The rise of the eco-friendly lifestyle over the past few years has made it much easier to make sustainable choices in our everyday lives. Whereas once, we might have felt like we were swimming against the tide, now there are more options to reduce waste and help to preserve the planets natural resources.
Here are some really simply zero waste swaps you can make to reduce your consumption of single-use items, with very little extra effort or expense! In fact, some of these swaps will probably save you money in the long term.
Look for upcycled products
Where as once, upcycling or repurposing an item meant doing it yourself, now there are plenty of online platforms and bricks and mortar stores which sell upcycled products. These are often high-quality vintage items which are not only unique and full of character, but will also outlast a mass-produced new product.
Make use of refill stores
Bulk buy items such as pasta, rice, and cereal and transfer them to jars. This reduces the overall amount of packaging waste, compared with buying packets in smaller quantities, and is usually the more economical option as well.
You could go one step further, and bulk buy at refill stores, if you have a local one. You bring along your own containers, such as empty jam jars or mason jars, and weigh them before you gather your shopping, Note the weight of each container (you may get a label print out) and then fill each container with the foods on your list.
You will find cupboard staples such as pasta, lentils, oats, nuts, cereals, and spices, and also dried fruit such as sultanas and dates. Some refill stores also sell cleaning products and toiletries, and some will stock locally produced meat and dairy.
Buy loose fruit and vegetables
Refill stores aren’t a practical choice for everyone. However, it is still possible to make a difference during your local supermarket shop. Instead of buying fruit and beg in pre-packaged plastic bags, buy loose produce. You can always take reusable produce bags with you if transporting a loose bag is too troublesome.
Use shampoo and conditioner bars
Everyone knows that soap is available in bars rather than plastic bottles, but did you know that shampoo and conditioner are also available in bars? The average person throws away about 200 bottles of hair product every year. Even if you do put them in the recycling box, only about 50% of plastics are currently recycled.
Shampoo and conditioner bars are 100% biodegradable, so they create no waste packaging or damage to the environment. They also last about three times as long as a bottle of product, so they will save you money too!
Buy a reusable coffee cup
If you have a daily coffee on your commute to work, it’s well worth buying a reusable coffee cup. About 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year, and the plastic lining means they can’t be recycled. Most of the major coffee chains also offer discounts if you use your own cup.
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