Covid-19 has shifted many people to work from home. It is unclear what the new normal will be once a vaccine is developed but it is safe to say many people will continue to work from home.
For those at home, this is a great opportunity to embed more zero waste home practices into your home life.
Start by doing a quick audit of your recycle and trash bins so that you have some data on where to start.
In case you are wondering what you should be looking for in the recycle and trash bin audit:
You want to check to see if you are recycling correctly - are your recyclables clean and empty? are you recycling everything that can be recycled? And check to make sure you are not wish-cycling. Typically 25% of the recycling stream is contamination so do your part (and teach your family). It will go along way towards supporting sustainability.
You want to know what are you throwing away – make a list as that will be the starting point for your action plan. For example, do you have a significant amount of food waste in the bin(usually 35% of a residential stream is food waste)? And then investigate the food - could it have been used or donated, or composted. What type of single use plastic do you have - ziplock bags or packaging? Write down what you see (or take a picture) so you know your waste! You should look both in your recycle and your trash bins because there is also the opportunity to reduce what you put in the recycle bin by shifting to reusables.
Once you have done your audit, you have a roadmap of what to do to incorporate low or zero waste elements into your life. Some easy places to start include:
Eliminating food waste – working hard on shopping the fridge, repurposing food, buying in smaller quantities, donating and sharing with others, and composting whatever does get thrown away.
Reducing takeout containers by ordering less – takeout food is a big source of waste because while the plastic is recyclable it is technically only recyclable a few times. It is best to reduce/eliminate takeout or find restaurants participating in reusable and/or returnable takeout programs. Of course, that is not always possible so make sure to recycle and make sure to eat the food you order in. Refuse the cutlery, napkins, plates and condiments (you may need to write a note to the restaurant to say no disposables- thank you!)
Transitioning to reusables for many of your kitchen and food storage. Instead of ziplocks, use Tupperware, reusable silicon bags, etc. There are many options out there. Instead of saran wrap or foil, use beeswax. Instead of parchment paper, use a silicon mat. It all depends on what you use. Be aware of what you are throwing away every day (either in the recycle or trash bin and ask yourself if there is a reusable option).
Transitioning to package free and plastic free where you can. A simple swap is to switch to bar soaps for shampoo , conditioner and soap instead of plastic bottled hair and body care products. Or you can move from the individually wrapped dishwasher tablets to boxed soap. Shop bulk where possible (this can be done online as well). There are many ways you can embed low or zero waste into your life. The list above are simply a few ideas to get your started. If you are interested in a home consult please get in touch – we recently launched Think Zero Home and work with families to coach them in how to generate less waste and cultivate a zero waste lifestyle.
We work with individuals and families on setting achievable goals and coach them to achieve their goals. Not only will you reduce your waste but you will also potentially save money, have less stuff cluttering up your house and feel great! Drop us a note at email@example.com.