Zero Waste Week: 50 Ways to Go Zero Waste for Good

Going zero waste is a steep demand. No matter how hard you try, unavoidable waste is a product of our consumerist society.

I can’t start the day without waste as I take medication that only comes in plastic and foil packaging. My disabilities and budget mean I sometimes have to rely on chopped vegetables from a bag in the freezer if I want to cook. I need baths to ease my pain.

If I was purist, I’d find work arounds to all these, but being ill takes enough energy. I could feel guilty – or I could do what I can. I choose the latter.

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Here are some ideas for incorporating a zero waste approach to your lifestyle. Do what you can – small changes really can make a big difference. How many of this list could work with your life?

  1. Save vegetable peelings in the freezer for stock…
  2. …or use them in compost.
  3. Use coffee grounds to make a sea safe scrub
  4. …or use it to grow mushrooms. Just microwave to kill any mould spores first.
  5. Save seeds from fruit and veg to plant, eat or feed to the birds.
  6. Make fat balls for birds from left over vegetable fat (or suet).
  7. Make your own cordial and store in recycled – or litterpicked and sterilised – glass bottles.
  8. Make pickles and chutney from veg leftovers. Raid the neighbour’s recycling bins for jars if you don’t have enough.
  9. Make your own ready meals and freeze them to avoid shop bought ready meals and takeaways.
  10. Use a water fountain rather than buying water.
  11. Eat as sustainably as possible. Grow your own food to cut food miles (and enjoy a fun, relaxing hobby).
  12. Use freshly cut herbs not shop-bought ones.
  13. Use leftovers. Fridgetata is a good way to turn most leftovers into a meal.
  14. Reduce the amount of meat you eat…
  15. …and know the provenance of your fruit and veg.
  16. Feed any suitable leftovers you can’t use to the ducks (e.g., flapjack crumbs, peas, soggy oat cakes – never bread as it’s bad for the birds and the water).
  17. Create a kitchen mini garden for herb cuttings and spring onion ends along with seeds from fruit and veg…
  18. …or start container gardening if you don’t have a garden but do have outdoor space. Save the seeds for the following year, of course.
  19. Swap clothes rather than buying them.
  20. Sew on a button or stitch a hem rather than throwing an item away.
  21. Only wear make up if you really feel the need to. Make your own to reduce packaging (beetroot and elderberry both work well for lip stains and bluster, and coconut oil will emphasise your eyelashes. Cornflour can reduce shine and aromatherapy oils will help you smell great.)
  22. Get shoes resoled rather than binning them.
  23. Usd clean old tights to make draught excluders, fairy dolls or strain jams and jellies.
  24. Carry a reusable cup…
  25. ….and cutlery….
  26. …and storage containers for shopping…
  27. …and a canvas bag
  28. …and native wildflower seed (why waste grey looking land when it could be making pollinators happy?)
  29. …and refuse straws unless you have a need for one (in which case, use a plastic straw without guilt).
  30. Make your own cleaning products.
  31. Make your own toiletries.
  32. Use the contents of your recycling box rather than throwing them away.
  33. Make a fancy dress costume rather than buying one.
  34. Shower rather than bath…
  35. …and put the plug in so you can use the water on the garden afterwards (share a bath with your partner if you have one, to further reduce waste.)
  36. Car pool…
  37. …or cycle/walk/work remotely.
  38. Regift (but remember to note who gave you each gift to avoid regifting it to the person who gave it to you).
  39. Go foraging for free food to cut food miles.
  40. Share excess food on a sharing platform such as Olio.
  41. Always fill the oven if you have it on for a long time.
  42. Join a library to borrow rather than buy books, films and music.
  43. Give experiences or home made items rather than buying gifts (do not assume craft gifts will be welcome. Knitwear can also be risky. Food is a safe bet if you can cook – and is a good way to use foraged jam and chutney from fruit and veg gluts.)
  44. Shop at a plastic free store.
  45. Only use biodegradable glitter when you want to sparkle.
  46. Avoid using air fresheners and other fake scents – they can give people migraines and hideous allergic reactions, as well as filling the air with unnecessary chemicals.
  47. Use solar lights indoors to cut energy bills – charge them on windowsill and they come on automatically after dark – for free…
  48. …and change to an eco energy supplier such as Bulb. Use this link and I get £50 off my bill- and so do you.
  49. Skip recreational shopping. Get into nature instead.
  50. Join your local Transition Town group.
Emily

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