In these modern times, people seem to opt for convenience over all else when it comes to running their household.
Whether it’s buying single-use plastic or not taking the time to recycle, there are a whole lot of things we do that contribute to waste, merely to save a few seconds.
Can you become a zero-waste house then?
There are simple modifications you can make to reduce your household waste including recycling, buying in bulk, and making your own compost, with a little bit of change at a time being the goal.
Even if you don’t become 100 percent waste-free, you’ll still be making a difference, and over time it will add up to something great.
The average American person produces an average of 4.5lbs of waste a day and if you live with family, you can multiply that by quite a bit.
Over the year this figure adds up, resulting in a devastating blow to the environment, but thankfully there are some simple changes you can make to push yourself towards living in a zero-waste home.
If you’d like to see a graphical breakdown of the zero waste home, we got you covered:
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#1 Set up a Compost
Compost is the nutrient-rich, broken-down remains of things like fruit and vegetable scraps, but it goes further to work with things like newspaper, hair, and even dryer lint.
Take some time to set up a compost bin and implement a system at home that everyone can follow.
You’ll reduce the amount of waste you throw into the trash, will become more aware of what you’re using at home, and will develop your very own fertilizer that fuels the rest of your garden.
#2 Rethink Your Shelves
Most people are guilty of having a lot of clutter around their home, and if you’re trying to reduce waste this is a quick fix you can implement. By creating less shelf space at home, you’ll have less room to store junk and other items you simply don’t need.
Take a look around and note the horizontal spaces that collect dusk and unnecessary things and try to minimize these where you can.
Not only will it stop you from storing junk, but it’ll also reduce the amount of space there is for collecting dust which means less cleaning for you.
#3 Buy in Bulk
Open up your pantry and take a quick look at the foods in there, and more importantly, how they’re packaged.
In this day and age, we live with convenience as our goal and as a result, you’ll likely see plenty of single-use plastic in there. K-cups, packets of chips, cereal bags, and more, all designed to be used once or twice and thrown out.
Buying in bulk reduces this waste significantly, and it also has other benefits.
You’ll be able to save money when you buy larger quantities, use glass jars instead of plastic when you buy direct, and will get a better idea of the foods and ingredients you’re eating when you take more notice of exactly what you’re buying.
When we think about reducing waste we usually rely on the three R’s: reduce, reuse, recycle. However, there’s another important R that we have to implement as well: refuse.
Items like junk mail are a huge waste that can easily be refused, as well as other freebies you’re offered like promotional gear or products you might collect at conventions and fairs.
The less we take them when they’re offered, the lower their demand gets, and the less they end up producing. It also reduces the waste you bring into your home so you’re only using exactly what you need.
Put a “no junk mail” sticker on your letterbox, say no to free samples and products even if you think it’s a good deal, and spend more time at the library reading newspapers and borrowing books.
#5 Grow Your Own Garden
Most of us are guilty of throwing out rotting fruit and vegetables each week from our crisper, as we usually buy far more than we need.
By growing your own basic garden and choosing the seasonal fruits and vegetables that are easy enough to grow for yourself, you’re reducing a lot of waste from your weekly grocery shop.
A simple vegetable garden can house things like carrots, tomatoes, and herbs, so you’re only taking what you need from the patch before you use it.
It’s a very satisfying way to reduce waste, puts your compost to good use, teaches your kids the importance of gardening, and costs a whole lot less money as well.
#6 Reuse Everything
Reuse is one of the key R’s that gets overlooked, but if you’re trying to reduce waste it’s one of the most effective.
Reusing doesn’t just mean using something again before throwing it out, but it means swapping your disposable household products for those that can be reused.
Rather than paper towels, swap to cloth napkins and rags, or instead of throwing out jars, keep them and reuse them for grocery shopping.
You can buy in bulk and fill up jars with items like nuts, olives, cheese, and other deli foods. Any plastic items can be refashioned for something else before they’re then put out for recycling.
#7 Make Your Own Cleaners
One of the biggest plastic waste areas at home comes from our cleaning supplies. Most of us have various bottles, sprays, and non-reusable containers that house all of our cleaning supplies.
Within these vessels, there’s everything from window cleaner to shower grime remover, and the simple fact is they’re just not necessary.
To make a significant dent in your household waste, you can start making your own cleaning supplies. You don’t need a lot of know-how, just a few basic ingredients, including vinegar, baking soda, and bleach.
Buy them in bulk and create a few basic cleaning supplies, which will not only help with waste but give you a good weekly cleaning routine to follow.
#8 Out and About
Even when we’re not at home we’re still producing plenty of waste, and two of the biggest culprits in this area are plastic water bottles and takeaway coffee cups.
On an average day out, you probably use one or the other, and just because you don’t bring the trash home with you, it doesn’t mean you can’t do better.
Try having coffee at home or drinking it in the café or restaurant if you’ve forgotten your refillable coffee cup.
Get into the habit of leaving home with a water bottle at all times, and packing along a cup for your kids to drink out of as well. These two minor changes can save loads of plastic and waste each year, and save you plenty of money as well.
#9 Beauty and Beyond
Men and women use a whole lot of beauty and body care products without even realizing it, and these are some of the biggest waste culprits.
You can purchase most beauty products in bulk by visiting chemists and health food stores so you do away with lots of plastic packaging by bringing your own glass jars and other reusable vessels.
If you want to take it one step further, you could look into creating your own body washes and facial cleansers.
Castile soap is a key ingredient in most household body care products and can be purchase in bulk quantities, so you can have fun experimenting with creating your very own products.
Turning your home into a zero-waste residence is something that takes time, so small and constant changes are the best way to achieve it.
If you’re new to the concept of zero waste, we can help you out, with some answers to commonly asked questions that people have about going green and reducing their output.
Do I Need to Use Bin Liners?
A bin liner protects the bin from wet waste like food scraps, but if you develop a compost system that takes care of these, there’s no need to use one.
When filling your bin, you can wrap any wet items in newspaper before putting them in, and the other dry stuff will be easily emptied when the garbage man collects them each week.
What Can’t You Put in a Compost Bin?
A compost system is a great way to collect household waste but it shouldn’t be used for everything, even if you think it will break down easily.
Avoid putting things like meat, bones, animal fats, fish skin, cheese, milk, and butter, as well as any droppings from meat-eating animals into the compost bin.