The start of a fresh new year always offers us the chance to pause and reflect on what we are going to do differently during this next spin around the sun. Now, more than ever the health of our planet is needing us to relook at how we live. Our increasing reliance on convenience has meant that household items that were once designed for longevity are now made for single use and a need to stand out in the marketplace has meant that products often come in unneeded packaging.
Choosing to transition to waste-free living doesn’t have to happen all at once. In fact, changes are likely to actually stick if it isn’t. Small changes slowly added to, make the process a whole lot easier and a lot more sustainable. So the next question is, where to start? This four-part series of blog posts is designed to help you navigate the common areas where waste creeps into our homes and lives, together with some simple changes you can make to mitigate this. The series will focus on these four areas:
Changes we can make in the kitchen
Changes we can make around the home
Changes we can make out and about
And changes we can make in the office
So let's get started with our first focus - the kitchen.
In the Kitchen
Package-Free Pantry - When it comes to the dried goods in your pantry, choosing to opt for packaging free is a great way to cut back on waste. Start collecting jars or sourcing air-tight containers from the op shop and then look for stores that offer the option to refill. You can either choose to take your containers to a store to refill, or opt for them to be packed into home compostable brown paper bags (if you have a compost or compost collection bin at home). We have a great selection on Foodprint such as GoodFor, SWOP, FillGood and Nourish & Thrive stores and the fact that they also provide an online ordering option.
Fruit and Vegetables - If you are just starting out on the waste-free journey, choosing to only buy un-packaged fruit and vegetables is a great place to start. Choosing to take your own cloth produce bags or simply popping produce straight in the trolly, can make a big difference when it comes to waste. Farmer's markets are another favourite for waste-free fruits and vegetables and as you are often buying directly from the grower, reduces the carbon footprint of the food you are buying. There are also great produce delivery companies such as Wonky Box that distribute produce that has been rejected by the grower's normal buyers for reasons such as shape, size or minor imperfection. It’s great value and great quality and even better that it’s preventing food waste. Perfectly Imperfect in Auckland also offers a similar service working with Auckland growers. Eating with the seasons is also a great way to eat more sustainably and the Foodprint seasonal eating tiles are a great place to start this.
Cleaning Products - The packaging and plastic when it comes to cleaning products can often be easily overlooked in the interest of hygiene. In saying that there have been a lot of brands opting for tablet, concentrate or refillable options that in making waste-free cleaning that much easier. Ecostore offers their range in concentrate form meaning that you simply need to pop this in an existing spray bottle and add water. This does however still come in a small glass bottle which is always a consideration. With Small offer a similar “just add water” approach however in a tablet version packaged in compostable packaging. Also, another great way to avoid constant packaging is to make your a basic citrus and vinegar spray, see more here. Another cleaning product to consider is dishwashing powder and tablets. Tablets that come in cardboard boxes and aren’t powders or liquids packaged in plastic are a good start. Buying in bulk is also an option for dishwasher powder and Ecostore offer an option for this also. For things like dish detergent and laundry detergent, Eco Store offers refill options in numerous locations. There are also a number of dishwashing bar options now on the market together with soap shakers to house these in. Some brands offering these are Fair + Square & Cali Woods offer solid dishwashing options also.
Disposables wraps and foils - Choose reusable baking sheets instead of baking paper and aluminium foil. These reusable silicon baking mats from Cali Woods are a great alternative. Instead of cling wrap look to use bee’s wax wraps that can be washed and reused over and over. Honey Wrap has a lovely selection which come in various size.
Cloths & Scrubbers - Cloths that can go in your home compost at the end of their life, is a swap you can make easily. Good Change offers a range of these. They also offer reusable bamboo towels that can be used instead of paper towels. Dish brushes and scrubbers are another element to consider. Opt for options that are made from natural materials and once no longer usable, will break down efficiently and not leave any toxicity or micoplastics behind.
The transition to waste-free living can take time so we always suggest starting small. Small changes added over time result in a big impact. The key is to start and start today.
Until next time!
The team at Foodprint