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Zero Waste: Our Top Tips for Starting YOUR Journey

It’s the start of zero waste week 2019 and as proud sponsors, we want to help with your journey towards zero waste by sharing some of the nifty tips and tricks we’ve learnt along the way!

Did you know the UK government suggests that our landfill sites will reach full capacity within the next 7 years ?? Shocking thought isn’t it! Never before has reducing our waste been more critical and as the team here at UKE have already begun their own zero waste journey they are delighted to share some really simple ideas to help you reduce your families waste AND feel the joy of helping the environment ?!

Zero waste zero packaging store

Going zero waste is a relatively new concept for most people who, like us at one point, were never aware of just how much rubbish they were throwing away on a day to day basis. The main objective of going zero waste is pretty self-explanatory: the less waste in your bin, the better for everyone on the planet.

Where to start on your zero waste journey:

First of all, don’t expect to become an eco-warrior overnight. Cutting things out of your life can be difficult so it’s important to take things one step at a time. An easy way to begin is by using up everything you already have at home, like shampoo or frozen goods. This way you will only buy new when you know that you really need it, only then should you consider going to buy more. This is known as “Conserving Before You Consume” which is a great way to start your zero-waste journey. Better still, it costs nothing!

If you’re unsure on which products you are wasting the most of, the solution is simple. Hang a chart above your bin, making a running tally of which items you seem to throw away most frequently. This chart can include anything from plastic packaging to old socks, any products that you carelessly throw into the bin. Some people call this a waste audit and there are templates readily available on the internet should you wish to complete an audit digitally using your phone (and cutting down your paper waste even further!).

Once you are aware of which items you throw away most frequently, set yourself small targets. To either reduce the amount that you consume, or buy new goods in alternative eco-friendly materials. You could even try to find new uses for your leftover packaging.

What you can achieve at home:

Reused jars filled with dry goods

Some eco-friendly materials are super sustainable, but can also be super expensive. Some online stores can really take advantage of your ‘trying to do a good deed’ attitude. So, if you’re looking to gradually become zero waste without breaking the bank, there are still a lot of options available to you. When we started our journey, we found ‘8+ Ways to Go Zero Waste Without Spending Any Money’ from Treading My Own Path an invaluable read.

One of the best tips we can offer is to encourage you to reuse your household items. One of the most versatile items can be found in your kitchen. The humble jam jar can be reused in various ways, some of which include:
• A container for cleaning products such as laundry powder or even beauty products like body lotion. This works especially well if you have access to a bulk buy store, if not you can easily make your own!
• A simple way to package up cookies or other baked goods to give to friends or family as gifts. You could even wrap this in reclaimed fabric to make it look even more charming.
• You can also store dry food in jars instead of buying plastic containers! If you buy in bulk, foods such as rice or pasta can be placed into jars and labelled with a non-toxic marker pen.

Inspired? For further ways  to reduce your waste at home, here are 10 more zero waste blogs that are full of more ideas.

Easy alternatives

If upcycling isn’t your forte, re-selling is also a great option and of course it’s what we do every day! Many of your unwanted bits and bobs can be given to charity or second hand stores, or maybe try selling through eBay or social media sites? Not only will this clear space in your own home, but it will also give others a chance to buy quality goods cheaply and you never know where they might end up! Used Kitchen Exchange customer ambassador and reuse advocate, Linda Barker, looks amazing in her £5 Battersea Car Boot find! Wouldn’t you agree?

All without increasing the demand for more manufacturing!  As for your old clothes, you can easily sell them on as well.

If you’re not wanting to sell your clothes and like the idea of trading them for new to you garments, don’t forget the power of the humble clothes swap. Most villages, towns or cities will host regular swapping events if not physically, but via specified Facebook groups.

We hope these tips and tricks will help you get started on your own zero waste journey. Remember, big changes wont happen overnight. The most successful zero waste advocates are those who make small changes that can be easily sustained in the future.

If you’re looking to further reduce your plastic waste, check out our blog “Some Simple Ways to Reduce Plastic Waste In your Kitchen” for more tips.#

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Treading My Own Path

The Plaid Zebra

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