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5 tips for a zero waste home

It's Zero Waste Week — and we could live our lives a little greener. We've got some easy tips for going zero waste at home.

It’s Zero Waste Week — and a good reminder that most of us could do more to protect the environment and live life a little more sustainably. Though going zero waste may sound like a big goal — and perhaps a little daunting — there’s no reason that we all can’t take baby steps towards living a greener life. If you want to embrace a fully zero waste lifestyle, then that’s great. If you just want to make a few changes to live more responsibly, that works too. And Zero Waste Week is a great time to dip your toe in the water and see how you can start to make some small adjustments. They might just add up to a big difference.

So here are five easy tips to get you started for some zero waste living at home. From food storage to learning how to really recycle, there are a lot of shifts that you can make. 

1. Store food smarter

This is straight from the horse’s mouth. A group of Zero Waste Week ambassadors shared their tips for sustainable food storage — and it’s so much more than buying in bulk and storing in glass jars (though that helps).

From devoting a shelf to things expiring soon to storing leftovers without plastic wrap or tin foil, there are plenty of tips. You can even revive vegetables that are looking a little lifeless, so be sure to check it out.

2. Use more solids

Solid is in. Solid shampoo and conditioner is very trendy right now and, of course, there’s using plain old soap rather than body wash. Solids tend to come with far less packaging (or no packaging at all), so you can really save. And because they’re so on-trend, many luxury brands are now selling solid options — so you don’t have to lose out on luxury.

3. Go shopping at home

One easy way to waste less? Use what you have. Zero Waste Week is running a 10-minute challenge where it invites you to go shopping in your own freezer. And many of us could probably go shopping in our own pantries (not to mention that spice shelf).

Challenge yourself one day a week to cook with ingredients you’ve been overlooking — you’ll use them before they go off and save big in the process.

4. Switch out disposables (and stick to it)

You probably have 10 canvas bags stuffed in the back of a cupboard somewhere — but it’s time to actually use them. Cloth bags and reusable water bottles are great, but they only work if they’re replacing disposable options. So if you hate your water bottle and never bring it out, buy one you love. Put those canvas bags by the door so you don’t forget them. Make a few small changes to make living sustainably the obvious choice, rather than a chore.

5. Adopt the 5 Rs

We all know the 3 Rs — reduce, reuse, recycle — but a lot of people in the Zero Waste movement take it a little further. There are 5 Rs that you can keep in mind, that can make a big difference to how you live your life. As Bea Johnson puts it: 

  • Refuse what you do not need.

  • Reduce what you do need (and cannot refuse)

  • Reuse what you consume (and cannot refuse or reduce)

  • Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse

  • Rot (compost) the rest.

A lot of us want to live a greener life, but can be intimidated by the idea of zero waste. So this Zero Waste Week, start small — little changes can make a big difference.