3 STEPS TO BECOMING A ZERO-WASTE HOUSEHOLD
There are so many reasons you should live a greener lifestyle - if not for the benefit of the environment, then at least for the benefit of your own pocket. According to GreenCape's Waste Economy: Market Intelligence Report 2017, 65% of the waste (around 38 million tonnes) that South Africa creates is recyclable. That amounts to an estimated R17 billion/year worth of resources that could be redirected into the economy if 100% of these waste streams were recycled.
Yeah, we thought that might capture the interest of those who aren't particularly eco-conscious. But, where does one start? Well, it is important to remember that Rome wasn't built in a day. Becoming a zero-waste household is a process of slowly unlearning old habits and replacing them with new ones. Below are just a few changes you can make to start forming greener habits:
#1 Purchase fewer disposable items
Consider for a moment the content of your waste bin at the end of any given month: in all likelihood, there is a collection of plastic shampoo bottles, various assortments of plastic food containers, and a rainbow of colourful disposable razors and toothbrushes lying at the bottom of the bin. There are so many disposable products we habitually purchase without considering how much unnecessary waste they produce. Purchasing products in bulk can reduce the amount of unnecessary waste created by throwing away smaller bottles/containers more frequently. However, if you are aiming to become a zero-waste household, you want to find items that: (a) have no packaging waste, and (b) can be reused or refilled when its contents has been depleted.
#2 Reuse your waste
There is so much kitchen and garden waste that ends up in landfill that could have been used in your own backyard. Items such as egg boxes, old newspapers, teabags and coffee grounds, as well as egg shells and all of your veggie scraps, can be used to create a great fertilizer mix. To avoid the stench that it can create, make sure you have the proper mix of materials added to the heap. Compost tends to smell pungent only if you have included too much nitrogen-based material (green waste), if there is too much moisture and not enough aeration, or if the pile has not been mixed often enough.
#3 Create homemade solutions
Another way to reduce the amount of waste your household produces is to create homemade solutions in refillable containers for things such as cleaning products. There are so many simple cleaning solutions that you can make in a reusable glass container at home that will save all the waste that would have been created if you had purchased the detergent instead. White vinegar diluted in water, for example, is great for cleaning all sorts of surfaces as its acidity is strong enough to dissolve dirt, soap scum and hard water deposits without marking the surface.
Final Words of Wisdom
Going green is not always the easiest thing to do. Then again, nothing worth doing normally is. It will take a while to get used to these new habits, but the long-term effects will make it entirely worth the effort.