You’ve got the fundamentals of how to live zero waste down pat. Now it’s time for step two of your zero waste journey.
So you’ve read part one of our zero waste living series. and you’re convinced – living zero waste in the only (sustainable) way forward. You’ve committed to using reusables instead of single use plastic items, you’re composting your food scraps, and you’ve got an impressive collection of glass jars, which you take with you when you do your weekly shopping at the bulk foods store.
At this stage many people either experience zero waste “fatigue” – where the initial momentum of adopting a zero waste lifestyle has worn off and the excitement of zero waste discoveries (olive oil works just as well as a store bought cleanser!) begin to lessen.
Or they look around and realise that there are still so many areas to tackle; they’re just not sure which ones to address first.
We’re here to help! Here are the next steps to take in your zero waste living journey.
Limit or reduce new purchases
Putting a stop to any regular purchases you make, especially clothing and homewares, will obviously reduce the amount of waste you produce. Not only can these items themselves create waste, when they often end up in landfill after only a few wears, but the packaging they require also end up as waste.
Start being discerning about who you buy from if you must purchase something brand new. Research how a brand’s clothing in manufactured. Download the Good On You app, which provides ethical ratings for thousands of popular fashion brands.
When making purchases online, email the company and ask that a minimal amount of packaging be used (although most eco-friendly brands will wrap their wares in biodegradable or compostable packaging already), or if you buy items in-store, hand over your own bag.
Or better yet, buy second-hand!
Swap out your bathroom products with zero waste alternatives
Some people find this area of zero waste living a little tricky. When you’re used to sweet smelling lotions and potions it can take a little time to get used to more natural alternatives.
Swapping out your bottle of liquid body wash and hand soap for a simple bar of soap is one of the simplest and impactful ways of reducing your plastic waste.
You can reduce plastic waste further by making some (or all!) of your own beauty products from scratch, like plastic free deodorant, homemade toothpaste, body scrub, shampoo, shaving soap and gardener’s hand scrub.
Watch this video from our Simple Skills for Self-Sufficiency Series where we show you how to whip up three plastic free beauty products, including body scrub, hair rinse and toothpaste, and check out Issue #15 of Pip Magazine for more plastic free beauty recipes.
In this article we also bring you 15 more ways to go zero waste in the bathroom.
When it comes to makeup, it may take a little trial and error until you find the best replacements.
So as not to waste products, start replacing your existing makeup as it runs out. If you use several products this will also make the job easier, as replacing all of your makeup in one go with zero waste items could seem like too much to tackle.
While it may take some time to find the perfect makeup products for your needs, a good place to start is with a makeup brand that specialises in low/zero waste packaging.
Dirty Hippie Cosmetics’ makeup range includes mascara, eye shadows, eyeliner, primer, loose powder, BB cream, concealer, blush, and cheek and lip tints.
They offer refills when you return their full-sized tin and bottle products, and all product labels are printed in-house using vegetable-based ink and recycled paper.
Give your cleaning regime an eco-friendly makeover
We’ve already talked about why choosing non-toxic products to clean your home is so important for your health and the health of the planet.
There are so many nasties in common everyday household cleaners so eliminating them from your home (via the Detox Your Home program if you live in Victoria, or your local council’s equivalent) will do you a world of good.
It’s also a huge step towards being able to live zero waste as all of those bottles of glass cleaner, floor cleaner and all-purpose spray add up. Most of which will most certainly never be recycled.
You have two options for zero wasting your cleaning regime. You can source eco-friendly cleaning products from a bulk foods store, or you can make your own. Try out our recipes for homemade cleaning products and homemade laundry powder.