Reducing plastic is so topical right now, however being a conscious consumer is about so much more than that! The conversations should really be around the effect we are having on the environment and reducing our overall waste. As a consumer you help dictate the world you want to live in, with the decisions you make when purchasing anything.
Single use plastic is horrible yes, it gets such a bad rep because of the sheer volume of plastic we use. Annually the world produces 300 million tonnes of plastic, and 50% of that will only be used once. We know plastic won’t decompose, but how do all of the other things we throw away fair in landfill? Landfill creates sealed environments where decomposing bacteria can’t survive. With the recent changes in regulations it is becoming easier to eliminate single use plastic such as shopping bags but there is so much more we can do.
Since living in a Tiny House (1.5 years now) I have become way more conscious of what I consume, because you have too. My partner and I gave a bunch of stuff away, sold some stuff and put some in storage (which we have since sold) as we transitioned into our Tiny House. With anything we purchase now you really have to consider where it will live. We don’t have copious amounts of space / cupboards to put stuff in.
Here is a list of 9 alternatives to live a more waste free life
1) No more gladwrap / plastic zip lock bags
I wrap our sandwiches / wraps in beeswax wraps. There are so many places to buy these locally, our you can make your own. They are super easy to clean, in warm soapy water. If the wax begins to crack from overuse you can place the beeswax wrap between two sheets of baking paper and iron. This will redistribute the wax and they will be like new!
Any salads or leftover food are kept in reusable containers in the fridge.
2) Shampoo / Conditioner Bottles
You can get epic Shampoo / Conditioner bars that look much like a soap bar and are so much better for the environment. You can pick these up at local markets, or check out Ethique - who for the month of July have a buy 2 get 1 free sale on!
3) Paper Towels - use cloths
Why use a paper towel when a cloth is reusable? The process it takes to manufacture a paper towel for a single use is considerable, all when you could use a cloth over and over?
4) Shop at second chance stores
It’s your friend’s wedding, you feel like you should make an effort but you are the kind of girl that lives in denim shorts. Your go to dress you wear to all weddings, funerals, job interviews! Or is that just me? RecentlyI recently picked up an epic dress (turns out it’s by some French Designer) for like $20 at second chance store. It doesn’t even look like it has been worn! Don’t have charity shops near? Raid your buddies wardrobe, it will be brand new to you, and actually, whoever notices that you have worn the same dress to every wedding anyway?
5) Invest in quality Winter Clothes
Remember Polyester is plastic. That super fashionable coat won’t keep you warm and it will also likely end up in our forever growing pile of landfill. Natural fibres are way superior, like Merino. It wicks away moisture, is antibacterial, when layered they trap heat and minimises smell! Which means warmer, less smelly? Win win right? Yes they cost more, but it will also last a lot longer! Also before buying new check out charity shops, or Trademe, Facebook Market Place etc. You can pick up basically brand new items for a fraction of the instore price.
6) Buy Bamboo Tooth brushes
When it has done its job brushing all of the teeth, pull out the remaining brissel, dig a hole in the garden and bury it. Job done!
7) Get some Chickens
Anyone who knows me will laugh at this. I have a mad fear of birds, some people hate spiders, I am terrified of birds. BUT they are the ultimate recyclers, any leftover food scraps is like Christmas to these guys. They are frothing on their dinner while brewing up some eggs for your breakfast. Sounds like an epic trade to me!
8) Take photos not things home from your travels
I am all about experiences not things. When I travel I want to try all of the delicious food, see the epic landscapes and meet cool humans. I am not one to collect souvenirs for the sake of it, for a few reasons.
1) Because I live in a Tiny House and have no where for it to live
2) Because so many of the cheap, tacky souvenirs you see for sale aren’t even made in the place you visited. Instead I tend to hunt out local markets where you actually get to meet the maker, or take photos and get your memories that way.
9) Make your own Muesli
It is soo much tastier and way better for you. I tend to toast rolled oats in honey (from our bees at my parent's farm), then add any seeds, nuts, dried fruit etc I want. I tend to buy these from bulk bins such as Bin Inn.
Making your own muesli bars is just as easy and just as delicious!