Waste is a problem that we can no longer ignore. On average, a person living in the UK produces up to 500kg of household waste a year. That’s all going into landfills, poisoning surrounding environments and underground waterways. By making simple changes at home, you can significantly reduce your waste.
Swapping out simple household goods for eco-friendly reusable products, upcycling and simply buying less can save you money and reduce your waste significantly.
Our kitchens are often a source of products that get used and thrown out frequently. Swap out single-use products for reusable and DIY products.
- Paper Towels – Paper towels are convenient sure, but unnecessary. They are uncompostable and collectively produce tons of waste. By simply switching to cotton towels, you can make a big impact on your household waste. There are so many types of eco-friendly kitchen towel alternatives out there from bamboo, organic cotton and hemp.
- Cleaning products – Instead of using multiple cleaners for different things, switch to multitask products that can do it all. Liquid castile soap is eco-friendly and does the job as well as any other. You can add essential oils for scents or anti-bacterial action. You can also use vinegar as a cleaning agent. I love using it to shine granite tops, remove stains from pots and shine windows.
- Storage containers – Plastic is easy and cheap. However, it is an ecological nightmare as well as a health concern. Food stored in plastic sucks up chemicals in the plastic. Nobody wants that. You can slowly phase out plastic containers for glass or stainless steel.
- Tin Foil – Using tin foil is controversial for your health and questionable in regards to the environment. Some say that it has no effect on your health and is easily recyclable and others warn against aluminium accumulation in the body over time. If you want to use something that’s cost-effective and on the safe side you can opt for silicon-based mats to use for cooking.
- Plastic Wrap – There is no question about whether is safe or not or its impact on the environment. Just ditch it. There are amazing alternatives to plastic wrap and the great news is you can find them in stores or order them online.
- Sandwich Bags and food containers – For those that take lunch to work or send the kids to school with a sarmie, there are great eco-friendly and healthier options to plastic bags and containers. Of my favs is Eco lunch box to suit anyone’s lunch needs (and are great for takeaways at restaurants) and reusable sandwich wraps.
Beauty products often come in plastic and create a lot of waste. You can opt for products that come in glass or even better, no packaging or homemade.
DIY beauty products are coming back. They are cheap, easy to make and arguably better for your health than commercial products. If you are not able to go DIY, why not research your favourite products that come in biodegradable packaging or glass and are natural and organic.
Bar soaps – Bar soaps have been given a bad rap over the years to give room for better-looking packaging. However, in terms of function, they are pretty much the same. There are amazing bar soap brands out there that are organic, natural and suited for a specific function. You can now not only enjoy quality body soaps but shampoo bars and face bars. You can cut your soap bars into smaller squares to last longer and avoid the build up.
DIY Resources – Making your own products can be fun and rewarding. DIY allows you to have full control of substances that you use and what special features they have. You can DIY soaps, shampoos, moisturizers, body lotions and more. Use glass jars as containers. Eco-friendly and reusable! I love Don’t Mess with Mama extensive list of DIY beauty and cosmetics recipe list.
After you have recycled the waste that you do have, you will notice that whats left over is food waste. What better way to even further reduce your waste at home than to compost.
Before I started my own compost box I was under the impression it was going to be messy and smelly. Not what you want in your garden. But I couldn’t have been more wrong. When done properly, composting at home has no smell and no mess. And with current composting products on the market, you really have no excuse. There are garden composters and even smaller kitchen composters for those who live in apartments.
Check out this post on Family Living today that details 45 of the best composters on the market. Alternatively, you can just make your own composter in the garden.
Clothing doesn’t seem to be a source of the waste but in reality, it is a large contributor to landfill mass. Fast fashion is a trend of buying cheap clothes frequently and throwing out “old” clothes. It’s not only a burden on landfills but on your pocket too.
Sustainable fashion is making headway. The idea is to buy from brands that are creating eco-friendly products, use fair trade principles and do no harm to animals.
By this principle, you buy better quality clothing but much less of it. You appreciate every item and treat it well. (Not like the mass of unidentifiable and forgotten clothing in most peoples wardrobes.)
Upcycle goods at home
One great and fun way to reduce waste in your home is to upcycle old items. Recycling is great of course but why not use otherwise useless items to serve you again in a different way?
I use leftover bottles within pricked holes to water my pot plants. Or use old shirts as rags. The opportunities are endless. Instead of buying new stuff you can use old items to fill that spot. It means you spend less money and create less waste.
Less waste is the future
As the population increases so does the amount of waste we create. Our landfills have been hidden away, a sort of out of sight out of mind tactic. But its there. It’s real and it’s growing. Soon, landfills will be growing and meeting us at every turn.
But we have the power to change it. It’s such a real possibility of change, within our reach. By creating a household with less waste now you are actively doing something for the planet, your kids future and your pocket.