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


  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).
  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*
Pot scrub brush*







Revitalise Your Wardrobe In 5 Steps

  1. Take out of your wardrobe anything that is non-clothing and put it in a different storage space. Remove all the out-of-season clothes and pack them away in storage bags.
  2. Now the difficult part: Remove any clothing/ shoe or accessory items  that:
  • you have not worn in the last 12 months
  • do not fit you
  • are not comfortable
  • look old and tired
  • are old-fashioned
  • not flattering
  • not the right colour
  • clothes you can’t wear for 3 different occasions, with 3 other outfits in your wardrobe and over 2-3 seasons

3. Manage your wardrobe: Put your clothes together into different garment types: hang all your tops together, skirts, trousers, dresses and jackets. Organise your knitwear, accessories and shoes in clear boxes and baskets.

4. Time to have fun! Create your own outfits by mixing key pieces (skirts and trousers/leggings) with different combinations of tops/ blouses/shirts, jackets, knitwear and accessories/ handbags and shoes. Hang them together as outfits – you can even use clear zipped dress covers to put the complete outfit together with the accessories and perhaps the shoes included! Do this for your work-wear and casual/smart casual.

5. Finally: write down a list of clothing, accessories and shoe items that perhaps are missing from your wardrobe or need replacing. This will be your wish list when you go shopping next.

This is everything you need to do to have an uncluttered and organised space for your clothes.

Good luck and enjoy your revitalised wardrobe!

Questions To Ask Before Shopping For New Clothes

These are some questions I’ve found helpful and I think are good to ask yourself before buying anything new:

Do I love it, or am I trying to convince myself I need it? Is the price/sale factoring into my decision?

Give it a few days before you buy it. It’s easy to get excited about something new so make sure it’s an item you want and will use (giving yourself some time to think about it often helps). It’s also incredibly easy to be tempted by sales, ask yourself if you would feel the same way if the product was regular price.

Make a wish list! To avoid impulse sale purchases – to know that you really need/want it. 

When/where will I wear this? Clothes should fit your lifestyle; only buy pieces you know you’ll actually wear. You start with doing things and then buy – you probably need fewer things than you need.

What will I wear it with? Make sure the outfit is your style and works with what you already have/doesn’t require you to buy other things to wear it.

Does it fit and is it comfortable? And if it doesn’t fit right, can it be altered? Your clothes should fit the way you want and if it’s not comfortable when you try it on, you likely won’t enjoy wearing it.

What is it made from and how do I care for it? Make sure the material has the properties you want (eg. soft, breathable, water-resistant, etc.) and is a fabric you like wearing. Check the care instructions and only buy things you are prepared and able to care for properly.

Is it good quality? Inspect the sewing and fabric construction, is it something that looks like it will last or get worn out/fall apart quickly? Read reviews and gather information (especially if you shop online)

How long can I see myself wearing this? 1 year? 5 years? This helps avoid fleeting trends and the longer you can see yourself wearing something the better the investment it is.

Does it fit with my budget? Make sure you can afford it and that your money isn’t better spent on a different piece(s).

Are there any sustainability aspects? Is the company trying to reduce their environmental impact? Does the company align with your values? Do they use child labour? etc. Look for sustainable materials, eco-friendly production, or any other areas where the brand is conscious of the sustainability of their products. Support companies who manufacture in an ethical way – pay their workers a living wage. Check out brand’s social responsibility policies and look for fair trade brands.

I hope these questions can help you make informed decisions when buying new clothes. There also other more sustainable options to update your wardrobe like thrift shopping and renting or borrowing a friend’s outfit even if it is just for you to try it out.

Finally, shopping your wardrobe and using your existing clothes differently to create new outfits can help you make the most out of your closet and save money too.

The Ultimate Wardrobe Check List

Building a wardrobe is like building a house – getting the foundation right is the most important part of the built.

A wardrobe that will last through time and seasons is the one that includes, good quality basic pieces and perfect fitting items. These pieces will be the foundation on which you will develop your style.

