Are you at the very beginning of your Zero Waste journey? Then you are exactly right here :)
In this post, I'll show you a few simple changes that can already make a big difference, as well as a few tips to help you on your journey.
All beginnings are difficult
It's easy to get confused when you're just starting out. On the Internet you can find many who can fill a whole month or year's worth of rubbish into a jam jar. But don't let that discourage you! Do what your circumstances allow you to do. Not all have access to a bulk store or are somewhat limited by their budget. But that doesn't mean you can't still reduce your waste.
As a tip to start with: look around your household and look for the biggest "waste producers". And make that your first project. It is easier to tackle individual garbage problems than to try to change everything at once.
Use what you already have
Before you run out and buy all those pretty zero waste products, see what you already have that you could reuse or repurpose. It's always better to use up what you've already bought and then, when you really need something new, look for a sustainable alternative.
If you need something for your household or clothing, see if it's not available second-hand somewhere. This not only saves resources but also your wallet.
Zero waste shopping
There are many ways to reduce plastic when shopping. Of course, unpackaged stores are great. If you don't have one nearby, there are still options. Because it makes no sense from an ecological point of view to drive to a far away unpackaged store by car.
See if there is a weekly market or greengrocer near you. This way you support local businesses and eat more seasonally.
But you can also reduce plastic in "normal" shops. Buy the largest pack whenever possible. See if pasta comes in cardboard boxes instead of plastic bags, for example. Shop here as regionally and seasonally as possible. Aluminum cans and jars are preferable to plastic; Although they consume a lot of energy when recycled, they can be reused indefinitely.
Bring your own bags and avoid the "rustling bags". If you forget your shopping bags, simply leave out the bag or take a paper bag, these are often with the mushrooms. I'm now at the point where I'd rather juggle the apples through the store than take a bag :) But to each his/her own.
Preparation is everything
If you are going somewhere, think about what you might be able to bring with you. Do you always get a coffee-to-go in the morning? Then bring your own coffee mug.
For example, I always bring a reusable water bottle. I can simply fill them up again and drink more because I always have them to hand.
If you often eat out, bring your own cutlery and cloth napkin. You don't have to buy any special cutlery either, you certainly have enough at home. If you often get a sandwich from the bakery, take your own sandwich box with you.
An extra cotton bag in your handbag avoids waste even with spontaneous purchases. I always have 1-2 extra pockets in my backpack. They take up space and are very light.
If you often forget to bring your bag with you, place it near the exit so that you always have it within sight and reach.
Zero waste in the bathroom
There are many alternatives in the bathroom. You don't have to do without anything either, there is a low-waste alternative for pretty much everything.
The best known is the bamboo toothbrush. But dental floss, toothpaste and mouthwash are now also available without plastic.
Also look through your bathroom cabinet and ask yourself; What do I absolutely need and what could I leave out? Do I need 3 different body lotions or different shower gels?
A great switch is from liquid soap to solid soap. It not only saves you plastic but is also much more economical. There are now solid shampoos, shower gels, shaving soap and of course hand soap.
And speaking of shaving, do you already know the safety razor? It sounds dangerous, but it's not at all. It's even much gentler on your skin ;)
You can easily remove make-up with reusable cotton pads. Of course, a simple rag will do too. I personally like a slightly softer fabric to remove eye make-up though.
To do this, I simply put some vegetable oil (I prefer coconut oil) on a pad and wipe over the eyes. I can simply wash them in a laundry bag in the machine.
Now another topic for the women:
Instead of tampons, you can use a menstrual cup. This is free of chemicals and is absolutely harmless. In the long run you save a lot of money with it and of course also waste. The first use takes a little getting used to, but once you get the hang of it, it's just practical and you don't want to give it away :)
Avoid waste in the kitchen
Purchasing naturally plays a major role here. But food can also become waste. So try to only buy what you can really use up in time. It is better to freeze vegetables and fruits before they rot.
Try to use vegetables completely. With broccoli, for example, you can not only eat the pretty florets, the stalk is also edible. I cut off the rind a bit (it's a bit tough) and cut the rest into slices and just cook them with the florets.
I don't throw away the leaves of celery. You can simply chop them up and add them to soups, stews or salads.
Make sure you get a compost bucket. This way your rubbish bag will not fill up so quickly and the leftovers can be processed into soil or energy.
If your apartment/house does not have a green container or compost, ask the administration or see if there is an allotment garden in your area.
To store food, you can simply place a plate on top of the bowl instead of plastic wrap, or use a bowl cover. To keep lettuce longer, you can simply moisten it a little and put it over.
For example, you can simply place half a lemon or apple with the cut surface on a plate and put it in the fridge.
You can simply fill other foods into glass or stainless steel containers.
To freeze berries, vegetables and fruits, you can use a reusable silicone bag. But you can also use a glass. For example, you can spread berries on a tray, freeze them, and then pour them into glasses so they don't stick together.
Bread can also be frozen simply wrapped in your cloth.
If you want to store open food in cupboards, use old jam, tomato sauce or nut butter jars. You don't have to buy any special containers.
These are a few simple changes and tips that you can easily implement. But as I said, you don't have to do everything at once. Go step by step. You should have fun with it all :)
And if you accidentally buy something wrapped in plastic or forget to cancel a plastic tube, that's no problem. Don't let that discourage you, mistakes can happen.
Every little scrap of junk you avoid is a success :)