10 tips for becoming a Waste Warrior
Written by Ellen Burns, Founder of We Bar None @webarnone
You’ve seen the news, the piles of recycling going to landfill, the photos of sea life choking on plastic and you’ve survived the plastic bag ban. If you breathe air, drink water and eat food, you’ve got a direct and vested interest in looking after the environment!
So how can you join the war on waste and be kinder to our planet?
Here are my top 10 tips for reducing your waste!
1. Look at every piece of rubbish before you throw it in the bin.
What are you throwing away? Are you recycling or composting everything that doesn’t need to go to landfill? Can you donate that to an op shop?
Looking at the waste we are creating is the first and biggest step in changing our mindset and coming up with ways to replace or
reduce what we are using.
2. Set up a waste station in your kitchen, laundry or garage.
Have bins for all the categories of your waste and make sure you are disposing of them in the right place!
The bins that I have in my kitchen are: an urban composter (for food scraps and We Bar None wrappers), compost (paper and cardboard), recycling, soft plastics and landfill.
3. Reuse containers and packaging that you receive.
Take away containers can be washed and reused for your leftovers and meal prep. Jars can be washed and used for storing ingredients in your pantry or making your own preserves.
4. Use what you have.
Don’t throw out your plastic! Don’t feel like you have to go out and buy new glass or metal containers to start your new ‘zero waste’ life.
This goes against everything you’re trying to achieve.
Use up everything that you already have and only replace things when they run out or break.
5. Shop with local small businesses and at Farmers markets.
Grocers and butchers are often happy for you to use your own containers and bags, and usually receive their fresh produce without all the packaging that supermarkets use. Farmers markets are brilliant for finding plastic free produce; there is less packaging used in their transit and storage, you will find bread and soap in brown paper bags rather than plastic and many stalls are happy to reuse their packaging again.
Get in the habit of taking a drink bottle and fold up bags with you everywhere you go. You might also want to invest in a reusable coffee cup, straws, cutlery and lunch containers depending on your schedule. Eating on the run is one of the biggest contributors to the waste crisis we’re experiencing, so cut out the plastic by carrying reusables, meal prep, and making sure you’ve got a We Bar None bar in your bag, car, desk drawer, locker and gym bag at all times!
7. Escape the misconception that zero waste has to be expensive.
You can make a reusable (and totally leak proof!) coffee cup out of a re-purposed jar. Making your own body scrubs and cleaning products is easy and fun. Electric or metal razors work out much cheaper than disposable after a few uses. A lot of zero waste is using and re- purposing what you already have, so it can actually save you a lot of money!
8. Buy bulk and repackage.
Buy the biggest packet possible and re-portion into smaller reusable containers. This will save on unnecessary plastic and can also end up saving you money.
9. Grow your own.
Herbs and salad greens are the biggest waste culprits in the fruit and veggie section. Growing them at home is often incredibly cheap and easy and means no plastic and way less food wastage. When a herb plant costs less than a plastic package of the same herb at a supermarket, you may as well give that green thumb a try!
10. Forgive yourself, and others!
It’s almost impossible to be 100% zero waste at the moment. Maybe one day we will live in a world that has detoxed from plastic, but as it is, it is extremely difficult to cut it out completely.
Be gentle with others that may not be as educated about this issue as you. Leading by example is the most effective way to influence others’ behaviour. As much as I would love to be a completely zero waste business, I often receive items wrapped in plastic or tape. I am required to wear name badges and lanyards at events. I am sometimes required to wear gloves or use other single use items in circumstances that are out of my control. BUT I am doing my best.
I am Victoria’s first business to use 100% certified home compostable packaging on my energy bars. I use packing tape and padding made from plant cellulose, cardboard boxes, and recycled materials where possible. My business cards are made of recycled paper and I print info posters rather than flyers. I am working towards binning the minimum, or ‘binimum’, as I like to call it!
Life is not about perfection, life is about trying our best. I hope these 10 tips inspire you to join the waste revolution! To help you get stocked up with some of my zero waste snacks, I’ve set up a special discount code just for Motivate Me customers.
Just head to www.webarnone.com.au and enter “motivateme20” at the check out for 20% off your first order. (Valid until 01.06.20)