Tops Bottoms Denim

White button-up shirt


Suiting trousers


Dark-wash, straight/ flared or boot-cut jeans (high waist, small back pockets)
Blouse Suiting skirt Skinny jeans
Chambray top Black Skirt (pencil, a-line or full) Boyfriend jeans
T-shirts/ camisoles in neutral colours Black trousers (straight or bootcut)
Leather/pleather pants
Knits Dresses Jackets
Classic cardigan Little black dress Black blazer
Crew neck sweater Versatile dress (sheath or wrap preferred) knee length (sleeves or not) Moto jacket
V-neck sweater Cocktail dress Suiting jacket
Organic cashmere/ Polartec / Thinsulate   sweater Evening dress or gown (can be hired)
Outerwear Jewellery Shoes
Trench coat Diamond studs (real or faux) Black pumps
Puffer jacket Statement / mixed metal necklace Nude pumps
Black or camel belted Winter wool coat Cuff / Bangle in gold or silver Pointed toe flats
Faux fur coat/gilet Gold or silver earrings (depending on your skin tone) Boots (ankle/knee high)
Cocktail ring Stylish trainers
Watch Sandals (day and evening)
Layering dainty necklaces Wellington/ weatherproof boots
Bags Accessories Other
Evening bag (black envelope clutch or silver) Black belt Great fitting bra
Work Tote bag (medium size) in black or honey brown colour Brown or tan belt Shapewear for tummy/thighs control
Weekender bag Waist-cinching belt 1-piece swimsuit
Backpack (for days with the kids/walk the dog) Stylish hat 2-piece swimsuit
Chic sunglasses (over-sized, wayfarers, aviators etc) Matching lingerie
Good quality scarves Comfortable robe
Fashion tights Pyjama set

“I hope this guide will help you to create a good wardrobe foundation to streamline your
clothes collection. Your personal style, favourite colours and fabrics will determine which of these items will have a place in your wardrobe.” Elena x

Top 10 Tips To Help You Make The Most Out Of your Clothes

Here are my top 10 tips to help you make the most out of your clothes and feel much more organised this season. If you only wear 20% of the clothes in your wardrobe, this one’s for you!

  1. Arrange your clothes per lifestyle first (workwear, casualwear, weekend, going out, sportswear, beachwear etc) – and then per items of clothing (bottoms together, shirts/blouses, dresses etc.) – keep in your wardrobe only the clothes you wear a lot.
  2. Look after your clothes: knitwear always folded, hang the trousers and skirts in soft grip trouser and skirt hangers.
  3. Accessories need to be accessible! Have them on display so you can see what you have. If they are in a box you will forget about them.
  4. Shoes & Handbags: place them neatly on bookshelves or take photos of them (if they need to be kept in boxes) and save them in your phone for easy access.
  5. Make sure that your clothes fit you. Well-fitting clothes will complement your body, whereas ill-fitting garments will draw attention to your problem areas.
  6. Book a professional bra fitting every 9 months or so, it can help you drop a dress size!
  7. If you feel comfortable and confident in a specific outfit, then it is the right style for you. Look for similar items when shopping.
  8. Make a wish list before you go shopping and stick to it!
  9. Invest in quality basics.
  10. It is a fact that 70% of the world wears second-hand clothing. So next time you want to go shopping, try checking out a second-hand store or look for a clothes swap event near you! (Check out my Walk In Wardrobe™ events here)

