Zero waste is more than a trend -- it’s a lifestyle that’s growing more and more as concern for global warming increases. According to Bea Johnson, a leading figure in this field, there are five rules in the zero waste lifestyle, characterized by The 5 Rs. The five rules are the following:
It may seem difficult and time-consuming, but in reality, it all comes down to a few strategic lifestyle changes. Here is the ultimate guide to living a waste free day-to-day routine.
Zero waste kitchen
As Bea Johnson mentions in many of her interviews, zero waste is just a question of changing habits. In terms of your kitchen, it simply requires some small and simple adjustments.
Firstly, change the way you shop. Some shops offer counters where you can bring your own glass containers or cloth bags to buy pasta, dry fruits or beans. This method allows you to help yourself to the amount of product you need all the while reducing your plastic usage. Finding these kinds of stores near you can be tricky sometimes, which is why we're directing you to a website that allows you to search for all bulk stores available by city Map of stores.
Another easy way to make a difference is to store your groceries differently. There are a multitude of ways to do so without needing plastics. You can use mason jars and clothes bags to store some of your dry products such as pasta, flour, and beans. You can also use bee wrap, which is organic cotton infused with beeswax, to protect your vegetables.
Give some thought to how you wash your dishes. Authentic Marseille soap is a natural product, doesn’t contain any chemicals and is biodegradable. You can use a bar of this soap to clean your dishes, and fashion your old and non-recyclable clothes into cleaning rags.
As for cleaning your oven, it is easy to create your own natural and zero waste cleaning product. To learn more, click here to read our blog article about the best approach to cleaning your oven.
The composting process
Even if it is not the most glamourous of tasks, zero waste also means taking care of that which cannot be avoided: Food waste (vegetable peels, etc.). According to Arc-info, as of 2019, Switzerland is third in the list of countries that generate the most waste in Europe.
A bit of math: To contextualize: Each person living in Switzerland generates an average of 700kg of waste per year. This represents 280 standard bin bags (35L), at a cost of CHF 560 per year for a family of four. However, 30% of the waste thrown in with general waste bins is actually biological waste. In theory, then, you could save CHF 170 per year by sorting them more efficiently.
There are specific bins for biological waste, but with the help of a composteur. you can also make your own compost at home. They come in all shapes and sizes to fit your needs, whether it be for your balcony or your garden, and for all budgets (from as low as CHF 14.- all the way to CHF 200.-). If you have a green thumb, composting will allow you to create your own fertilizer for a small garden.
You can also store your biological waste in a paper bag in your freezer. This method keeps unwanted odours at bay.
Zero Waste at work / on the go
There are also a couple of substitutes that can be made to pursue a zero waste lifestyle at work.
The most impactful of which is changing the way you stay hydrated by swapping out your usual plastic bottle of water with a reusable water container such as a Grayl bottle, which is stylish as well as a water purifier.
For coffee lovers and tea addicts, you can bring your own mug instead of using disposable cups. It might be as little as one cup a day but will make a difference in the long-run.
If you like drinking your beverages with a straw, consider using bamboo or stainless-steel straws instead of plastic ones. These new types of straws are reusable, convenient and hygienic.
In addition, you can bring your own food to work in stainless steel lunchboxes. By doing so, you can steer clear of the plastic waste that comes with buying food on-the-go as well as save yourself plenty of money over time. It’s cost-effective, healthy and sustainable!
To top it off, you can bring all this to work in a cotton tote bag. There are a wide variety of sizes, patterns, and colors. You can find them in stores or on the Internet as well as on etsy, which sells bags with unique and original designs!
Living waste-free may seem difficult but don't panic! If you’re willing, start small and work your way up. Good luck!
If you also have your own little zero waste tips, don't hesitate to share them with us in the comments.