There are no two ways about it: David Attenborough’s anti-plastic documentary work had a profound effect on the nation’s psyche. Since Blue Planet 2, Sir David’s paternal tones echo in the ears of those who forget to take reusable bags to the supermarket. Sad turtles paddle through the mind with every layer of wasted clingfilm, and even bubble wrap doesn’t pop like it used to.
English households produced 23.6 million tonnes of waste between 2016 and 2017, and it’s hard to see those figures decreasing unless a lot more of us start looking at ways to reduce household waste.
The first and foremost “R” of the three Rs of sustainability, reducing usage is often overlooked. It forms the foundation of any waste reduction strategy, as reducing usage complements reducing waste.
The best way to reduce usage is to think about the main activities in the house, be they eating, washing, and cleaning, and find less wasteful, or even zero-waste, alternatives.
Sustainability in the Supermarket
In an ideal waste-free utopia, we’d all have zero-waste grocery shops on every street corner. In the meantime, there are a few simple waste-reduction tips you can take to the supermarket. Many high street supermarkets are now opting for a market-style loose veg section. While they might offer cellophane bags, bring your own reusable or paper bag to shop for loose veg.
Morrisons recently stated that customers can now bring their own containers to shop for meat and fish from their stores, so that could be another waste-cutting tactic.
Even if you aim to bring reusable bags and containers to the shop, everyone forgets from time to time. One way around this is to use empty boxes they already have at the shop. Most supermarkets have empty cardboard boxes, as their products leave vast containers to be recycled. Store clerks are always happy to lighten the loads and let you take a cardboard box for your shopping. Plastic-free made easy!
Reduce Household Waste Usage in the Kitchen
Correctly storing food in recyclable containers offers a wealth of home-improving opportunities. A simple investment in glass or metal jars with clips and seals keeps food fresh for longer. This reduces plastic usage, from things like ziplocks and clingfilm, while retaining hygiene and keeping your house pest-free.
Preserving food to reduce wastage also cuts down on carbon emission, both from food production and disposal, and saves you money. In this case, less really is more.
Clean, Green Cleaning Products
Kitchens rely on a variety of cleaning products to stay safe and orderly. Whether its washing up liquid, surface cleaners or detergent, these products all come in a variety of plastic bottles. To cut down on usage and protect the planet, visit one of the many new zero-waste shops that allow you to use refillable bottles, or even sturdy glass jars, to keep your home plastic-free.
Hopping on the subscription-model, a host of new companies also offer monthly deliveries of plastic-free laundry pods and dishwasher tablets, straight to your door! This option offers simple ways to cut household waste and household hassle in one fell swoop.
Reduce Waste With a Waste Audit
Knowledge is power, and the knowledge of your regular household waste gives you the power to control it. Sustainability experts call this process of monitoring, recording, and changing your home’s waste a ‘household waste audit’. Simply record what goes in each bin for a week or a month, then find out what you can cut down on, by recycling, composting, or by using ecological alternatives.
Waste reduction isn’t a goal; it’s a process. Celebrate every small victory during the process, and remember that you’re protecting the planet. Reuse, reduce, recycle, relax.
Ways to Reduce Household Waste Summary
It can seem like a daunting task when looking for ways to reduce household waste. However, by making small and achievable changes, you will start to make a difference.
Your first small change might be something as simple as getting your milk delivered in glass bottles by the milkman rather than buying plastic bottles from the supermarket.
Once you’ve made one change, you can then start on the next, and it won’t be long before your lifestyle changes start to add up and begin making a big difference.