For my job I spend a lot of time reading and sharing articles and blogs by zero waste experts (such as Trash is for Tossers and Eco Boost). I love the idea of going fully zero waste, but it’s never been something I thought I could achieve… though maybe one day!
During Zero Waste Week last year, I challenged myself to reduce my waste – and I wanted to share my tips on easy ways you can reduce your waste.
1. DITCH THE COFFEE CUPS
In the UK, we bin a whopping 2.5 billion coffee cups each year – and most of these end up in landfill. I am a self confessed Starbucks addict, and though I’ve owned multiple reusable coffee cups for a while, I’ve never been very good at remembering to carry them around with me / use them – until this week!
The great thing about using your own cup (aside from the environmental benefits) is that many coffee shops offer a 25p discount if you do! And you can get some really pretty coffee cups so you can drink your morning coffee with style.
2. SAY NO TO STRAWS
Statistics suggest that Americans alone use 500m plastic straws every day. If we don’t act now there could be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050. One easy way to reduce the amount of plastic you use is to say no to straws! I’ve recently invested in some reusable stainless steel straws and I love them – they’re durable, shiny and mean I can still enjoy drinking my homemade iced coffees with a straw!
3. USE A REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
My housemates will tell you that I own multiple reusable bottles, in fact they might say I’m a bit of a reusable bottle hoarder… But owning a reusable water bottle, isn’t the same as using one, and I’ve never been very good at remembering to carry mine around!
The average UK household uses 480 plastic bottles a year, and only recycles 270 of them. That’s a lot of plastic bottles that end up in landfill – or in our oceans.
The great thing about reusable water bottles is that they constantly save you money. Many cafes and restaurants will fill your water bottle up for you for free!
4. REMEMBER YOUR SHOPPING BAGS
100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually – our bad shopping habits are literally killing animals!
Okay, so maybe we’ve got a bit better at not buying plastic bags since the 5p bag charges were enforced (but then maybe not – because what difference does 5p make on a £20 trip to Lidl?). I have recently learnt to love my reusable shopping bags, and keep one in my handbag for all of those emergency trips to buy wine at the shop.
5. PLAN YOUR MEALS
In 2015, UK households threw away 7.3 million tonnes of food waste. This works out at around £700 per household each year. Imagine the holiday you could go on for £700!
Each weekend I sit down and plan my meals for the week (hours of fun flicking through my Lean in 15 books). I then go to the shop armed with my list and buy exactly what I need – counting spring onions and potatoes like a crazy lady! This is a great way to avoid overbuying and unnecessary food waste.
I may not be a fully fledged zero-waste lifestyle person yet, but with every day it becomes more apparent that zero/low waste living is the new normal… and this is a trend I’m certainly excited to follow!