With Zero Waste you don’t try to find solutions to waste management, but you support products that are recycled and reusable. Everything that is single use goes against this theory – therefore you always have to think about reusability and product lifecycle. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean.
By following the 5 main initiatives of Zero Waste living, you can significantly reduce your household waste. If you…
- Refuse what you do not need.
- Reduce what you do need (and cannot refuse)
- Reuse what you consume (and cannot refuse or reduce)
- Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse
- Rot (compost) the rest.
ZW is a whole systems approach that aims for a massive change in the way materials flow through society, resulting in no waste. And like everything, this one starts at home, too.
What are product swaps?
Product swaps are easy tricks to switch to Zero Waste, reusable products. These are made of organic materials and are 100% reusable, then recyclable in the end of the their lifecycle.
The easiest product swaps you can start right away
- Plastic bottles to Water bottles
The average London adult buys more than three plastic water bottles every week – a startling 175 bottles every year per person. In total, some 7.7 billion plastic bottles are bought across the UK each year, resulting in substantial amounts of single-use plastic waste. While many still cling to throwaway bottles, reusable ones are sharply on the rise; their ubiquity on TV hit Love Island brought to the fore their fashion credentials, with trendy brands like Chilly’s leading the way. Water fountains are more common sights in British towns, and supermarkets are being urged to offer water dispensers
- Coffee paper cups to KeepCups
The desire to drink coffee yet also walk around has led to more than 2.5bn cups being thrown away every year in the UK. You may have assumed that they were recyclable, as they are made out of paper; in fact the recyclable bit is trapped under a film of plastic that stops the paper getting soggy. It’s also difficult to remove, so most go straight to landfill. It’s time to switch to something with more life and more eco-friendly.
- Food packaging
Zero waste food shopping is just about making the best choices you can with each food item to reduce waste, including the waste from producing it, transporting it, packaging it, and you travelling to buy it. It’s not always simple so we’re just trying to make the best decision we can.
- Paper towels to cloths
One easy way is vowing to ditch wasteful paper towels in favor of sustainable alternatives like cloth towels and linen napkins. Kitchen cloths are perfect for capturing tough spills and messes, just like textured paper towels. They’re machine washable, so a 24-pack will practically last a lifetime.
- Plastic bags
With plastic bag bans soaring in popularity globally (127 countries have adopted plastic bag restrictions, and New York recently passed one too), the question of what will replace plastic bags has become more pressing. We know that single-use anything is a terrible idea, whether it is plastic or not, so replacing plastic bags with paper ones will surely have deleterious side-effects like increasing deforestation. Making a paper bag also requires more energy and water than making a plastic bag, so for other environmental considerations besides litter, paper products may be worse than plastic ones. Whatever you have in your house now—be it a pile of cotton totes, or a jumble of plastic bags—don’t throw them out. Keep using them until they fall apart. Whatever the material, use it as a garbage bag once you can’t use it for other purposes any more. And whatever you do, try not to buy new ones.