Zero Waste Living for Beginners

It’s no secret – society creates far too much waste each year. But Californian mother and environmental activist, Bea Johnson, is determined to help everyone to live a cleaner, cheaper and more environmentally friendly life.

06 August 2017

Based on 5 simple rules, the zero Waste lifestyle aims to cut down as much waste humanly possible. From recycling items and reusing them to reducing what you already have in your home – the Zero Waste life is a pretty easy one to follow.

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THE FIVE Rs

Bea believes that the easiest way to start the Zero Waste life is by keeping these 5 Rs in mind whenever you buy something or throw something away:

  • Refuse what you don’t need
  • Reduce what you do need
  • Reuse what you consume
  • Recycle what you cannot Refuse, Reduce or Reuse
  • Rot (i.e.compost) the rest

IN THE KITCHEN

Most unnecessary waste can be found in the kitchen. From glass bottles to food waste – it’s the place where families probably throw the most away.

  • Instead of paper towels, try opting for reusable, washable rags instead. Paper towel can take up to a month to decompose!
  • Get rid of the garbage bags. Instead, throw whatever fresh products you need to get rid of on the compost heap. Anything else can be recycled or reused.
  • Buy in bulk. Bring your own reusable bags and glass bottles and fill them up with your favourite food items.
  • Not only does bulk buying cost a little less, but you will be more conscious of what you buy and when you use them.
  • Use a simple pillow case for fresh bread instead of the paper or plastic bags provided at the store.
  • Farmer’s markets are great for finding fresh produce at reasonable prices. You can also give them any boxes you don’t use.
  • Invest in a water filtering system instead of buying bottles of water.
  • Make use of baking soda as a scrubber when cleaning pots and pans. You can also invest in a compostable cleaning brush (one with a wooden handle and natural bristles).
  • Turn your trashcan into an easily accessible compost keeper.
  • If you can’t say goodbye to your trashcan just yet, you can scale down on the size. The smaller the bin, the less you tend to throw away.
  • Invest in a pressure cooker. It halves the cooking time, saving you money and cutting down on electricity usage.
  • Leftovers can be reinvented. Look online for interesting ways to use different leftovers and keep the family well-fed for longer and more cost effectively.

IN THE BATHROOM

While the idea of giving up your favourite beauty products seems daunting, you can take small steps towards living a cleaner life.

  • Regular baking soda can be used as an antiperspirant.
  • Buy shampoo and conditioner in bulk and fill up empty bottles with the bulk products.
  • Baking soda can also be used as a light exfoliator for your skin.
  • There are a number of homemade cosmetic recipes available online. From a cocoa-based bronzer to a homemade balm – start exploring the possibilities.
  • Get rid of those ear buds. Not only are they bad for the environment, but also harmful to your ears.

KEEPING IT CLEAN

Whether we like it or not, doing the laundry and cleaning the house on a regular basis is something we can’t avoid. But that doesn’t mean it has to be harmful to the environment.

  • Castile soap (made of olive oil and baking soda) is useful in keeping not only your clothes clean, but also the rest of the home.
  • Use old toothbrushes and even hair brushes to clean pots and pans.
  • Use old clothing items as rags to wipe up any mess or wipe down counter tops.
  • Avoid using the tumble dryer when nature allows and rather opt to hang your clothing out to dry.

ENTERTAINING GUESTS

Living the Zero Waste life doesn’t mean you have to downgrade on the entertainment front. Who knows? You could just inspire your guests to adopt a cleaner lifestyle…

  • Use glassware, ceramic dishes and cloth napkins at all times.
  • Make use of items in and around the home to decorate your table. You’d be amazed what a few autumn leaves or green foliage can achieve
  • Stop buying CDs and DVDs. Rather opt for the download or streaming options.
  • When looking for a gift, you can place homemade goodies in a glass bottle. A gift from the heart and the home is always appreciated.
  • Bring your own container for leftovers to parties

For more tips and tricks, you can visit Bea’s Zero Waste Home website.

Source: Zero Waste Home