We can't expect to save the entire planet in one go, but making small changes to everyday habits can help steer our consumption towards a zero-waste lifestyle, which brings a wealth of benefits to the environment.
As more and more of us make changes to the way we consume everyday products, minimising use of plastic and excess packaging wherever possible has become a priority, especially with the homewares we use every day. With the War on Waste gaining so much traction and Plastic Free July upon us, it's incredible to see so many low-waste, eco-friendly and cost-effective alternatives appearing. While we can't expect to save the entire planet in one go, making small changes can help make a difference to environmental impact and steer our consumption towards a zero-waste lifestyle.
How easy is it to be waste free?
According to the ABC War on Waste, most people who go 'zero-waste' end up doing so after attempting challenges like Plastic Free July! Once we realise how much unnecessary plastic packaging we use and figure out easy ways to get around it, sustainable options become a much clearer choice. For those truly committed to the cause, going zero-waste can also involve thinking about the supply chain of the products we buy, especially those grown or manufactured overseas. In some developing countries, plastic products are still seen as a sign of luxury and prosperity, and transitioning back to biodegradable materials can seem like taking a step backwards. Many ethical brands who source special ingredients overseas work with local communities to reestablish sustainable processes and practices, while supporting growers and providing long-term employment opportunities.
How to start becoming waste free
To get started, simply set some small, achievable goals for yourself or your family, such as limiting household rubbish and recycling to just one box each per week. This might lead to more thinking about which products in particular seem to consistently create waste, especially those packaged solely in plastic. Instead of throwing packaging out altogether, you might even come up with some creative ideas to reuse bits and pieces. Things like cardboard cartons can be repurposed into planter boxes for seedlings and herbs, which makes a fun project for the kids! It's also a great idea to start taking your own shopping bags with you wherever you go to limit the amount of plastic bags circulating around the environment. Minimising plastic and waste as much as possible is more of an achievable goal than saving the entire planet! Here are some easy to change to eco-friendly choices for the home:
Eco-friendly laundry products
That Red House Organic Soapberries
If you're looking for a more sustainable option for washing detergent, That Red House Organic Soapberries make a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative. Certified Organic and Fair Trade approved, every step of their supply chain has been reviewed and changed to reduce environmental impact as much as possible. Grown and dried by local communities in Nepal, the Soapberries are transported via sea rather than air travel to minimise carbon footprint. Freight packaging was also changed to be 100% waste free, with everything from labels to packing tape and wrapping changed to sustainable paper rather than plastic. You can also read more about all the ways to use Soapberries here.
Ethique Flash Solid Laundry Bar & Stain Remover
A multi-purpose laundry soap, the Ethique Flash Solid Laundry Bar & Stain Remover is ideal for spot stain removal and hand-washing. Containing a blend of Coconut Oil, Kaolin Clay, Lavender and Peppermint Oils, this compact bar soap is gentle on skin yet tough on stains, working to lift oil and dirt from clothing and leave them clean and fresh. To use, lightly dampen clothing and rub the bar into the affected area, gently working into a lather. This bar is 100% biodegradable, gluten free, palm oil free and vegan, and is packaged in compostable paper.
Life Basics Stainless Steel Straws
Made from high quality food-grade stainless steel, the Life Basics Stainless Steel Straws are ideal for replacing disposable plastic straws used in cold drinks. Perfect for sipping on smoothies and juices, these lightweight, reusable straws never leach any taste and feature a bent top for easy use. In a set of four which comes with their own cleaning brush, these durable straws can be easily and hygienically cleaned over and over again to save you money and protect the planet by reducing plastic build up in landfill and waterways. They're also fully recyclable, should you ever dispose of them.
Life Basics Eco Friendly Vegan Food Wraps
The Life Basics Eco Friendly Vegan Food Wraps make an ideal alternative to disposable plastic cling wrap which generates a lot of plastic waste. Washable and reusable, these versatile wraps keep food fresh and can be used to cover leftovers, bowls and snacks. You can also use them to create pockets and pouches for storing more delicate food like loose leaf lettuce. Using the warmth of your hands, they can be moulded to create a seal around food and containers. Made from Cotton, Vegetable Wax, Tree Gum and Jojoba & Eucalyptus oils, these eco-friendly wraps can be hand washed in cold water with biodegradable dish soap and hung to dry.
Environmentally friendly bathroom products
No Pong All-Natural Anti-Odourant
Extremely effective and antibacterial, the No Pong All-Natural Anti-Odourant has been formulated to be water-resistant and deodorising thanks to the powerful properties of Bicarb Soda, Coconut Oil and Beeswax. Breathable yet protective, this hardworking deodorant is effective for 12+ hours and has a light, fresh, gender neutral fragrance. Cruelty free and Australian made, this deodorant paste comes in a handy, reusable and fully recyclable steel tin. You can read our interview with the founders of No Pong here.
Life Basics Organic Muslin Facial Cloths
Perfect for replacing disposable facial cleansing wipes, the Life Basics Organic Muslin Facial Cloths are made from soft, breathable, unbleached organic Cotton. Suitable for everyday facial cleansing, these delicate yet durable cloths can be used with your favourite facial cleanser to remove makeup and gently exfoliate the skin, leaving it feeling smooth and refreshed. Light and quick-drying, these cloths make an ideal travel companion and can be hand washed or placed on a warm delicate machine wash. To use, soak in warm water, squeeze out excess and gently wipe over the face in gentle, upward motions. Rinse thoroughly and hang to dry or lay flat.