10 Easy Ways to Waste Less

living a zero waste lifestyleThe #zerowaste hashtag has been popping up all over the place recently. Vowing to throw nothing away at all is pretty daunting. But there are plenty of ways you can cut down on rubbish, and save money in the process.





Only buy the food you need

A weekly meal plan can really help to cut down on the amount of food that gets wasted. Use your meal plan to write your shopping list. And then stick to your shopping list! (Easier said than done we know.) Multi-packs and special offers might seem like better value, but if you’re throwing half of it away, they’re really not.  Why not have a use-it-up-day once a week, where you make a big pasta dish, stew, omelette or curry with any leftovers?



Invest in smart technology

How often do you pop into the shop on your way home from work, and then struggle to remember what you need? Apparently there are some very clever fridges that will take a photo of the inside of your fridge and send it to your smart phone. So you can see exactly what food you have, and hopefully never run out of milk again! Alternatively, you could take a photo of the fridge before you leave the house, but adding one extra step to the morning routine is beyond most of us here at Big Green Smile.



Keep fruit and veg fresher for longer

There are lots of tricks and tips to make sure your veggies last till you need them. Fruit produces ethylene, which makes other fruit ripen. Handy if you want to eat that still-hard avocado, not so handy if you want your bunch of bananas to last for a week. So try to separate fruit out as much as possible.  And pop a sheet of FreshPaper or an Eco Egg Fresher For Longer Disc into your salad drawer or fruit bowl. It’ll keep your food fresher for far longer. That means less food waste, and less trips to the shop. 



Stop bread from going stale as quickly

If you know you’re not going to get through a whole loaf of bread before it goes stale, just freeze half of it. Take a few slices out the night before to defrost, or toast from frozen. Alternatively, try the FreshPaper sheets for bread. Just pop a sheet in your breadbin and it’ll keep your bread fresher for up to four times as long. It works great for everything from muffins and bagels, to your trusty sliced loaf. 



Ditch the paper towels

Paper towels are really handy, especially if you have kids, or are a bit accident prone. But they cause an awful lot of waste. Eco Egg Bamboo Towels are strong and super-absorbent. They can absorb up to 10 times as much liquid as a paper towel! And best of all, they’re washable. Each sheet can be washed and reused around 85 times, and there are 200 sheets in each packet. That’s 1,700 spills worth. And you’ll save a lot of space in your cupboards.



Go for multipurpose

If space is an issue, multitasking products can be very handy …


Swap your sanitary products

Tampons and sanitary pads are responsible for a heck of a lot of waste. A woman can get through around 11,000 in her lifetime, and they can take centuries to degrade. Manufacturing them uses a lot of raw materials and energy, and they’re often full of chemicals. Swapping to a reusable alternative is better for the planet and your pocket. And many women find them far comfier.

Some people do feel a bit squeamish at the thought of washing a reusable pad or cup, but it really isn’t that bad, certainly no worse than wrapping one up to sit in your bin for days on end. There are some great washable sanitary pads out there, or try the Mooncup, which is made from medical-grade silicon. It can take a little while to get used to, but you may well find you end up preferring it. It’s ideal for women with heavier periods, and some women find that it reduces period pain. 

Forget fast fashion

Around 1.76 million tonnes of raw materials are used to make new clothes for the UK each year. And around 350,000 tonnes of clothing ends up in landfill. There are lots of ways you can play a part in getting those numbers down, including:

  • Only buying what you need.
  • Buying second-hand when you can.
  • Passing on clothes you don’t need to someone else, through a charity shop or clothes swapping party.
  • Recycling clothes that are no longer wearable (many councils collect them with the rest of your recycling).

Try a reusable laundry detergent

Ecoballs are one of our most popular products. They can be used again and again and again, so save you a fortune in detergent costs. Just pop one or two balls in the drum of your machine, and you’re good to go. They cost from around 3 pence a wash, are suitable for sensitive skin and work about as well as a non-bio detergent. One of our team members even swears by them for getting the stains out of muddy dog towels! You’ll also get less of a build-up of gunk in your detergent drawer and inside the machine.


Buy in bulk

Two small bottles use more plastic than one large one. So try to buy a larger bottle, and then just use it to refill a smaller one. As well as plastic, you’ll save on transport emissions. It’s normally cheaper too, and you’re less likely to run out. So it’s a win-win all round.  Many of our products come in refill sizes, including:

  • Faith in Nature, who sell everything from shampoo and shower gel, to multi-surface cleaner in 5 litre bottles. You can also buy a pump dispenser to fit the bottle.
  • Ecover offer a whopping 15 litre ‘bag in a box’ of many of their most popular products. The 15 litre Ecover Non-Bio Laundry Liquid will last up to 210 washes, so could keep you going for a year or more. If that’s a bit too big for your cupboard, try a 5 litre bottle.
Also, why not have a quick read of our guide to composting or how to recycle as you clean article, which also give you ideas on living a waste free lifestyle.