zero waste shop

Wannabe Zero Waster

So here it is, the full confession, I’m not a zero waster, shocker eh - not really you might say, I mean who actually wastes nothing? Well not me, but a lot of people are making a fantastic stab at it.

Zero waste is all about trying to reduce the amount we consume and with that the amount we throw away, emphasis on the word trying. To be fair, there are many people doing an amazing job at this and they live and breathe this commitment. Me? I’m not at their level yet, but I’m on my own mini mission. I started to come to a realisation over the past few years that I just don’t need as much stuff as I thought I did. This feeling was bubbling for a long time, my disinterest in the constant ‘new’ was growing and with that came gradual changes to my lifestyle, in particular my aversion to food waste. And so, my wannabe zero waste lifestyle began in earnest.

These days I’m always on the lookout for ways that I can cut my food waste and I keep a keen eye on what I see others doing. I’ve gathered quite a few good habits along the way that help me cut my food and packaging waste, so hopefully there’s something here that’ll be useful for you too:

Get started by figuring out what you’re actually wasting - Keep an eye on what food you’re throwing in the bin over a couple of weeks and make a note of what’s in there that could have been eaten if a plan had been in place for using it. Refer to that the next time you’re going shopping to help guide how you’re going to manage the food you buy.  

Portion size matters – This action really helped me get to grips with not cooking too much, especially pasta. Everyone has a different appetite so it’s about finding what’s right for you and sticking to it. It’s fine to cook more than you need as long as you have a plan for the leftovers.

Buy loose if you can – Visit your local street stalls or famer’s market to get just what you need by buying loose, instead of large packets of product that you may not use up. There’s also in some areas the option of zero waste shops but of course that just isn’t an option for everyone. For a start, they’re not as common as supermarkets and there’s often a price difference. To get you started, use websites like Useless to see where there’s a refill shop close to you. Check out their prices and do a comparison to what you can get in the supermarket. You don’t have to do all your shopping there. These shops usually stock refills on lots of things beyond food, like cleaning products.

Share what you don’t need – I often brought leftovers to work to share with colleagues. Now I’m exploring with different apps that mean I can share things that I don’t want.