13 Easy Zero Waste Swaps to Produce Less Waste
More and more people are trying to go zero waste, which is amazing.
Today, I want to share the zero waste swaps I practice that take me zero effort and are just as easy as doing the wasteful alternative.
I am not going to be talking about water bottles and other zero waste beginner tips that you have already heard a thousand times. Instead, I will try to suggest new creative tips for going zero waste that you can implement in your life if you want.
Before we start with the zero waste tips, let me give you a little backstory. I started my zero waste journey about six months ago, and I am not living a completely zero waste lifestyle. I would love to, but I am just not there yet.
I have read some books about the zero waste lifestyle and heard a sentence that really inspired me: “we do not need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly, we need millions of people doing it imperfectly”.
So I decided to give it a try. I started looking at what was actually in my garbage bins and started looking for solutions. I have managed to reduce about half of my plastic waste and I am quite proud of that.
So, today, I will be sharing some of the easy ways that I have reduced my waste.
1. Do not replace stuff
When we first moved into this house, we thought we wanted to replace this old wooden floor. However, the longer we live here the more we come to realize how practical this floor is.
We really came to appreciate it because we do not have to be careful with it. The house also came with some curtains that I do not love, but they are functional and replacing them would be wasteful.
2. Solidity is your friend
Solid soaps are the best. There are many types to choose from so it is likely that you will find one that works for you. Moreover, I have been using shampoo bars on and off for years now. To be honest, I have not found one that I did not like.
Picking a wooden brush instead of a plastic version is a small but easy thing to do. In addition, when the weather is warm, I let my hair dry naturally, which saves some electricity. It is all in the little things.
If you have a cat, you might want to consider switching to wood litter. It is fully biodegradable. I also do not buy the air filter for the litter box - a microfiber cloth works just as well.
5. Recycled paper
This holds for toilet paper, for one. Try to go for a recycled plastic free version. I do not use tissues for cleaning but I do use them for sneezing, and the recycled ones definitely do the job.
Planned obsolescence is a thing, and that is why I am moving away from electrical appliances. I try to go for analog versions that can last a lifetime. Next on my list is my kitchen scale, but only by the time my current one stops working.
7. Turn everything off
Turn off the lights when you leave a room. Also, do not let the water run while you are brushing your teeth or soaping up the dishes.
8. Meal plan
Let's talk about food, which is my favorite part. I always plan out my meals for the upcoming week. This way I make sure I buy exactly what I need - nothing more, nothing less. It prevents food waste and also saves me money.
9. Avoid wasting food
My next tip is to eat your vegetables in their entirety. Most people only eat the top part of the broccoli but did you know you can eat the entire stem as well?
You just cut the stem in small cubes and cook it with the rest of the broccoli. Only the very bottom part is not edible, so throw it out.
10. Cardboard packaging
In my area bulk stores are not that accessible, so I always go to a regular grocery store. Try to buy your dried foods like pasta, rice or grains in cardboard packaging.
They usually carry several options in plastic and one or two options in cardboard. Funnily enough, the cardboard options are also often the least expensive.
11. Get creative with dishes
A great tip is to cook your vegetables and pasta in the same pan. This may sound silly but it does work. It will save you gas or electricity depending on your situation, and also save you dishes.
12. Washing dishes
For the dishes, I recommend switching to a wooden brush and a washable sponge. When my sponge gets gross, I usually boil it for several minutes and it is good to go.
Try to go for coffee without filters or cups, so the coffee grind is compostable. You can use a French press, an espresso machine or buy a reusable filter.
I also made the switch to loose leaf tea. Some teabags apparently contain plastic.
Zero waste swaps
I hope that you have found these easy zero waste swaps practical and inspiring and will try to implement them at your own house.
What steps have you taken so far to produce less waste? What are your tips for other people who are aspiring to go zero waste? Please share your ideas in the comments below.