Like most things in life, when we’re looking to make a change, we need to get the ball rolling with some little steps. It’s great to have big ambitions, but it’s well documented that small changes are more manageable, more motivating and more sustainable. Be it eating healthier, becoming more organised, keeping in better contact with friends, or reducing your waste, whatever your goal, little steps help create positive habits and pave the way for future success. And they all add up to make a big impact!
I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I can make more eco friendly choices in my daily life, and am blown away by some of the zero waste accounts I see online. It’s definitely something to strive for, but growing your own veggies and making your own over store bought options isn’t accessible to everyone. At least not right away. When looking at trying to live a more eco friendly lifestyle, I think it’s important to remember that it’s a journey of continuous development. There are lots of little things that you can do right away though to start reducing your plastic consumption, and start reducing your waste. It’s about becoming conscious of what we’re using – where it came from, what it’s made of, and ultimately where it’s going to end up! Start today, and a year from now you’ll be amazed at how far you’ve come. And once you start the pursuit of a zero waste lifestyle, I’m certain you’ll find fun in the challenge of “What little change can I make next?”
I’ve compiled a list of my top 10 tips to get you started and keep you on track:
1. Recycle: This might seem like a no-brainer, but it really is the best place to start, and sometimes we need a gentle reminder. Take advantage of the great curb side recycling facilities your local council offer. Separate your waste, wash out that bottle, and start recycling as much as you can.
2. Say ‘No’ to a Straw: Yes they look cute, but do you really need five of them in your cocktail? Ask your server to make your drink without a straw. Bonus points if you start using your own re-suable one for your next smoothie!
3. Remember your “Bag for life”: get in to the habit of keeping a re-usable bag in your pocket/handbag/rucksack/car. A cotton shopper is best, but whatever you choose, remember it each time you go shopping!
4. Use a ‘Keep Cup’ for takeaway coffee: Love a cheeky takeaway coffee on the way to work? Get yourself a re-usable coffee cup. Lots of places offer a discount when you use one, so you save money and save waste!
5. Reusable Water Bottle: How often do you buy a bottle of water when you’re out and about? I bet it’s more often than you realise! Get yourself a reusable bottle, and take it wherever you go. There’s some great plastic free options out there too, which are toxic free and will keep your water cooler.
6. Buy local and seasonal fresh produce: Support your local community and reduce mileage by shopping for your produce from local suppliers, and choosing seasonal varieties of fruit and veg.
7. Choose items in plastic free packaging: We’re often bombarded by choice when we’re out shopping, and it can be hard to know which is best when we’re faced with a shelf full of seemingly identical items. Easy way to narrow it down – pick the one with the least packaging! Choose glass over plastic bottles and jars, and look for cardboard and compostable options
8. Re-use packaging: Making a plastic free choice is great, re-using an item is even better! Save that jar for your pantry, or keep that jiffy envelope for next time you need to send something in the post.
9. Bulk Buy and Refill: Know you’re going to use plenty of that yoghurt on your morning muesli? Buy the bigger pot and reduce single use tubs! Never ending laundry pile? Look out for places that offer refills on your detergent.
10. Make do and mend: Time for a sewing 101! Sew that button back on, or turn those torn jeans into shorts! A quick browse on Pinterest will soon give you hundreds of ideas and possibilities on how to repair or upcyle tired items.
What’s your top tip for cutting waste?