Living the Eco Way
Have you ever heard of the 5R's of zero-waste living? They are:
1] REFUSE what you do not need
2] REDUCE what you do need
3] REUSE by using reusables
4] RECYCLE what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse
5] ROT* (compost) the rest
* Urban dwellers without access to composting facilities can try 'REPURPOSE what you can' instead.
Of course, having a list of 'rules' is one thing, living by them quite another. To help you along the road to zero-waste living, in this article we are going to list out some practical ways you can achieve this goal. This is just the tip of the iceberg though, and you can and should use your imagination and circumstances to come up with many more examples. Let's get started!
Ditch anything disposable, such as plastic bottles, cotton pads, single-use plastic bags and paper napkins. Instead, opt for green alternatives and only frequent stores and restaurants that use sustainable products and packaging.
Do you grab a coffee, tea or shake outside your home every day? Bring your own thermos or mug to reduce waste. Or, why not take the extra time to stay in the cafe to drink your beverage from a ceramic cup rather than a wasteful paper one.
Why buy new clothes or items when used ones from a charity store or friend will do just as well. Babies don’t care about fashion or brand labels. They'll outgrow everything within months, so why bother with new.
Refuse the crazy packaging of food. If you’re buying bananas, do they need to be in a plastic bag? At the supermarket, there’s no need to plastic-bag single items of produce: just stick the price sticker (if you need one) on the produce itself.
You know how it goes, you go to a shop to buy something simple and they inevitable wrap it up in tissue, put a sticker on it and place it in a bag along with a coupon. That’s a lot of waste; just say no to unnecessary packaging.
If you received a gift with beautiful packaging why not keep the wrapping paper and ribbons to wrap up a future gift for someone else. Likewise, always carefully open any delivery envelopes or boxes as these can be easily reused again.
What’s new and trendy today is ultimately going to be tomorrow’s waste. Don't fall into the trap of always shopping for the latest 'must-have' fashion items. Instead, opt for quality classics that will last the test of time.
Right now we challenge you to declutter your home and donate what you seriously don’t use (not touched within the past six months) to a local charity, colleagues, friends. The less that’s in your home, the more you think about what matters, and what’s useful.
Instead of buying a TV, iPad, computer, game console, etc. for each member of the family, revive communal living and share one of each. It will bring the family closer together for more shared entertainment experiences!
Real estate agents, politicians, shops and particularly supermarkets all love to send out free publications that no one wants to read. Help save trees and carbon emissions by putting a NO JUNK MAIL sign on your mailbox.
Are you still hanging on to clothing you could wear beautifully ten years ago but now can't even get past your knees? Go through your wardrobe and take out anything unwearable and either donate to charity or rip the fabric up into rags to clean your house with.
Do away with all the daily objects you use that are wasteful and can be easily replaced with a green alternative. Such as paper-wrapped sandwiches, drinking straws, takeaway cups, individual condiments, plastic bags, disposable cutlery and so on.
Are you tired of receiving gifts you’ll never use? Why not start refusing material gifts and instead ask friends and family to donate money to a charity you love instead of spending it on yet another unsuitable item that you’ll either return or rubbish.
You know what they say, ‘one man’s trash is another man’s treasure’. Put your thinking cap on and start up-cycling what could be considered rubbish: tree trunks become side tables, old jars become cocktail shakers, old shoes become planter pots, and so on.
Ensure you have the proper bins for recycling paper, tinfoil and tins, plastic and glass, and call your local council to see how you can recycle furniture, white goods, electronic waste and batteries. This is one of the easiest and most effective green habits you can cultivate.