Today we fill our lives with stuff that we really don’t need, in particular, single-use items. Single-use items have a huge impact on the environment. As the name suggests these items are made to be used only once. This means that after a short lifespan, if the item in not suited to or is not recycled properly, it will end its useful live in a landfill or polluting our environment.
We may like the convenience of single-use, but if we were to change our habits, we could reduce the waste we produce. Imagine if we lived in a world of zero waste?
1. Plastic water bottles
If you’re still buying bottled water, then it’s time to kick that habit fast. Petroleum-based plastics take hundreds of years to breakdown which creates not only unsightly litter, it is harmful to the environment. Here’s how you can kick the habit:
- Install a water filter or use a filtering jug.
- Start carrying and using a refillable water bottle.
- Order tap water when at a restaurant.
2. Single-serve coffee pods
Ditch the single-use coffee pod. The increase in popularity of coffee machines which use pods has meant an exponential increase in the number of pods consumed. So where does this waste go? To landfills. Most coffee pods are in fact not recyclable. The ones that are need to be dismantled prior to recycling, which is an inconvenience. So we say stick to brewing coffee yourself. It’s cheaper and produces a lot less waste.
3. Paper coffee cups
Paper coffee cups often live hand-in-hand with the coffee pod. Paper cups are often lined or coated with plastic or wax to prevent liquid from leaking out or soaking through the paper. Consider the number of takeaway coffees you order on the way to work each week, month, year, lifetime…. That’s a lot of paper cups! There really is no excuse not to carry a reusable coffee mug. If you’re ordering takeaway coffee ask that they fill your mug instead of giving you another paper cup which will end its life in a landfill. Reusable coffee mugs are not expensive and if you’re buying your regular coffee fix from an environmentally conscious outlet you may receive a discount – it’s worth asking for one.
4. Disposable knives and forks
Disposable utensils are so unnecessary in every shape, colour and form. You can now buy biodegradable utensils made from wood or CPLA (plant starch) which are fully compostable. If you’re throwing a party we suggest you go this route if you have to use disposable. If there are only a few guests you can wash your regular silverware once they’ve left. Keep a set of cutlery in your desk draw or with you when you’re on the move. Next time you order a takeaway remind them not to give you utensils, tell them you have your own.
5. Plastic bags
There are so many alternatives available. So why don’t we all toss the plastic bag? Use a canvas bag or a reusable bag instead. Keep a stash of reusable bags in your car’s boot or one in your pocket or handbag, making them readily available when you shop. We’re sure the cashier at your local supermarket asks you every time whether you have bags. How does it feel to say Yes?
If everyone could collectively make small changes to their lifestyle our world would begin to look different. The number of alternatives available make zero waste living achievable.