What is Zero Waste Week?
Since 2008, Zero Waste Week has started on the first Monday in September. The idea behind it is to raise awareness of the impact waste has on the environment, and ways in which individuals can to reduce their contribution.
The campaign provides ideas for zero-waste living at home, in businesses and communities, with the goal being to permanently change our ‘throwaway’ culture.
How can I achieve a zero-waste lifestyle?
There are multiple ways to make a difference. Small choices can have a magnified impact. Some examples include:
- Choosing products wrapped in natural materials, instead of plastic.
- Avoiding plastic products entirely, like plastic drinks bottles.
- Encouraging your community by hosting parties for sharing and showcasing waste-reduction ideas.
- Trading unwanted items and clothing.
- Sharing knowledge of how to repair damaged household items.
Choosing cleaning supplies
Ban the bottle
Some ethical cleaning companies have introduced ecologically packaged refills for cleaning products. Purchase a glass spray bottle and nozzle to refill, or use water-soluble refill pouches. They dissolve completely in warm water.
Washing up liquid can be found in solid bar form. Just as effective, it generates minimal waste as it will often be packaged in small cardboard boxes.
Introduce natural cleaning utensils. Coconut scrub pads, compostable natural sponges or wooden cleaning brushes are all easy switches. These often last longer than cheap plastic equivalents, making for better investments.
A set of washable cotton kitchen cloths, in place of kitchen towel, eliminates excess packaging and the waste generated by each used towel. You can also repurpose old clothes as cleaning rags, instead of throwing them away.
Zero-waste bathroom ideas
It used to be difficult to reduce toiletry waste. However, consumer demand has pushed established companies to reduce packaging.
Many choose cleansing bars over bottled liquids, so that less plastic packaging needs to be disposed of.
Shampoo and conditioner sold in bar form can surpass bottled products, both in eco-friendliness and quality. Bar soap tends to be made of more natural, gentle ingredients, which are better for skin and hair, and less damaging to the environment.
Deodorant, moisturiser, and other common beauty products can be sourced plastic-free.
As with cleaning products, switching to wooden beauty utensils, like hairbrushes and nail brushes, makes for a more sustainable bathroom. Even bamboo toothbrushes are a small, easy-to-achieve, zero-waste switch.
Zero-waste kitchen tips
Compost inedible food to reduce waste, whether it’s out-of-date products or unusable peelings and cuttings. Less desirable parts, like stalks and outer leaves, can be boiled for nutritious stock.
Pass on plastic
If completely zero-waste food shopping is unrealistic or difficult, try going zero-plastic. For example, cardboard and paper are more easily recycled and less damaging to the environment, both in terms of processing and disposal.
Dry food stores can also help, as it may be possible to bring your own container to the store for pasta, rice, and grains.
Sourcing fresh produce, if you can’t grow your own, is also easy to do.
Using reusable fabric shopping bags can also help to avoid propagating plastic waste, as you won’t be encouraging stores to manufacture their own or end up contributing to plastic waste when the bag breaks.
Making a start
Plastic products currently in use at home don’t need to be discarded when beginning a zero-waste lifestyle. Use products fully and, after use, find creative ways to reuse the packaging beyond the designer’s original intention.
Once no longer usable, look for ways to safely recycle or dispose of plastic products besides landfill, and replace with natural alternatives.
Reuse unavoidable packaging from purchases. Cardboard boxes can be kept to transport goods or package a gift for a friend. Paper can be used to wrap presents, or as padding in boxes. Every item reused saves the manufacture of an unnecessary item.
Some situations require the convenience and ease of disposable items. Compostable products are a means of maintaining this, while adhering to zero-waste principles. The only waste generated is organic matter, which contributes to healthy soil.
Compostable tableware may seem counterintuitive when compared with reuse of ceramics . However:
- washing up uses resources and cleaning materials which could require packaging
- broken crockery will end up as landfill
- energy used to heat water for washing may not be generated via renewable sources.
FOOGO green’s manufacturing processes do not involve harmful chemicals. Made strong enough to be reused, frozen and microwaved, our tableware caters to a variety of situations and food types , reducing the need for plastic disposable or single-use products entirely.
For more information on our range of eco-friendly and plastic-free tableware, visit our online store .
If you are interested in participating in this year’s Zero Waste Week, the official site contains advice on how to sign up.