What is Zero Waste?
The simple answer: The aim is to send nothing to a landfill. Refuse what you don’t want, reduce what you need, reuse as much as you can, send as little as possible to be recycled, and compost whatever you can’t.
The less simple answer: It’s really about redefining the system. We currently live in a linear economy where we take resources from the earth and then dump them in a giant hole in the ground. The goal of zero waste is to move to a circular economy where we write rubbish out of existence. The circular economy mimics nature in that there is no rubbish in nature.
Instead of discarding resources, we should be aiming to create a system where all resources can be resumed fully back into the system.
Zero Waste 5 Rs
A great way to think about how to reduce waste is to remember the 5 Rs
Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to food wrapped in plastic, say no to that plastic straw.
Reduce – Think before you buy. If you switch to homemade natural cleaning products you only need some White Distilled Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda to cover most jobs link
Reuse – If things break, repair them or have them repaired. Upcycle items you would otherwise throw away, paint that old chair and give it a new lease of life. Buy second hand.
Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recycleable rubbish in the recycling bin.
Rot – Compost your food waste and use it to fertilise your plants and many grow a few veggies or salad leaves of your own.
5 of my favourite Zero Waste Online Shops
Obviously if you can cut down the number of things you buy, reuse what you have or make your own that’s great. But sometimes you just need to buy a few things to help you get started. There aren’t many places on the High Street that you can buy Zero Waste products yet but there are plenty online.
Here are five of may favourite online shops that are based in the UK so that anything I buy doesn’t have to be shipped thousands of miles to me.
Conscious Fibres – The Etsy shop is run by Victoria Whelan who lives in Derbyshire UK.
I love her reusable Make-Up wipes made from organic cotton and the Produce bags which are made with unbleached cotton.
Buzzcloths are Hand-made in the UK from all-natural organic cotton, beeswax and jojoba oil, Buzzcloth is a reusable, washable, scrunchable beeswax wrap that seals around food with a quick hand-hug.
They are brilliant. I was a bit sceptical before I used them but once I had tried them once I was totally converted.
Anything But Plastic
Anything But Plastic is my go to shop as it stocks so many different and useful products from soap to lunch boxes. It’s also the only place I have managed to find plastic free toothpaste with fluoride, Denttabs.
I also really love their Ethos and the fact that they have developing a rating system for their products:
I may be selling anything but plastic, but that doesn’t mean that all other materials are ‘good’ e.g. sustainable and environmentally friendly. I am developing a ratings system for the different materials used here instead of plastic. Each product will be given a rating based on the materials it is made of. This is so that consumers can make a fully informed choice about their purchases. This system will help guide buyers as to the origins of their purchases and the impact their buying choices make on the planet.
wILD AND SAGE
Wild and Sage are a small family company who hand craft cold processed soaps and balms from natural ingredients.
They smell absolutely divine and as well as being wonderful for your skin they have the added advantage of making your house smell gorgeous.
You buy from their online shop, but they also have a list of stockists on their website and they also sell though various markets, a useful market calendar can be found on the site with dates and places.
I’m a bit of a soap fanatic so another of my favourite shops is Primal Suds. Again, I love their ethos as well as their products.
This is what they have to say:
We’ve taken soap making back in time, hence our name Primal Suds.
We use Mother Nature as the back bone including clays, charcoals and essential oils. We also use the historic hot process method using activated charcoal not only for its health benefits but as nod to our ancestry soap makers mixing fats with fire ash to develop the first soaps known to man, these happened to be free of unearthly additives as well… just like all Primal Suds products.
Do you have any favourite shops that you buy from to help you with your Zero Waste Journey?