Disclaimer – I am well aware that being able to worry about waste at a time like this is an absolute privilege and it is not lost on me that there are far more pressing matters happening in the world right now. Saying that, I am also mindful that a lot of you are either furloughed from work or working from home at the moment, so I wanted to make this months article more relevant to that. The purpose of this blog is to give a lighthearted insight into how I began my zero waste at home journey.
I find it much easier to achieve low waste at home because I am in control of everything that enters my home; where it comes from and where it will end up. Many of the products I use aren’t new inventions, they are things which have been around for many years but have unfortunately become largely forgotten and replaced with plastic versions.
Some of these do work out a little more expensive than if I were to buy a cheap, plastic version but I find that overall, it tends to balances out with the other ways I save money (such as only buying second-hand clothes).
How to go Zero Waste at Home
The first swaps I made were the ‘obvious’ swaps which are the first things you’ll come across if you research ‘how to become zero waste’. These include reusable shopping bags, a reusable water bottle and a reusable coffee cup.
The other big ‘basic’ I introduced into my home was recycling. I checked with my local council to see what could go in my curb-side bin and I recycle glass and bread bags separately. This ensures that only truly non-recyclable items are sent to landfill.
As an avid gardener and hater of food waste, it was very important to me to be able to have composting facilities at home. Two of my favourite items I introduced into my home when I began my journey were a small food waste caddy in the kitchen and a large compost bin in the garden. Nothing fancy, just a standard 500-litre compost bin from B&Q. Even if you don’t have a garden for a compost bin, most councils (if not all) will collect food waste from households free of charge and send it to local composting facilities. In my opinion, food waste should never be sent to landfill!
This is one of the items which works out a little more expensive than the plastic alternative, but I personally feel is definitely worth the swap. To keep costs down, I order mine in bulk online and they work out around 80p per brush, which is a lot better than if you buy them from the high street (usually around £3 each!). At the end of their life, I remove the (plastic) bristles and either reuse them or compost them.
Plastic Free TP
One of my earlier swaps was changing to plastic-free toilet paper. I originally began buying bulk toilet paper online which came wrapped in paper packaging (Whogivesacrap). However, I have recently discovered another sustainable company who offer unpackaged bulk toilet paper (Bumboo). The only packaging it comes with is a large cardboard box which can easily be reused, composted or recycled. Again, this is a swap which may work out more expensive compared to buying own-brand supermarket toilet roll in plastic packaging, but for me, it is one of my favourite swaps!
Switching from plastic bottles of hand-wash to bars of soap (unpackaged or in recyclable packaging) was an easy swap and I personally don’t find it any more expensive. Soap bars have also replaced my plastic bottles of shower gel too.
I used to buy disposable, plastic razors but now I use a metal safety razor with disposable blades which I can recycle. I have had the same razor now for years and it is still in excellent condition. This swap has definitely saved me a lot of money and stopped hundreds of plastic razors (and packaging) from ending up in landfill.
Zero Waste Pets
I used to feed my cat on food which was packaged in unrecyclable plastic. The amount of waste they produced really bothered me so I began searching for more sustainable alternatives. I have since changed her to Lily’s Kitchen dry diet. Not only is it a great food (made in Britain) and suits her well, but Lily’s Kitchen is an ethical pet food company.
The food comes in compostable packaging which goes straight in my compost bin to break down. The cat litter I now use is Ecograin cat litter which is 100% natural and biodegradable and comes in paper packaging. I also have a Beco bamboo litter tray which I have had for years and it is still in great condition.
Interested in being more sustainable in your practice? Get our CPD webinar “One practice’s journey towards environmental sustainability” for just £30+VAT here