Living a low waste lifestyle is not as difficult, complicated or (insert adjective here) as you may think or have been led to believe. A low waste lifestyle is about simplicity and being mindful about what you are bringing into your life AND how you are removing something from your life.
As per Merriam-Webster, zero waste is “generating little or no waste” which, I would say, also explains low waste and the low waste lifestyle. You may be wondering why I mention Low Waste and not Zero Waste. The term Zero Waste is much too constricting and can make someone feel like they are failing if they do not fit in 100% with the aesthetic and the mason jar full of trash ilk. I think that the more appropriate term would be low waste. Try saying “I follow a low waste sustainable lifestyle”. Doesn’t that sound more attainable? If you are interested, I had previously written about why I am not zero waste which can be found here.
Simple Low Waste Lifestyle Tips
First of all, and this is important, do not just go out and buy what you see on instagram! Take some time to look at your needs. Can you use something you already have at home? Remember that reusing is an important aspect of living a low waste lifestyle.
After you research, analyse and plan comes the execution of your low waste lifestyle. Here is a check list you can follow to make sure you are prepared for your low waste journey.
Low Waste List:
- use reusable produce + grocery bags and make them accesable
- keep a small reusuable shopping bag in your purse
- shop your closet (or that of your friends)
- swap clothes with friends
- buy books second hand or get the digital version
- save your glass jars and use them for storage and taking meals with you
- use natural bristle brushes and wooden kitchen items
- avoid prepackaged produce, grocery items and meals
- refuse plastic and paper straws, cutlery and plates
- take a reusable water bottle with you
- choose lose leaf tea over tea bags
- make your own coffee or bring a coffee mug
- produce your own grocery items, make oat milk or granola instead of buying it
- make your own facial cleansers
- create your own cleaners
- stop using paper towels and invest in clothe towels, same goes with napkins
- bar soap not only looks cute but lasts longer than liquid soap
- if you are menstruating check out menstrual cups or reusable pads
- save vegetable scraps for homemade broth
- create your own compost or find out where you can compost
- visit a farmers market to get local produce
- eat in instead of doing take out or delivery
- bring your own take away container, restaurant portions are usually massive anyway!
- reduce your meat consumption, and no, you don’t have to go vegan
- learn to meal prep and bring lunch to work
- soups are great for this. Make a large batch and freeze portions
- weekly portions of hummus make for a great snack
- make granola bars for your coffee break or snack time
Do you have any random/fun low waste ideas? I like to pick up soap bars from places I visit. How cute is it smelling your vacation long after you return home? The clothe hankies are actually from my grandmother and some of them even have her maiden initials on them.
Another low waste action I like is to save nice ribbons and reuse these when wrapping presents. I like that this is a small action but it diverts something, for the time being, from the trash so why not? All you need to do is roll them up and keep them in a small tin.
Low Waste Story Time:
I had been looking for nice gloves and had seen a pair at a store in Amsterdam but, for some reason, I held off buying them. During my move I discovered I had two sets put aside for me by my grandmother. Lucky me!
Low Waste Lifestyle Items shown below:
- Safety razor: Naked Necessities (originally purchased through Plastic Free Amsterdam)
- Cleansing Pads: ImseVimse (originally purchased through Plastic Free Amsterdam)
- Menstrual Cup: OrganiCup (originally purchased through Plastic Free Amsterdam)
- Clothe bag: received as a give away
- Hankies: from my grandmother some are from the 1940s
- Bar soaps: one is from Cyprus the other came with the razor
Now your turn! What are some easy or personal low waste lifestyle tips that you have? Any tips that are specific to where you live? Your job? Your lifestyle? Please share them below. It is always great to learn from others.