In 2018-2019, Australia generated just short of76 million tones of waste.
Fortunately, conscious Australians just like you have started making changes to ensure the next 2-year report sees an impact. When it comes down to it, every effort, big or small, contributes to taking care of this beautiful land we call home.
Of course, reducing your waste isn’t quite as simple as flipping a switch. Whether you are brand new to the zero waste initiative or looking to take your efforts to the next level, we’ve put together a simple guide to help make the change!
Follow along to discover how to start zero-waste living and begin contributing to a less wasteful Australia!
Evaluate Your Waste
Before you jump into the zero-waste lifestyle, it’s important to set some realistic goals for your journey ahead.
So how do you determine what a realistic goal for your zero-waste journey should be? First things first, you’ll need to evaluate your waste.
For one week, make no changes to your daily waste production, simply observe your waste by writing down what you throw away. At the end of the week, look back at your waste and analyse your findings.
Are your coffee habits leading to several takeaway cups in the rubbish each week? Did you use half a roll of paper towel when doing your daily kitchen wipe down? Notice the areas that produce the most waste in your day to day life and make a plan to address the most impactful areas first!
As you go, remember that this exercise isn’t to judge yourself or get down. Simply observe your habits and decide which areas you can commit to changing now and what to attack later down the track.
Start Your Swaps
Now that you know how much waste you are creating and where you can make the most impact, it’s time to tackle those areas with zero-waste swaps!
This could include using zero-waste products in place of your disposable ones or even adopting new habits to avoid bringing waste home.
Here are a few simple tricks and tips for the zero waste beginner.
In Your Home
The kitchen is the heart of your home, but it also tends to be the biggest culprit for waste!
Through the course of the day, we throw away food packaging, wash toxic soaps down the sink, and tear off sheet after sheet of paper towel and aluminium foil.
This is where small changes really begin to add up! By something as simple as swapping your baking paper for areusable silicone baking mat, you can cut down on your cooking waste without sacrificing an easy clean up.
Want to take your efforts up a notch? Replace your chemically enhanced dish soap with a more eco-friendly, refillable alternative. You can even ditch the plastic bottle completely and opt for a dish and laundry block for the perfect zero-waste replacement.
Partner yourplastic-free dish soap with bamboo scrubbers and take your washing up routine to a whole new level!
Is paper towel your go-to for those sticky messes? Cut down on your papery waste with acellulose dishcloth. These durable little wonder cloths replace as many as 17 roles of paper towel and are machine washable. When you’ve got everything you can out of your little cloth, skip the rubbish and compost with ease!
At the Shops
Just a stroll around the aisles of your local grocery shop quickly reveals an incredible amount of unnecessary packaging and single-use plastic.
Fortunately, there are a few easy switches you can make to leave the rubbish at the stores and promote less waste in your bin each week.
First and foremost, it’s time to change up the way you bag your food. Not only will this help cut down on the plastic you take home, but you can even save money by eliminating repetitive plastic bag purchases.
Build the habit of taking your own bags to the shop by keeping them in the car or writing a reminder at the top of each shopping list. Once you’re in the routine of bringing your own bags, you can up your effort by swapping the soft plastic produce bags forreusable mesh ones of your own.
Tired of purchasing fruit and veg just to throw away rotten remains a few days later? Make your produce last longer by wrapping up partially used pieces withbeeswax food wraps or storing in a freshness extending food swag. These alternatives can buy you a few extra days or weeks of freshness without hitting the bin like plastic wrap or aluminium foil.
Ready to cut down on product packaging in your pantry? Consider changing up your shopping routine by purchasing from brands that use recyclable or compostable packaging options or picking up your pantry goods from localbulk food shops.
These establishments encourage zero-waste shopping by allowing you to refill your containers instead of buying more plastics and boxes every time you need a refresher.
In Your Lifestyle
Does your daily routine include a stop at your favourite cafe? We get it, coffee is the life force liquid that powers your day! Unfortunately, that disposable cup becomes part of2.7 million coffee cups that Australians throw away every single day.
Now don’t worry, you don’t need to give up your daily caffeine hit. Instead, simplybring your own coffee cup with you and have the barista pour your brew right into your stylish zero-waste partner.
Love a good lunch on the go? Take the same principle into your lunch hour by bringing your own containers to your favourite takeaway locations. When you order, simply pass your containers over and ask the helpful staff to package your food without the rubbish.
Take it one step further by leaving the plastic utensils behind and bringing along your own set ofon the go cutlery. Sub your fork, knife, and even straw then give it a wash and use it again!
In Your Beauty Routine
The next time you run through your morning routine, take stock of how many of your products are packaged in plastic, this will give you a great idea of where to start when it comes to your bathroom products.
Unfortunately, most of the products we use in the shower or for our cosmetics are liquid and therefore are packaged in plastics. Beyond this, items like cotton swabs, makeup remover wipes, and feminine products are all hitting the bin as soon as they are used.
Consider making some small changes in your beauty routine to reduce the most frequent waste by subbing your makeup remover wipes or cotton rounds forreusable fabric rounds. This way you can reduce your waste without having to sacrifice that squeaky clean skin.
Ready to make some larger commitments to your long term waste footprint? Switch your liquid shampoo and conditioner for package-free bars.These nifty bars are great for travel, contain less water and fillers, and won’t result in another bottle in the landfill.
And finally,take your period waste-free by giving up the toxic tampons and pads and replacing them with menstrual cups or fabric pads. Not quite ready to take the full jump with your feminine hygiene? Consider graduating to organic cotton products while you work your way up to the zero-waste options.
Getting Started with Zero-Waste Living...
With so many ways to start your zero waste journey, we hope these simple swaps and tips help you launch your efforts and kickstart your zero waste lifestyle.
Ready to get started but not sure where to source your Australian made zero waste products?Shop our selection of locally sourced and ethical zero waste products and begin your journey with sustainable, natural brands in your corner.
Blog written by: Dani-Lynn