10 Less Waste And Eco-Friendly Swaps

Why is reducing waste important?

Not only does it cost a lot of money, energy and natural resources to manufacture and transport new products, it also costs a great deal to process these products as waste once we’re done with them. The more rubbish we put in the ground, the more our landfills release toxic gases and substances that contribute to climate change, can kill plants and animals and contaminate our water supplies.

Making small changes in our everyday lifestyle choices can make a powerful difference to the health of all living things and our planet.
Below I share a few environmentally friendly swaps that help me to reduce my household waste. My family consists of two adults and three young children so even eliminating just the shampoo and shower gel bottles from our bathrooms made a considerable difference in the amount of waste we create.

My 10 less waste swaps

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  1. A good selection of cloth shopping bags is always handy. I currently have three in my handbag one of which I use as a wash bag for all my bits and bobs (which doubles as an extra bag if I need it). It is so easy to swap between handbags as I only have to throw in my cloth bags and go!20180301_144614
  2. Swap plastic straws with reusable ones that you can also carry in your handbag for when you are out and about. Also, I carry with me a set of cutlery for every member of the family so that I won’t have to use the plastic ones.ED_fruits
  3. I try to shop for unpackaged fruit and veg (and adjust my cooking to whatever produce I can source each time). I have now subscribed to receive a 100% UK organic vegetable box which includes seasonal (unpackaged most of the times) & locally sourced produce.
    Local markets and farm shops are also an alternative option.
    Bulk produce shops where you can shop using your own containers.
    Another great home box subscription company (if you live in London) is the oddbox.co.uk. They deliver all the wonky vegetables and fruits that producers throw away because they don’t look perfect for the grocery shops.
    Bulk buy packaged items such as pasta, rice and flour (I make my own bread). Obviously, when I can’t avoid packaging I look for items in recyclable/reusable containers.
    Use the supermarkets’ fresh produce counter instead of buying the packaged food in the fridge isles (try asking them to use your own containers).
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  4. Say no to one use plastic coffee cups and use your own travel mug instead. I love my KeepCup cork edition and I use it all the time. Also, I don’t buy bottled water, fizzy drinks, squash or any other drinks in plastic bottles.20180301_114139
  5. Replace the liquid hand soap, shampoo & body wash for a soap bar. There are plenty of choices for soaps with natural ingredients that are good for our skin and the environment. This is a big one as the plastic containers in which these products come in are mostly non-recyclable! A couple of websites for soap bars, noplasticshop etsy.20180301_114610
  6. Empty glass jars can be used to store your food instead of using plastic containers. Also, Tiffin stainless steel containers are ideal for pack lunches and snacks. I now use my plastic containers only to store non-food items.20180301_141710
  7. I have replaced my water bottle (and my children’s) with a stainless steel one. It keeps my water cool and healthy. I prefer to use this instead of any other type of plastic bottle even if it is BPA free. You may not be aware but BPA can also be found in canned goods, receipts and tickets printed on thermal paper, dental sealants, plastic wrap (cling film), one use paper cups, plastic food containers and some kitchen utensils.20180301_131105
  8. Also, I do not use cling film anymore but instead I use glass containers with lids or cloth dish covers (have a look on etsy for some great cotton options).
    I avoid foil by cooking in ovenproof dishes.
    Another great swap is making kitchen cloths out of old cotton shirts or towels and use them instead of kitchen paper.20180301_114856
  9. I no longer use kitchen scourer sponges but I replaced them with wooden or bamboo pot scrubbing brushes. For cleaning the surfaces I do not buy kitchen cleaning products but I make my own. This is an easy one to make: mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water for an all-purpose spray cleaner (with the addition of a few drops of essential oils to tackle the strong vinegar smell).
  10. Finally, I always try to find second-hand items before I buy new. A few website suggestions: ebay, FaceBook, freecycle,
    nextdoor, secondhand.org.uk, vestiairecollective  (designer fashion) , ThredUp (clothing/accessories), oxfam.org.uk/shop/,  preloved.co.uk.

However difficult the less waste/plastic free lifestyle may be for our fast pacing lives,  every little step really counts towards maintaining the integrity of our planet.  It is all about resetting our mindset to think before we consume.
I still buy products that are in plastic containers (vegan yogurts and most of the vegan cheese) and I am still working on cutting down waste and buy less, in so many other aspects of my life.

Nevertheless, considering the whole point of zero waste living is to consume less, make more of your own, use what you already have and repair what is broken – I am happy to give it a try.

What are your thoughts about the less waste movement? What are you struggling with to cut down the most?


(Please note that affiliate links are marked with *)

Zero waste produce shops

TheZeroWasteShop 101 High Street, Devon TQ9 5PF
Hetu  201 St. Johns Hill, London SW11 1TH
Wholefoods Market Different locations

Products mentioned in the blog

Cloth Tote Bags*
Reusable Straws*
KeepCup*
Tiffin*
KleenKanteen*
Pot scrub brush*

 

 

 

 

 

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Less Is More

Being frugal and savvy means carefully choose what to buy based on your practical needs and create a freedom that you never thought existed.

Having less IS more and here is how it works:

Less clothes to choose from – more time to put yourself together in the mornings

Less accessories – more versatile pieces that go with everything and make a statement

Less objects around your house – opens up space, frees your mind from worries, helps you slow down your life and embrace practicality and technology over consumerism.

