What Is A Zero Waste Lifestyle?
If you are trying to live a zero waste lifestyle then you’ll be familiar with the challenge of waste reduction in today’s convenience led, disposable society. That is why we have put together this list of zero waste lifestyle and waste reduction tips from some of the top blogs in the UK.
But maybe you are just getting started in waste reduction and you are wondering what a zero waste lifestyle is. Fear not, we go into this in detail in our Beginner’s Guide To Zero Waste. This also gives a handy example of how you can start with a small change to your lifestyle.
Basically a zero waste lifestyle is a way of living designed to reduce the amount of personal waste you create on a daily basis. The ultimate goal is to eliminate your waste altogether. So this means no plastic, no wrappers, no rubbish.
However, if this seems like an intimidating and unachievable goal don’t worry because any actions you take that help waste reduction make a big difference to the global waste problem. Indeed, Zero Waste Chef Anne Marie sums up how you don’t need to be perfect to make a difference.
So you can begin to start leading a zero waste lifestyle and contribute to waste reduction by beginning to make a few small changes to your everyday habits. Here are a few of the top tips from UK zero waste blogs to get you started.
Zero Waste Lifestyle Tips
1. Switch From Plastic To Glass Milk Bottles | Less Waste Laura
Laura Young, also known as Less Waste Laura, taught us the massive change that switching from plastic to glass milk bottles can make at her recent TEDx talk. She dragged on stage an average family of four people’s annual milk consumption. It made a compelling statement! By switching back to glass milk bottles we can reduce our single use plastic waste and be left with only a handful of foil caps, which we can scrunch together and recycle. Laura discusses the benefits of living with less waste and outlined why recycling isn’t the answer.
2. Buy In Bulk | Sustainably Vegan
Immy Lucas is the founder of Low Impact Movement and describes herself as a “plant based, low impact feminist”. She is also the force behind Sustainably Vegan. She advises to buy food in bulk, preferably unpackaged if possible but, if not, just buy the biggest bag you can. This is more economical and reduces waste as there is much less food packaging. Immy says this can also save you money and only wastes one bag if you can’t reuse or recycle it.
Another top tip from Immy is that you can also help to reduce plastic waste by trying to buy products packaged in cardboard. When you are finished with your cardboard boxes you can compost or recycle them making it much more sustainable than plastic bags.
3. Stop Buying Stuff | Madeleine Olivia
Madeleine Olivia decided to share her thoughts on veganism, minimalism and self discovery online after quitting her job and moving back in with her mum. On her post of 30 Easy Ways To Reduce Your Waste she highlights that one of the biggest things you can do to reduce your waste, is to simply stop buying so much stuff. When you’re buying new things, you’re creating demand for that thing, as well as creating demand for its journey of production and the waste that comes along with it. Simply saying no to things you don’t need, and being appreciative for what you already have is one of the biggest steps you can take to reducing your waste.
4. Get A Reusable Coffee Cup | Just Eilidh
In Eilidh’s blog about Easy Ways To Reduce Plastic Use As A Family she highlights how many coffee places now provide a discount on your coffees when using a reusable cup so you can save money every time you pick up a takeaway coffee. She also recommends buying reusable water bottles and particularly recommends the stainless steel insulated bottles which keep your water cold for up to 24 hours. As more cafes and shops start offering water refills it will get increasingly easier to go without bottled water which saves money too.
5. Use A Bamboo Tooth Brush | Eco Boost
Kate Arnell is a TV presenter, eco blogger and vlogger under the name of Eco Boost. One of Kate’s zero waste lifestyle tips from her Bedtime Routine blog and Morning Routine video (see below) is to use a bamboo toothbrush. She recommends a toothbrush without plastic bristles like this one.
6. Switch To Soap Bars | Eco Life Choices
Jihea Kim documents her zero waste lifestyle on her Eco Life Choices Instagram account. One of her top tips is to reduce plastic by switching to soap bars. They used to be so common but then everyone started using liquid hand soap in plastic bottles. One of those strange ‘advances’ in society that was really a step backwards.
7. Bring A Packed Lunch | Blue Ollis
In Blue’s post on Zero Waste Travel Tips she highlights how incorporating a zero waste lifestyle into your daily routine can be fairly straight forward but travelling can often mean a whole lot of hurdles to jump. When we’re travelling we become reliant on convenience which means it’s easier than ever to get stuck with packaged foods. While she says bringing your own packed lunch makes you feel a little like a school child again, it means you’ve always got delicious, homemade and healthy food. If you’re bringing a packed lunch you’ll need something to carry it in too. A metal lunch box or one made from plant fibre is a great sustainable option for lunch on the go.
8. Ditch Fast Fashion | Curiously Conscious
Under the heading of Curiously Conscious Besma Whayeb promotes ethical fashion and a conscious lifestyle. In her post on Fixing Fashion: Is It All Over? she attacks fast fashion for exploiting slave labour and human rights as well as disregard for carbon neutrality and microfibre pollution.
So every time we buy fast fashion, we’re quite literally causing child labour, forced labour and slave labour. We’re tearing down our forests, draining our inland oceans, endangering animals, just for cheap clothes. On that basis, we have to make fast fashion unfashionable and switch to ethical brands.
9. Make Fresh Food Last Longer | Moral Fibres
Wendy Graham offers up sustainable and zero waste living advice that is hip, not hippie on her Moral Fibres blog. Her top tips for ensuring you don’t waste fresh food include drying mushrooms that are spoiling in the oven, roasting butternut squash and pumpkin seeds that would otherwise be thrown out and making banana oat cookies from black bananas. This handy infographic is also full of great ways to preserve fresh food like storing potatoes and onions separately, keeping tomatoes out of the fridge and wrapping your leafy greens.
10. Stop Using Straws | Lizzie Outside
Through Lizzie’s battle with cancer she realised she no longer wanted to work in an unfulfilling corporate environment. So she left her old life behind to get outside in nature. Lizzie started Plastic Patrol, a nationwide campaign to rid our inland waterways of plastic pollution, in 2016.
In Lizzie’s post on 8 Ways to Use Less Plastic she says that you don’t need to drink from a straw anymore because, well, you’re no longer a toddler. So if you’re in a bar and the barman is about to put a straw in your cocktail just politely decline. However, if you are insistent on using a straw there are sustainable reusable straws that you can carry in your bag. Stainless steel and bamboo straws are great alternatives to disposable plastic ones.
11. Compost Organic Matter | Zero Waste Doc
Natalie is the Christian doctor behind Zero Waste Doc. She started her zero waste lifestyle journey after a trip to India where she witnessed first hand the impact of pollution and the consequences of poverty and injustice. Natalie is compiling an A to Z of Zero Waste and her C is composting.
This takes organic matter (food waste, garden waste, paper and cardboard) and rots it down into compost. It copies the natural process where organic material from leaves and rotting fruit falls onto the ground and rots down to become fertiliser. This supports the plant life and ensures that nothing is wasted. Composting is brilliant for a few reasons including saving resources, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving soil quality.
If you have kerbside food or garden waste collection that is a great way to deal with organic food material. But if you don’t the simplest option might be a garden compost pile, compost bin or worm bin.
So with these top zero waste lifestyle tips from the experts you’ll be able to start cutting your waste through some simple changes. Start with something small like switching to a reusable coffee cup and follow the tips in our guide to the Best Reusable Coffee Cup.