Zero-Waste Living is a big topic of conversation today, considering how our planet’s resources are rapidly depleting. We spoke to Laure, a Zero-Waste public speaker from Auroville Consulting, and she shared with us her tips on how to work towards Zero-Waste Living.
5 principles of zero waste
- Refuse what you don’t need. e.g: single-use products such as straws or plastic cutlery.
- Reduce what you use because anything we buy could potentially turn into waste one day that goes straight to the landfill
- Reuse what you already have and take care of it. e.g: glass jars, cloth bags for shopping, old cartons.
- Recycle if you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse.
- Rot – which means composting organic matter like kitchen waste (but not animal products)
10 tips to reduce one’s waste:
- 1) Use a reusable drinking bottle and avoid plastic bottles. Most places will give you water for free.
- 2) Use soap/shampoo bars or powders. It’s best to use natural products because everything in the shower ends up in the ocean. Try your best not to pollute water. You can find the ones below here
- 3) Shop package-free by bringing cloth bags or containers with you when going shopping. It’s preferable to make a shopping list before leaving so you take bags and containers accordingly. The bags below can be found here.
- 4) Eat local and seasonal as much as possible since the carbon emissions required to transport imported foods are then reduced and local produce often comes package free
- 5) Even if you can’t see any package-free items in a shop, ask the shopkeeper if it’s possible to get the products you want package-free.
- 6) Prefer recyclable packaging like paper, cardboard, glass, metal, aluminium. Before sending for recycling, reuse these items as much as possible since recycling is not always guaranteed and is very energy consuming.
- 7) For menstruators, use washable cloth pads or a menstrual cup. 1 Plastic pad takes up to 800 years to decompose! You can find reusable menstrual products at EcoFemme.
- 8) Make bioenzyme for cleaning with citrus peels, jaggery and water. The ratio is 3:1:10. Mix it all together in a plastic container. Let it sit for 3 months, opening it everyday (compulsory). If one adds yeast, it’ll be ready in only one month. You should be left with a natural, nearly free, multi purpose cleaner once sieved. Use it for cleaning the kitchen, the floor, the toilet and bathroom, mirrors and windows.
- 9) Compost your fruit and vegetable peels. You can even dig a small pit in your garden, applying a ratio of 1:1 -> 1 part of peel or food scrap and 1 part of brown matter like dried leaves, soil, non printed paper. Make alternate layers.
- 10) Buy second hand clothes or sustainable brands since the fashion industry is the second most polluting industry. Clothes are often dyed with a number of chemicals and huge amounts of water. These chemicals are released into the soil when decomposition occurs. Clothes also often cross the globe (sometimes several times) before getting to you.
Final super tip: Grandparents are zero-waste masters. They all lived before the advent of fast consumerism and the globalization that has resulted in the kind of lives we have today. Ask them for help if needed.
Laure gives talks on sustainable living and zero-waste lifestyle. You can book a talk at firstname.lastname@example.org