The planet is dying. There is literally no other way to say it; whether you believe what you read/see on the news or not, we cannot deny that things are getting out of hand and our home is in trouble. We have done this, so now we have to do better. I don’t think it’s fair to put all the responsibility on the average person (don’t get me started on disability discrimination and the plastic straw ban) as for real, lasting change to be achieved there needs to be a complete paradigm shift across the globe! However, we can all take steps to reduce our impact on the earth – and it doesn’t need to cost a fortune. Here are 5 Cheap and Easy Ways to Low Waste Living that we’ve taken on at home.
Paper Free Kitchen.
There are no kitchen rolls in my kitchen! The only paper product we use occasionally is toilet paper – because my cats are idiots who like to poop on the floor now and then. I wish I could tell you my drawers are packed full of colour coordinated, hand stitched cloths but they’re not. Here’s my cloth box to prove it! The cloths we use are inexpensive options bought from places like B&M, Home Bargains and our local market – hard wearing, easy to wash and long lasting. We grabbed a set of four cloth napkins from a charity shop a couple weeks ago for £2 too; in fact they’re probably the fanciest fabrics in the kitchen! Next time you go shopping, instead of spending a couple quid on paper for the bin, why not see how many dishcloths you can get instead?
Most cleaning products come in plastic bottles labelled with unpronounceable chemicals and scary warnings about your health and aquatic life. Not very eco-friendly eh? We have all used them, we probably all have them in the cupboards too. I’m not saying go and throw it all out immediately – instead work through what you have, then wash out and save your spray bottles for making your own products instead! White vinegar is literally cheaper than chips and it’s an incredible cleaning liquid. Lemon juice (yes even the kind you squeeze on your pancakes) is natural and powerful on stains, grease and it shines up stainless steel like a dream. Bicarbonate of soda (yes the one you put in cakes) is a dream cleaning ingredient! For the price of replacing just two of your usual cleaners you can buy enough vinegar, lemons and bicarb to do your whole house. Repeatedly.
Swap To Soap.
This one is easy and so cheap it’s unbelievable. making the change from using plastic bottled shower gel, hand wash and shampoo has reduced our waste massively AND the amount of chemicals in our homes/on our skin/washing down the drains. Bar soap can be easily found in most supermarkets, pound shops and the like. Shampoo bars are more and more readily available and do not need to cost a fortune either – the bar we use costs £4.50 and lasts my husband and I about 3 months. Once you’ve worked through all of your products, replace them with bars instead. Saving money and saving the planet!
Cans Not Bottles.
Aluminium is infinitely recyclable, whereas plastic can only be recycled once. Most drinks come in cans as well as plastic bottles; my son loves sports drinks ad we recently discovered they come in cans too! If you like fizzy drinks and that kind of thing, next time pick up a can instead. The planet (and your body) will thank you for it!
Buy Second Hand.
I’m a bargain hunter, you all know it and I’m proud to say the majority of our furniture, clothes and appliances are second hand! My daughter is a whiz at charity shop trawling, my husband and son have keen eyes that spot amazing deals at the flea market and I am always thinking of ways to make more of hat we have already. I can’t afford to buy new, ethically made clothes and furniture all the time for my family; so instead we try to give things that have been discarded/donated a new lease of life or we make our own. Charity shops are awesome places if you just have a little patience, eBay is full of second hand bargains as is Gumtree and Facebook Marketplace. It’s easier than ever to buy second hand!
I know all of these things can seem a bit simple and obvious; when we were starting on our road to less waste we began by feeling completely overwhelmed and inadequate because we couldn’t afford to buy four sets of bamboo cutlery (yeah I know, daft right). Very few of us have the resources to live an Instagram-able low waste life with all the gadgets and accessories – but we can all find ways to refuse, reduce, reuse, recycle and rot in our own homes right?
Do you have any easy, cheap low waste living hacks for me? I would love to hear what tips and tricks you have come across!