5 Ways To Reduce Textile Waste

Waste is going to be one of the next biggest problems for the fashion and textiles industry. Last year the worldwide consumption of textiles reached about 73 million tonnes and is expected to grow at nearly 4% annually through 2025 (APIC 2014), yet only 20% of textiles are recycled each year around the world (Soex presentation at Textile Exchange conference 2014).
The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, and about 30% of it hasn’t worn in the last year. (recyclatex)
Textile waste categorised into two different types:
1) Pre-consumer; the leftover materials from the production of clothing and
2) Post-consumer; what is discarded by consumers after use.
1) Pre-consumer; the remaining materials from the manufacture of clothing.
It is estimated that a single textile mill can produce from 5% up to 25% of pre-consumer textile waste on its total yearly production. The local market often absorbs over-production runs and liability stock from manufacturers and mills or sold via third parties. Damaged clothing and discarded rolls of branded and/or recognisable fabrics are regularly slashed, landfilled and incinerated to protect intellectual property and brand image. This reality is hidden. Investigative reporters have tried and failed to find out what really happens with pre-consumer waste. In the UK, roughly two million tonnes of clothing and textiles are thrown away every year, and only 16% of that waste is reused. That’s approximately £140 million worth of waste. Meanwhile, 80% of textile waste going to landfills can be reused (WRAP, 2015).
2) Post-consumer; what is discarded by consumers after use.
Post- consumer waste can be a garment that the owner does not require anymore and has decided to discard. Facts:
• The average lifetime of a piece of clothing is only about 3 years.
• When it comes to textile waste, the consumer is the biggest culprit. In the U.S., only 15% of post-consumer textile waste gets recycled.
• Every year, 3.8 billion pounds of unnecessary waste from recyclable textiles are added to our landfills.
• Clothing and household textiles currently make up 5.2% of the waste in landfills.
• Up to 95% of the textiles that are land filled each year could be recycled.
• Recycling clothing and textiles decrease the use of natural resources, such as water used in growing crops and petroleum used in creating new clothing and textiles. It also reduces the need for chemicals used in manufacturing new textiles and the pollution caused by the manufacturing process.
• Of the clothing donated to charity in the UK, only 10-30% is re-sold; the rest gets exported overseas. In Uganda, some 81% of all clothes sold today are castoffs from the west. It is widely reported that this influx of second-hand clothing to developing countries is destroying local textile and tailoring economies (BBC News, 2015)
How to manage your garment waste:
Most of the times we think that a bag of old clothes will be easy to sell for a few pounds, so try to sell them. Unfortunately, most likely is that our old clothes, even the ones we paid dearly for, will be rejected because of small flaws or no longer being in season. With fast fashion speeding up trends and shortening seasons, our clothing is quite likely dated if it’s more than a year old. Many second-hand shops will reject items from fast-fashion chains like Forever 21, H&M, Zara, Topshop etc. The inexpensive clothing is of poor quality, with little resale value, and there is just too much of it. The average UK household owns around £4,000 worth of clothes, and about 30% of it hasn’t worn in the last year.
Below you can find a list of ideas that may help you minimise your clothing waste.

5 easy ways to reduce your clothing waste:

1. Wear your clothes for longer. Ask the experts for new ways to mix and match your clothes and accessories. Restyling existing outfits and garments with different accessories or trying new colour combinations can have great results. You can look online for inspiration.

2. Get swapping with your friends or find swapping events near you. The WALK IN WARDROBE™ event, for example, is a pop-up clothes swap event with locations in London and Surrey (WALK IN WARDROBE™).

3. Upcycle your garments. Think of clever uses for different items of clothing.
I use cotton vests instead of dust clothes (easy to wash and I don’t spend money to buy the branded ones from the shops).
I wear my faded garments as loungewear.
Also, tops that are getting small are perfect for layering.
A dress/shirt/trousers with a great pattern can be transformed into a cushion or a tea towel etc.
A few of my not so flattering/unwanted scarves and tops can make a statement belt.
Use the fabric and make children’s outfits.
Donate them to a school to be used for their projects.

4. Update/Transform/Customise them into a different piece of clothing
Examples: Create denim shorts from an unwanted pair of jeans. Change the buttons on a shirt/coat or add a belt on a coat. If you can’t sew, you can take them to a tailor for altering.
You can also: raise the hems, change necklines, belts, add embellishments, remove sleeves, distress, over-dye, adjust the fit.
5. Recycle/donate. Finally, if you can’t do any of the above, you can still choose to recycle or donate your old garments/fabrics. Use the online service (loveyourclothes.org.uk/recycle-your-clothes) and locate your nearest recycling places.