USC Eco have decided that with our members having so much knowledge and potential to offer that we would start sharing posts more often! To start us off for 2018 we thought we would share our top tips to living a waste-free lifestyle.
My biggest struggle in transitioning to this lifestyle was the amount of support and advice that was available to me. I needed more knowledge than what was readily available, and yes, while there is plenty of advice out there none of it was appropriate for my university student budget ~ something I am sure you can all understand.
So here we go, my top eight tips for transitioning to a zero-waste/eco friendly life style:
1. Vital to your cause is a reusable straw, saying no to plastic straws is hard enough, however, I found if you can present your own straw before the bartender or waitress gives you yours they will hold off! I personal favour the stainless steel straws.
Cost: $3.00 for one or $11.20 for a pack of four
2. A good set of glass or stainless steel tupperware containers is always a good purchase. Making sure you have a sandwich sized one is even better! If you have a small enough tupperware container always handy in your bag, you won’t be prevented from eating out like so many zero waste people are. This way you can put your scraps or left overs into the container to take home with you; thus minimising your input into an extremely wasteful industry!
Cost: $14.99 for a set of three clip lock glass containers
3. Another essential purchase for your newly found zero waste lifestyle are produce bags! Produce bags are a life savour, if like me, you don’t always have time to go to a market. Having produce bags means you can shop at any grocery store without using the plastic bags they have to hold your loose fruit and vegetables. I personally like to have a set of eight over a set of five so that I can store my loose leaf greens in them.
4. Soapberries are another essential purchase in my books! Cheap, easy and chemical free. The best thing about soapberries is that there is no chemical discharge or leeching onto your clothes during the washing process. You can have safety and satisfaction in knowing you’re wearing fresh clean and chemical free clothes.
Cost: $25.95 for 500g
5. A keep cup coffee cup! The coffee industry across the entire spectrum is (sadly) incredibly detrimental to the environment. I’ll write a blog post about this in the future, but for now, getting that keep cup into your bag is the best decision you will possibly ever make. Coffee cups as most of you may know have a thin plastic lining to prevent heat and liquid from soaking into the cardboard cup, thus making them non-biodegradable. Another reason keep cups are a great investment is, other than the initial out of pocket cost, the savings you score! Who knew being friendly to mother earth could be so beneficial! Most places will take $1 or so off the total price of your coffee or sometimes only charge you for the size below; this is due to the company not needing to cover the costs of the plastic. My personal favourite is a ceramic cup that I acquired from a local crafter
Where: Red Raku
Alternatively: Any other brand that sells keep cups- Joco and the Original keep cup brand are found at most eco stores these days.
6. Get yourself a reusable and preferably metal water bottle people! The best thing about these ‘new wave’ bottles is that they keep your water cold for 24 hours and warm for 12. This comes from experience, i’ve tried and tested it and trust me they work. While yes, investing in one of these bad boys will cost you a small fortune, I can guarantee investment worth your time. Water bubblers are everywhere these days and soon enough you’ll have remade what you spent in money saved on plastic bottles.
Cost: $45 – $110
Where: Earth Bottle
Alternatively: Any other eco conscious store
7. Every girl needs accessories, my accessories lay in a small metal container and are composed of a small fork, spoon and stainless steel chop sticks. Carrying this around with me saves the need to ever ask for a plastic spoon which are just as bad as plastic water bottles. This little kit also means I don’t need to worry about bringing my own food with me because I always have this kit in my bag. I will generally just wash it off with water from my bottle, dry it and put it back in my case for future use. There are tonnes of these available, I choose to have the stainless steel type and a hard case however others I know choose to use bamboo or wooden sets- it’s all personal preference really.
Cost: $3.95 for an individual ‘spork’ through to $30 for a full set
8. If you’re not yet at the stage of making you’re own shampoos or toothpastes then Lush is a store for you! Shampoo bars, toothy tabs, recycled plastic containers… this store is a zero wasters dream! My personal favourites are the shampoo bars inside a 50c tin, the toothy tabs and the exfoliators!
Cost: $5 + There really is no limit to what you can buy in this store
Where: Lush stores world wide
On behalf of USC Eco~ we wish you luck on the start of your zero waste journey!