What is Low waste?
Low waste is the process of reducing the amount of rubbish, textiles, food, and materials we send to landfill, and making sure we reuse as much as we can. Low waste as a lifestyle has been around for years but was commonly referred to as something ‘hippies’ did.
It has since been something a lot of people have been eager to embrace, after Blue Planet II aired an episode in 2017 which showed the amount of plastic in our oceans and how it, is affecting our marine life.
Why Low Waste?
The average UK household produces more than a tonne of waste each year! In total, this equals to the whole country producing 31 Million tonnes per year. As a result, each year over 1 million marine animals are killed due to plastic debris. That’s animals like turtles, otters and sea lions. There may come a time when our children will have t learn about these animals, from books and guess what they looked like.
Imagine if we could reduce the amount of waste we throw away, as a country to just 1 million tonnes. Although this may still be seen as a lot of waste, as a country we would be able to save so many marine animals, let alone animals that live on the land. (Hedgehogs, birds, foxes, etc)
How does landfill work?
Landfill is a carefully designed pit where waste is buried, ensuring it doesn’t make contact with groundwater and it doesn’t make contact with the air. By stopping contact with the air it stops anything from decomposing.
How does plastic end up in the oceans?
There are two main ways that plastic, makes it way into our oceans;
- Litter – Litter people have thrown onto the ground blows, around makes its way into our streams, lakes, and rivers.
- Flushed – It’s amazing how much waste we wouldn’t think about actually ends up in the oceans is from flushing it down the drains. There are fibers from clothes, pieces of plastic from toothpaste. Then there are obviously the things that people intentionally flush down the toilet, baby wipes, condoms, and nappies.
How to live a zero lifestyle?
Living a zero-waste lifestyle isn’t something you can do overnight! It’s about making small changes and then working towards making the bigger ones eventually.
The smaller changes you can make are;
- Using canvas bags – The charge on carrier bags has helped this tremendously! Plus once they can be used anymore they can be composted or recycled.
- Buying loose produce – We can buy fruit and vegetables lose. By buying them lose the unnecessary use of single-purpose plastics is reduced!
- NOT USING STRAWS!- You don’t need straws in your drinks! If you do like to have a straw with your drinks you can get sets online that are reusable, for a little as £3.
- Use reusable menstrual products – There are products such as menstrual cups, period pants, and reusable sanitary towels. These products are made to last for a long time. Menstrual cups can be used for up to 10 years before they need to be disposed of. Period pants and sanitary towels can ben washed and reused many times! Another added factor is that not only is it good for the environment but it also saves you money.
- Not using plastic cutlery – This another single-use plastic that really isn’t needed. If you believe that you may need to use plastic cutlery then, take a set from home or keep a set in your bag.
- Not using takeaway drinks cups – Even cardboard takeaway drinks cups have plastic in them! Some places like Costa and Starbucks will give you money off your drink if you take your own cup!
- Look at what your clothes are made of – Clothes made from cotton are a lot more sustainable then clothes that have polyester and nylon. Polyester and nylon are man-made materials. These materials not only use a lot of resources to produce them but when washing they also release plastic fibres into the water. This then causes pollution in the water.
- Sell your clothes and buy new ones-second hand – This is a brilliant way to trade in your old clothes and get new ones without contributing to fast fashion. You can sell and buy clothes on Facebook, use apps like Shpock or Depop.
- Use an eco-friendly web browser. I use Ecosia every search you make go towards planting more trees!
- Check where your products are coming from – Although buying products low waste is amazing shipping is also an issue. If you live in the UK but you’re having items shipped from China, the air miles will contribute to your carbon footprint.
The bigger steps you can make are;
- Composting – Putting any of your food waste into composting means it can be given back to the environment after.
- Buying your staple food in bulk – By staple foods I mean pasta, rice, flour, spices, etc. There are shops you can go to buy these things and there are also online stores that you can order and have them delivered to your home!
- Buying furniture& clothes secondhand
- Going paper-free – I know that this is something more and more companies are doing now, which I LOVE! But I also am aware that it’s not 100% achievable!
- Get food waste collected – A few county and city councils are now beginning to add food waste collection alongside normal waste!
- Contact your local MP- If there are things in place that you feel need changing then write a letter to your local MP and get the ball rolling. Take action!!
As you can tell this is something I have become very passionate about over the past year! If you would like to see more posts on going plastic-free or zero waste then please let me know in the comments down below!
If you like this post then why don’t you check out some of my other posts!: