Waste Not, Want Not...
Sustainable Overton volunteer Holly talks about her efforts to reduce waste at home.
My fear with a blog post like this, is that it’ll come across as preachy – a “look at me, look at how good I am at being zero waste” blah blah blah and honestly, who wants to read that and who can relate to that? That ISNT what this is. This is just little old me, here are a few things I do– if you don’t want to do the same that’s fine, you might do something different or better or be too busy, need more order in your home or just find it doesn’t suit you. We’re all different, what works for one person won’t work for everyone, but these are the things I do.
Charity shops: my absolute FAVOURITE place to go. Not only can you buy everything you need (and a whole load of stuff you don’t) but they accept your unwanted things to sell or recycling – label bags of clothes if they’re not suitable to sell and they’ll go to ‘rags’. They take batteries for recycling too! Just be mindful that if something is in awful condition and only fit for the bin, that’s probably where it needs to go – charity shops have to pay to have their rubbish collected so don’t dump your waste on them! Oh and they’ll take bubble wrap and carrier bags too and reuse them! St Michael’s Hospice charity shop in Overton is one of the best charity shops ever.
Fixing and mending: I have a huge pile of clothes that I need to repair – no need to replace your favourite jeans, just mend them! Some things like sewing on a button are quick and easy. If you don’t have the skills to fix something, check out our repair café. There are loads of videos on Instagram on mending and repairing textiles.
Glass jars: Great, love a jar. These can be rinsed (get all that curry sauce out) and reused as candle holders, plant pots and storage jars.
Tubes & bottles: I like to get my money’s worth so squeeze every last bit of toothpaste from the tube and add a little water to the shampoo bottle. You can get an extra couple of washes using the tiniest bit of shampoo still in there.
Plastic free swaps: There are loads of simple swaps that reduce packaging, such as buying soap and shampoo bars in cardboard that can easily be recycled or composted. Bamboo toothbrushes, plastic free wipes, refill washing up liquid, CSP or plastic free sanitary products – it’s not all about going without, just finding alternatives, many of which are easily available in supermarkets.
Composting: I hate wasting food, but it happens (especially with fussy kids and poor fridge management). We have cats who eat any unwanted meat, rabbits who eat carrot and strawberry tops, broccoli stalks, cauliflower leaves and anything else that won’t make them poorly. The rest of the uncooked fruit and veg waste (potato peelings, parsnips, and iceberg lettuce) goes in the compost bin. All the straw, hay and cardboard from the rabbit hutches goes into the compost bin too (sorry neighbours). Composting is awesome! So is finding friends with chickens who can eat the corn on the cob I forgot was in the fridge.
Other stuff: there are loads of things that I could throw again but don’t. Little plastic tubs for example make great paint pots when the kids feel like being artistic. Margarine tubs can be used to propagate baby spider plants. Cardboard boxes are good for keeping the rabbits warm in winter and lining the rabbit hutches. Postage bags can be reused for sending out random stuff I decide to sell on ebay. Those annoying charity bags that come through the door twice a week are handy for storage (I don’t trust myself not to accidently throw out something stored in a black bin liner).
Using what you have already is great for the environment and your pocket, but it is a mindset change for most of us. It’s a big step to go full on zero waste and anti-consumerism (and not really achievable either, I suspect) but small changes are all a step in the right direction and they all add up too.
Just reducing your waste a little and reducing what you buy and where you buy it make a difference.
Have we missed anything? What small changes do you do?