Less is more means that your earnings can go further hence you can feel more fulfilled by the successes in your life and your business – big or small.

Less is more means that you CAN put yourself in the centre of your world as family, friends and work can be the surrounding circle that cherish you and gives you positive encouragement to thrive.

Less is more at work means that you dismiss the small distractions and work on one project at a time. Since you are in charge of your workload, going one step at a time will help you focus and succeed faster and with fewer mistakes.

By forcing ourselves to consider our purchases seriously, we are more likely to buy clothes we genuinely like and appreciate, rather than accumulating low-cost impulse buys.

The ideal consequence of this way of shopping, if you give it a try, isn’t just to buy less, but also to buy better.  It’s a philosophy that has something in common with the guiding principle of Marie Kondo’s book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, which has developed a near-religious following. It dictates that only items that spark joy should have a place in your wardrobe!

Amazing how that clarity makes us shift our lives and give it a forum for expressing our dreams.

5 Easy Swaps For A Healthier Lifestyle

  1. Plastic food containers: can be replaced with glass, porcelain or stainless-steel containers, particularly for hot food or liquids. Research has proven that harmful chemicals in plastic can leach into your food (or liquid) during storage, especially when heated. There is also evidence that some acidic foods can cause leaching even without being heated. Also, avoid the microwaveable polycarbonate plastic food containers. Polycarbonate is strong and durable, but over time it may break down from overuse at high temperatures. Glass meal prep containers do not have this issue due to its non-porous surface. Moreover, by removing the plastic containers from your kitchen cupboards, you create more space and less clutter (how many of these plastic boxes do you actually use?)
    ED_plastics_blog1
  2. Air fresheners: You might think they’re safe to use, but air fresheners release gasses, odours and fumes which are more dangerous than cigarette smoke and may cause asthma and hormonal imbalance. According to a study by the Public Health England’s Centre for Radiation, Chemical and Environmental Hazards, there’s a significant amount of formaldehyde in air fresheners. The use of air fresheners also linked to nose and throat cancers. Instead of using them in your home, use essential oils instead – add 10-15 drops in a cup of distilled water and spray the solution in your house.
  3. Cleaning products: we all use commercial cleaning products to clean surfaces in our homes, but they contain dangerous toxic substances that linked to serious diseases and conditions. Compounds such as BPA, triclosan and parabens found in popular cleaning products – all of them have been found to cause hormonal imbalance and other health problems. That means you could be spraying toxic ingredients all over your home in hopes of keeping it clean – and end up causing more potential harm to your family in the long run. Instead of these products, you should try cleaning with baking soda, vinegar and castile soap which will provide the same, if not better results.  Alternatively, you can buy the eco-friendly products and make sure to recycle the bottles and packaging. Also, microfiber antibacterial cleaning, when moist, remove up to 99% of bacteria (including E. coli and listeria), without requiring cleaning solutions when following proper care and use instructions.
  4. Laundry detergents: The conventional laundry detergents are full of chemicals like sulphates, fragrances, phenols and more. Many brands contain things like petroleum distillates, which links to cancer and lung disease. Fragrances in these detergents made of a mix of harmful chemicals. Making your laundry soap is an easy and fast process as you only need three basic ingredients: washing soda (sodium carbonate), Borax and castile soap. Alternatively, if you can’t make your own you can replace the conventional detergents for good brands of eco-friendly laundry detergents. Also, the research found that dryer vents can emit 25 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) when both scented laundry detergent and dryer sheets used, including seven VOCs classified as hazardous air pollutants. It is especially concerning when dryers don’t vent to the outside or are blocked, resulting in indoor air pollution. To naturally scent your laundry, add a few drops of essential oil on a damp cloth and throw it in the dryer with laundry. Use wool dryer balls to reduce drying time, wrinkles and static, and make sure your dryer vent is venting properly to the outside.
  5. Replace Synthetic with Natural Fragrances. Did you know that over 60% of what you put on your skin, the largest organ of your body, gets absorbed into your blood stream? And unlike your kidneys and liver that act as your body’s filter, the skin is all on its own. A 95% of the chemicals in most commercial fragrances are synthetic compounds derived from petroleum and natural gas, known as petrochemicals. On average, 80% of fragrance formulations comprised of these chemicals and in some cases, 100% of a formula can be synthetic. Skin absorbs these human-made chemicals in a few ways: by direct application, by contact with fragranced items, and by exposure to air containing fragrances and that can accumulate in your body organs. They can trigger allergic reactions, migraines, asthma attacks, nausea, eczema, and a whole host of other sensitivities.
    Natural fragrances are essential oils and isolates derived from botanical ingredients that we harvest from the earth such as flowers, fruits, sap, seeds or skin of the plant, as well as the bark, leaves, roots, resins or wood of certain trees and not from a lab (synthetic). These oils derived from natural raw materials by either steam or water distillation, a technique that has been around for centuries. They should not be created from absolutes – a process that uses either hexane or petroleum ether. This is because while the oils that come from this rich process are washed, they still contain trace amounts of petrochemicals and are not recognised by the Natural Products Association. Naturals, because they are limited, need to be harvested responsibly and should be imported from around the world, creating greater expense. Therefore, it is much more cost effective to try to replicate nature in a lab. Consumers are becoming more educated and suspicious of chemicals in our personal care products and are seeking safer alternatives. Naturals, in general, are much healthier and provide the scents for green living.