Living waste free may sound like a huge challenge, but it’s actually a lot easier than you think! With some small changes to your lifestyle, you can significantly reduce waste. It won’t happen overnight, but small changes do make a big difference.
Here’s some tips for going waste free that you can start implementing today.
- Plan your meals
The no.1 common complaint we hear about food waste are not being able to have time to cook every night, or forgetting about ingredients in the fridge. Set aside time for meal planning so you only buy the food that you genuinely need. This will help to reduce food waste and has the added bonus of saving you money. Plus, you’ll probably make much healthier choices. You can download a meal planner on your phone or simply set up a spreadsheet and plan your meals on the weekend. If you need some ideas, we’ve got some great recipes for you to try out!
- Make the most of your food
Don’t throw away the your broccoli stalks, potato peelings and carrot tops! Every year Kiwis send a whopping 122,547 tonnes of food waste to landfill*. Some products such as canned foods don’t require best before dates, do last a long time if stored and sealed appropriately*. Before you throw away off cuts of your food, think – is this edible?
3. Start composting
A compost bin is a place to throw away things like fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, and coffee grounds. In the right environment, these items will break down and turn into compost (refer to this beginner’s guide to composting if you’re a newbie). You can get a compost bin from your local DIY or garden store.
4. Choose compostable packaging
Keep an eye out for sustainable packaging like our nifty home compostable packaging on our classic muesli range. We’re actively looking for sustainable alternatives for all of our products and hope to transition more products to more environmentally friendlier options. If you don’t have a bench top compost bin, you can use your finished muesli bag instead.
5.Build a waste-free kit
A waste-free kit includes items like reusable shopping bags, drink bottles, coffee cups, and food containers. Keep a kit in your car, at your workplace, and at home so you’re never stuck without an alternative to single-use plastics.
Another good place to keep your reusable gear is on a shelf by your front door, like this genius storage solution by environmentalist blogger Emily Ehlers. That way you can grab what you need every time you leave the house.
6. Recycle soft plastics
Did you know you can recycle things like pasta packets, confectionery wraps, and cereal box liners? These are called soft plastics (see here for a full list). You can’t place soft plastics in your home recycling bin for curbside collection but you can drop them in the Love NZ Soft Plastic Recycling Bins at participating stores around New Zealand.
7. Embrace upcycling
Upcycling is when you transform unwanted products or broken items into something new and useful. For example, check out how Sarah Tanner has reused our olive jar for her flowers. Or those outdated dining room chairs in the garage might look amazing with a fresh coat of paint. Get creative and turn trash into treasure.
8. Shop second hand
Make it a rule to explore second-hand options first and for buying new to be a last resort. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find in op shops. Online marketplaces like TradeMe are also fantastic. Why buy brand new when there are so many perfectly usable products already in existence?
9. Use only what you need
Living waste free is an opportunity to be mindful about every product you use. How often do you use far more than you need? For example, do you take care to only use a pea-sized amount of toothpaste? Do you pay attention to how much shampoo you squeeze out of the bottle? By using only what you truly need, you’ll reduce the frequency that you’re recycling or throwing out items and all your products will last much longer.