your bin is likely full from one grocery shop after you’ve put everything away. Think of the huge impact you can make by simply switching over.

Reuseable cotton and jute tote bags from Ecoright.
Mondrian style cotton tote.
Life's a beach cotton tote.
Fashion eco cotton and jute tote.
Space universe eco friendly cotton tote by Ecoright.
Floral eco friendly tote.

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Plastic is so last season tote

Natural flowers cotton  tote

Houston, we have a problem tote

Life’s a beach tote

Colour block tote

In this photo:

 

Ecoright Hasta La Vista, Plastic! tote

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Ever Eco reusable produce bags. Reduce waste tips.

In this photo:

 

Ever Eco reusable produce bags

Another type of plastic bag people often overlook is produce bags. I always felt guilty after every time I put the groceries away and I had a large handful of scrunched up produce bags I had to throw in the bin. I found these in a local health store but you can find them online for super cheap now. Just make sure they are durable or you could potentially be picking up a bunch of apples off of the supermarket floor. Even if you did buy some that aren’y such great quality, you could always double stitch them if you’re handy with a sewing machine or needle and thread. The ones I have come in a hand little carry bag with a clip which I usually hang off of my handbag so they’re easy to get to.

TIP! Keep your reusable shopping and produce bags in the car or near your keys so you never forget to take them with you! I also always keep one cotton tote folded in my handbag for those days I think I won’t be buying anything but end up needing a bag!

Organised pantry with IKEA containers.
Reusable straws and reusable cutlery.
Reusable cups. Eco friendly water bottles. Eco blogger. Vegan blogger. Reusable smoothie cup with straw and lid. Kmart Aloha smoothie cup.

to go

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This one is such a no brainer that I feel pretty stupid for not implementing these practices sooner and it feeds two birds with one scone.

 

It helps the environment and your wallet.

 

What is it? Bring your own water bottle/coffee mug/lunches!

 

I use to spend so much money on water bottles every year. I drink a lot of water and I would buy at least one water bottle every time I went somewhere. Multiply that by at least 3 days a week and about $3.50AUD a bottle and I think I’ve saved at least a thousand dollars. Not to mention all of that waste I contributed to. It blows my mind what an impact one person can have on a bigger scale.

 

These days I take my reusable water bottles everywhere and my wallet is much happier for it.

 

Just like reusable bags, there are so many different designs an options for bottles. Right now I rotate between a metal one and a smaller glass one by Think Cup from Opus Design Studio, depending on how long I’m going to be out for.

 

Another easy thing to do to reduce waste when on the go is buy bringing your own food. There are so different lunch boxes available to suit different occasions or you can get small containers. But you don’t even need to go out and buy anything new. If you’ve got take out containers in your cupboards, use those. I use them both for packing lunches and for freezing food. They don’t need to go to waste!

 

And if you’re taking lunch on the go, don’t forget the reusable cutlery. I just use a fork and knife I got in a delivery meal plan from a couple of years ago and some straws I bought on eBay for about $1AUD each. Reducing waste definitely does not need to be expensive or costly.

Reusable sandwich box and cutlery.
Marble water bottle. Vegan blogger.
Tropical print reusable water bottle.
Dark floral print water bottle.
Reusable coffee travel mug.

Sip top metal drink bottle

1 L metal drink bottle

Refresher drink bottle

Reusable coffee cup.

Give a sip coffee cup

Take me away cup

Eco friendly lunch bag.
Plastic fish eco lunch bag.
Reusable travel cutlery set.
Snaccident lunch box container.
How to reduce waste. Ecoright bags.
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Reuse, reduce, recycle. Reusing plastic containers.
Zero waste tips for the kitchen.

Another thing I do to reduce waste at home is to reuse glass jars. When I buy things like peanut butter, I always try to buy ones that come in glass and not plastic. I don’t really like the idea of my spices and other pantry ingredients sitting in plastic for extended amounts of time so use glass for those things. I have a bunch of jars from a local farmer’s market which I kept to store my smoothie ingredients in and they look really neat in the pantry. I actually think they have increased the use of those ingredients by 500% because it is now so easy to find things and to be honest, I really just like opening the pantry now to look at how organised it is.

 

I also buy in bulk whenever I can. If you’re lucky enough to have a bulk foods store near you, I highly recommend you check them out. You’ll likely find they are much cheaper than buying pre-packaged foods and you usually are able to bring in your own jars and containers. I know it sounds like a lot of effort, but it really isn’t. I used to think buying in bulk meant hauling a bunch of huge jars and containers around but I’ve never have to take more than a couple of jars in at once. I just take in what needs to be refilled.

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the bulk of it

Organised pantry with IKEA containers.
Reusing jars, reducing waste. How to reduce waste. Zero waste tips.
Reusing jars to organise the pantry.
Sante by enjo reusable makeup remover wipes.

conscious beauty

My last tip is for those of us who use makeup. We all know makeup wipes aren’t all that great for the environment. Neither are cotton pads and. I was going through an insane amount of them just to use toner alone.

 

For the past few years though, I’ve been using these Enjo makeup wipes. They’re reusable and gentle on the skin and the best part? You only need water to remove your makeup so they are as gentle on your skin as you need them to be. Occasionally I’ll use a bit of coconut oil on them to remove stubborn eye makeup such as mascara, but water usually does the trick.

 

There are a few different ones on the market and I’ve heard great things about all of them. I’ve used cotton pads with makeup remover a few times when I had forgotten to throw these in the wash, and my face just didn’t feel as clean these leave it.

 

I haven’t found any cotton pads in store for applying toner though and these are quite thick so they just suck up all of the product, so I’ve been using little squares of one of my partner’s shirts I cut up. It’s ok. He knows about it. It’s working fine but if you know of any brands that do some great reusable cotton pads, please let me know!

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Let me know if you’re doing anything to reduce your waste. Is there anything on the list you can add? Let’s see it in the comments so we can all take steps in preserving our earth. Because it’s the only one we’ve got.