Sunday, 3 January 2021

Zero waste changes I implemented that you can too!

In 2020 I decided I wanted to make more environmentally conscious decisions. Some of these changes were simple and easy, others took months of thinking about them before finally taking the plunge. I thought I would share these changes with you and share that being environmentally conscious isn't about being perfect, but every change you are able to make creates a knock on effect.

So here are the changes I implemented in 2020: 

1. Drinking from a reusable cup. 

This is probably the easiest one to do and costs between £5 and £11. When travelling you can use the Refillmybottle app and it will tell you about locations where you can go in and ask for them to refill your bottle for free. When flying if you take your empty bottle through security you can then usually ask a coffee shop like Costa to fill it up and I've never had anyone refuse to. Although it is a small investment to make, imagine how much money you save in the long run by not buying plastic water bottles. 

2. Using Tupperware instead of tin foil or cling film. 

We are British and prone to a sandwich at lunch and they fit perfectly into a Tupperware box. Tupperware is super cheap to buy if you buy the plastic ones. Although the best option is a glass box with a bamboo lid if you want to be super environmentally friendly but these do mean more of a financial investment. 

3. A Bamboo toothbrush 

In 2020 chain stores such as Superdrug and TKMax finally started selling bamboo toothbrushes and they aren't marketed at that much more than that for a plastic toothbrush. It has never been easier! 

4. Recycling food waste in a compost bin 

Your local council, depending on your area, may provide you with a compost bin. If not I was able to buy ours online for about £15. You do then have to buy compostable bags for it which I buy from our local library - £3 for 50 bags (we do about 1-2 bags a week with 3 people living in our household). You can buy the bags for cheaper at some supermarkets but you do pay for what you get and those ones can rip quite easily. Another little handy tip, supermarkets now use compostable bags for fruit and vegetables so I try to tie these carefully so that I can reuse them in the compost bin. 

5. Using the library

I'm a bit of a book nerd and can go through books at the speed of light which can become pretty expensive, especially when reading a book once and then never again. This year I decided to stop buying books brand new and instead use my library. Using my library has also meant I can try various different genres and if I don't like them it doesn't matter because I didn't spent a penny. The only thing to be careful of is late charges of 25p per day, but you do get a 3 week loan period and can renew easily online. 

6. Reusable cotton pads

This is one of the most recent changes we have made in my household. With two women in the house we go through quite a few cotton pads when removing our makeup and so we decided to finally take the plunge and buy reusable cotton pads. We bought 20 pads for £12 and once used they simply go in the washing machine in a little pouch. 

7. Making conscious decisions when  food shopping 

Unfortunately like most environmentally conscious decisions, having a bit of money to spare is necessary and the same is true when it comes to food shopping. Plastic is cheap and unfortunately it is hard to escape plastic in the supermarket but some small changes can be made. For instance, Hellmans mayonnaise comes in a glass or plastic bottle. Although the glass bottle is marketed at a slightly higher price it is more easily and widely recycled. 

8. Shopping second hand 

You can find some amazing things in Charity shops from clothes to books to homeware. Etsy is also a good place to find second hand items. I recently bought a board game marketed at £30 brand new for half the price. 

9. Use soap bars, shampoo bars and plastic free conditioner options

Soap bars are incredible easy to find and slowly shampoo bars are finding their way into high street shops. I currently use the Lush Seanik shampoo bar and have been using this for almost a year. A shampoo bar lasts me about 3 months and costs £8. However, finding a plastic free conditioner has been more of a challenge. I tried the Lush conditioning bar but didn't find it conditioned my hair very well, so I am currently using the Beauty Kitchen Organic Vegan Aloe Conditioner. It comes in a tin bottle which can be returned to Holland and Barretts and other stores where it is then washed, refilled and then resold. I buy mine from Boots (in their zero waste section) for between £8-£10 depending on offers and it typically lasts 3-4 months. (Be aware that if you buy the conditioner straight from Beauty Kitchen  it does actually cost more.)

10. Zero waste periods 

There are many options when it comes to zero waste periods: the moon cup, period knickers or washable pads. This was a change I thought about for months before implementing, the idea of rinsing them once full really freaked me out. But after chatting about it with friends and asking for their experiences I finally took the plunge. I bought 5 pads of different sizes and a bag from Fern for £25. I've since bought another 3 pads from them in the Black Friday sales. These are the only pads I have tried so I can't offer anything else in terms of what it is like using other brands or types of zero waste period products but I may well do a blog post on this. The average woman will use 17,000 tampons or period pads in her lifetime , so going zero waste really will help the planet and also save you money. 

So there are my 10 zero waste changes that I have implemented over the past year. Some of these changes do require a financial investment but do end up saying you money in the long run. There are further changes I am looking to make in 2021 but  for now I am pretty proud of what I have managed so far. What zero waste changes have you implemented in your life? 


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