10 Easy Swaps to Reduce Waste

This week is #ZeroWasteWeek which is great for raising awareness, but for me, kind of daunting. I am really trying hard to live a more sustainable, greener life, but not producing any waste is a looooong way off for me. So these are the ways I am already reducing waste, and also a few things I want to start doing. This list is by no means exhaustive – I’m sure there are loads of other swaps I can make to reduce waste, that I need to look into. Hopefully it will give you some easy swaps you can make to reduce waste, too. Swaps I’ve Already Made to Reduce Waste The first five swaps are ones I’ve already made, or am in the process of changing. Some of them are fairly obvious, but hopefully some will make you think! 1. Swap Tea Bags to Tea Leaves to Reduce Waste I don’t think I’m alone in being shocked that tea bags contain tiny particles of plastic. I was horrified, especially as we put them on our compost heap, thinking they are biodegradable. So I have been using a tea pot and strainer, and also a stainless steel tea infuser, which you can buy here for £6.99*, with loose leaf tea. My next step is to find tea leaves in recyclable packaging. The ones I have found so far come in plastic or plasticised foil, which isn’t recyclable. Apart from reducing waste, this tea tastes so much better, so it’s a win/win.  If you want to reduce water waste, you might like to read this post about the free water-saving kit you can get from Anglian Water. 2. Refill Food Cupboard Staples to Reduce Waste I am so happy to see Refill Stores popping up around the country. We have a lovely lady who comes to our town every month, along with surrounding towns. Her business is called My Refill Market, and serves the Milton Keynes area. Check out the My Refill Market Facebook page here to find out where she will be. You just take your containers, and refill them with whatever you need – no packaging required! If can be so hard to reduce our eco footprint, can’t it? There is just so much packaging on everything. So I was super excited to spot this lovely refill pantry in my town today. So exciting that she’s giving us #plasticfree alternatives for our cupboard staples 🙌🏻🙌🏻🙌🏻 Just take your own container or use one of her paper bags if you forget. I don’t need any refills at the moment but I’m sure I will by the time she’s back again. I bought a new bamboo toothbrush for our holiday instead. Checkout my Stories for a mini tour. #myrefillmarket #plasticfreejuly A post shared by Becky | Copywriter & Blogger (@pinkscharming) on Jul 20, 2018 at 3:06am PDT We went to The Refill Store in Truro when we were on holiday in Cornwall over the summer. They sell all sorts of eco-friendly goodies which you can pop into paper bags if you’ve forgotten your containers. If you’re close to St Albans, Hertfordshire, you might like to check out The Refill Pantry. I haven’t been there, but it looks gorgeous too! You can find a great list of zero waste and refill shops shops here, hopefully there’s one near you. 3. Swap Disposable Coffee Cups for a Re-usable Cup to Reduce Waste In my opinion, every coffee or tea drinker needs a re-useable cup. The majority of disposable cups from high street coffee shops cannot be recycled, due to their plastic coating. According to coffee company Percol‘s research, the UK throws away 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups every year, but less than 1% get recycled. (Percol have a petition to #CleanUpCoffee which you can sign here, with the aim of getting coffee shops to use recyclable coffee cups.) Percol, who made the UK’s first fully compostable coffee capsules, kindly sent me this re-useable coffee cup, which I’ll be using for takeaway coffee. I think using a re-useable cup is vital in the fight against the tsunami of disposable cups. I already have a KeepCup, which I use for tea. It’s light and strong*, so you can chuck them in you bag on your way out of the house. I use mine all the time: I make a tea at home and take it to the park, or with me on the school run. It’s also great to take shopping or on day trips, where I ask for my drink in it at takeaways. I’ve washed it in the dishwasher at least 100 times, and it looks as good as new. Did you know? There’s enough plastic in 20 disposable cups (and lids) to make one small KeepCup. So although KeepCups are made from plastic, using a KeepCup will mean less plastic is produced and discarded. You only have to use it 15 times to break even with a disposable cup in terms of the energy manufacture and use. It’s made from single component materials to help recycling at end of life. Using re-usable water bottles is another no-brainer for me. With both these things, the hardest part is actually remembering to take them with you. It’s all about getting into the habit of it, much like most people have with re-useable shopping bags. 4. Swap Plastic Cling Film for Beeswax Wraps to Reduce Waste I am trying to use eco-friendly, re-useable Beeswax Wraps in place of clingfilm where I can. Made from cotton with a beeswax coating, they are flexible and breathable, keeping food fresher for longer. There are no nasties to leech into the food, and the warmth from your hands moulds them to whatever you’re wrapping up. You just wash them in cold water with dish soap and they are ready to use again. You can reactivate them a warm oven and eventually when they wear out you can compost it. I think mine was from Beeswax Wrap Co. but there are lots of online brands selling similar versions*. … Continue reading 10 Easy Swaps to Reduce Waste