It may seem counterintuitive to be recommending items to help move towards zero waste living but it does make sense, I promise! Today I wanted to talk about the top 7 items I’ve added to my life over the last few years that have meant I now create less waste on a day-to-day basis. All of them are quite simple (and generally cheap) but having them in your home (and using them of course!) will make a big difference to the planet.
There are lots of options within each of these items, but I’m going to link to the ones that I use personally (most of which I bought from Biome^ which is why I recommend the shop so much!), if there’s an option out there that suits you better then go for it!
1. Reusable Coffee Cup
I spoke recently about the problem with takeaway coffee cups so it’s probably no surprise that reusable coffee cups are top of the list! Not only do I think they are much nicer to drink out of – particularly the new glass versions doing the rounds – but they keep SO much waste out of landfill. It can take some habit changes to remember to take it with you, but each time you can use one instead of a takeaway cup you’re making an excellent difference. There’s even some out there that have built in chips to make paying for your coffee easier, so things are getting fancy!
2. Food Covers
A great way to head towards zero waste is to stop needing to use plastic wrap on leftovers in your fridge and replace it with reusable food covers. There are a whole range of options including pouches, beeswax or hemp wraps, silicone covers and elasticated ones too, so there’s pretty much something to suit any of your needs! I try and store most of my leftovers in containers, but I do love the hemp wraps for times when that doesn’t work. Once you switch from using plastic wrap it becomes glaringly obvious how much of it we actually do use, so it’s definitely a good thing to try and cut out (or at least reduce) our use of.
3. Lunchbox & Sandwich Bags
Along the same lines as not using plastic wrap for leftovers, cutting out our reliance on plastic wrap or small plastic bags for transporting food for work lunches or snacks makes such a huge, positive difference. This is one item where you can really play around to see what best suits your needs, but for me I tend to use either a sandwich bag or my stainless steel tiffin container. I try and use as little plastic as possible, but I do have a selection of BPA free plastic containers in varying sizes as well, as I think using them is still better than creating additional waste each day.
4. Water Bottle
The number of water bottles we go through each year in Australia is frightening, and not only are they creating a whole lot of waste but they use a lot of resources to make, so cutting down on how many single-use bottles we each use is an excellent way to more towards zero waste living. This is where a nice reusable water bottle comes into it! I love the glass ones personally as I find them really nice to drink out of, but there are great stainless steel options too, as well as BPA free plastic bottles. Choose the type that suits you best and carry it around wherever you are! This will help you drink more water without adding to the waste problem – win win!
5. Glass Straw
In Spring and Summer I drink a lot of smoothies and I used to love drinking them with a pretty paper straw, and even though most of them are compostable I still wasn’t comfortable with how much waste I was creating. Plastic straws are even worse as they often blow out of bins and end up in our waterways, so avoiding them whenever possible is an excellent step forward. I eventually bought myself a glass straw and I haven’t looked back! They might not be as pretty but they are actually really nice to drink out of and I can use it over and over again without creating waste. An excellent step forward!
6. Reusable Bags & Produce Bags
I chatted about the problem with plastic bags recently, so adding a reusable bag or two to your towards zero waste kit is a must! Not only are reusable carry bags excellent for doing the shopping – and not just supermarket shopping but all of it – but reusable produce bags are great as well. These can be taken to your fruit & vegetable shop or farmer’s market when you buy the produce and are equally great for then storing the produce in your fridge or pantry. Each plastic bag we can avoid is a great outcome!
7. Reusable Cutlery
This last one is mostly important if you find yourself buying food out a bit, as obviously at home you can use your normal cutlery set (which I assume is reusable!). Pop a set of cutlery in your bag or keep some in your desk at work that you can use over and over again, and remember to let the staff know when you’re buying food that you don’t need any cutlery. This could include a set of chopsticks if, like me, you’re a big fan of Japanese food, and if you can find yourself a set of cutlery in a case then that will stop you fishing around in your bag for it!