15 ideas to add to your Zero Waste Resolutions for 2022!Wiebke Venter
Are you a New Year’s Resolution kind of person? We love to set goals for things that we’ve been wanting to do but haven’t made time or effort for previously. A new year is always the perfect time to commit to new habits, especially for a healthier and greener way of living.
If you are looking to include some zero waste resolutions in your list this year, here are some ideas that might help to up your zero-waste game for 2022:
1. Audit your toiletry items.
Write down a list of ALL your toiletry items that you currently have and put them into 4 categories: repurchase, find plastic-free alternative, make at home, don´t repurchase. This way you can get a good overview of what you have and what you actually need. Plus, you can make a plan on what you want to replace and look out for better alternatives. Don´t throw away what you don´t use or want to replace. Use up what you have first or give it to someone else. Throwing everything away that you want to replace, defeats the point.
2. Switch to solid solutions.
When you are ready to take action, rather make small adjustments and swaps at first. Make simple bathroom swaps that don´t require a new habit but are rather a “greener” decision. Good alternatives are solid soaps and shampoo bars. They are super easy to implement and so much more eco-friendly and cost-effective than conventional products.
3. Invest in a reusable safety razor.
Plastic, disposable razors come with plastic guards and are wrapped in another layer of plastic. That is so much unnecessary waste. Safety razors are very beautiful and can be a purchase you’ll love for a lifetime. Even though the initial investment is higher, the longer you use it the more cost-effective it gets. Plus, it lowers the burden on the environment. Simply exchange blades every week or so. You may need some practice if it’s your first time using it. However, when you are careful, shaving with a safety razor is just like shaving with a disposable razor. Minus all that plastic waste.
4. Switch to reusable menstrual solutions.
Try reusable menstrual products this year. For every single preference of menstrual solution there is a reusable option that is comfortable and safe. For example, our reusable MoonTime Sanitary Pads come in different sizes according to your flow and even different colours. They are super easy to handle, and they last for a few years with good care. Another option is a menstrual cup. It takes some practice but once you get the hang of it, it is super easy and practical. Read here more about menstrual cups and how to use them as well as advantages and disadvantages. You can also use it together with a Reusable Panty Liner, if that feels safer for you.
5. Set up your grocery shopping kit.
Get yourself some reusable tote bags. They are light and you can kindly decline the plastic bags at the till. Additionally, put in 3-4 cotton or mesh bags for loose fresh produce or nuts. If you have access to a plastic-free grocery shop, you can reuse glass jars from e.g. olives, peanut butter or pesto. Keep everything together and store it close to your entrance door or even in your car, so that you can’t miss it when you leave for grocery shopping. Repack and prepare for the next trip, after every shopping trip.
6. Create a list of meals you can make 100% unpackaged or completely plastic-free.
Meal planning and writing grocery shopping lists is crucial when it comes to avoiding food waste. It is also helpful to plan a plastic-free shopping experience. Because the kitchen can be a really tough place to reduce waste, it´s a good idea to plan ahead and write some favourite meals down that you can make completely plastic-free. Use this list to plan your shopping trip as well as write a shopping list beforehand. Think of what you can buy rather in glass or aluminium (those materials are better recyclable) or growing your own herbs and micro greens. Loose produce – what you can buy with a one-day excursion to your local unpacked shop or at the farmers market. Bulk rice, pasta and dried legumes totally count!
7. Implement a “Meatless Monday” (or Tuesday, or Wednesday… 😉)
Eating less meat and dairies is not only good for our climate, eating more plant-based meals also means less plastic packaging as most of animal products come in single-used plastic. If you buy mostly vegetables, you can make the biggest part of grocery shopping in (farmers) markets and most of them are unpacked and cheaper. When you cut out animal products from your diet every Monday (or Tuesday, or Wednesday….) for this whole year, it will save the equivalent emissions to driving 560 kilometres in a car!
8. Make small, smart decisions.
With a smart way of grocery shopping you can also avoid a lot of food waste. Buy ugly vegetables and fruits like single bananas or weirdly shaped bell peppers. People tend to buy the most beautiful produce and the ugly ones are staying behind and getting disposed of. The small conscious decisions prevent a lot of good food going to waste just because they don´t look like from a catalogue.
9. Unplug from time to time.
Unplug your electronics for one day in the week or early enough to use some natural candles in the evening. Instead of throwing your laundry in the dryer, hang your laundry on the line. A very simple alternative to save energy! Try out these amazing Stainless-Steel Pegs that are not only stylish but also last forever and are completely plastic-free.
10. Be creative when hosting.
When you invite friends, rather serve homemade snacks. Sweets and crisps out of the bag sweeten our evening far too often and are somehow a bit impersonal. Homemade good foods, however, are delicious, personal, a lot healthier and can be plastic-free!
11. Repair or upcycle something that is just lying around but is too good to go.
Repair as many broken items as possible or upcycle an old, unneeded, or broken item this year. Pinterest is an amazing platform for inspiration. Simply type in what you´ve got, add “upcycling” and find endless ideas. You can also cut old t-shirts, pyjama pants or jerseys to use them as dish and wiping cloths or to be used instead of paper towels. For those clothes that are still good but you don´t wear anymore, organise a clothes swap party with your friends or visit a thrift fest for your next shopping tour.
12. Refuse on the go.
In our busy lives, we are not only eating and drinking at home. This makes more space for disposables around meals outside of the home like plastic cutlery, to-go coffee cups or plastic straws. However, for these things there are more eco-friendly alternatives: Refuse the straw when out for a drink. 500 million plastic straws, every day, are used and discarded in the US alone and it takes up to 200 years for a plastic straw to decompose. If you don´t want to do without a straw for your juice, cocktail or long drink, there are a lot of sustainable alternatives. From silicon to bamboo and stainless steel.
Stash your cutlery from home or coconut cutlery for food markets. Always bring reusable coffee cups for a quick stop at your favourite coffee shop. Simply, leave these items in your bag or car to have them with you all the time.
13. Drink tap water.
The eco-friendliest and cheapest way to stay hydrated is drinking tap water. Get yourself a reusable Stainless-Steel Bottle to refill. It’s also the healthiest way of drinking as conventional soft drinks contain a lot of sugar. Bottled water is extremely expensive as well. If tap water is too plain for you, throw some fresh ginger, a slice of lemon or some mint leaves in. When you are on the move you can simply refill your bottle at any nearby restaurant.
14. Give a zero-waste gift to someone you know.
Making a change also means inspiring other people. Why not buy a zero-waste gift for the next birthday of a friend or family member? You could buy your own favourite zero waste item for someone else or choose one of our zero waste gift bundles. The Zero-Waste Starter Kit is the best option to show someone you love and care for them (and the earth!)
15. Contact a company to request plastic-free packaging.
Use your voice this year. Refusing plastic bags at the till in the grocery shop or buying fresh products using your own mesh bag is already a statement. In fact, every purchase decision is a statement. But why not sending an email to request plastic-free packaging to a company you´d like to buy from this year? If we all do that, we´d have some momentum and could actually make many companies aware that customers are interested in no-waste solutions. This can be really valuable.
We wish you a wonderful 2022 and appreciate you for your conscious decisions and every step you take towards a better and greener world!