Is one of your New Year resolutions reducing your waste, but you don't know where to start?
Here are some easy ideas:-
Firstly, don't go throwing all your plastic out now! If it's still usable, then use it. If it's usable for something other than its original purpose, recreate it. There's no point chucking it all out now and mass-filling the landfill with usable product. You may decide you make your own homemade products, like detergents, washing liquids or know someone who does, who may like your old containers and bottles. Take reusable containers to bulk bin shops to refill your products.
Try not to get overwhelmed by thinking that you have to go zerowaste straight away. If you can do it, good on you well done. But if not its ok.
Start small think big. It's great to see the Government listening to us and coming on board with the ban on single-use plastic. Yes its only at the checkout but it's a start.
Don't get sucked into buying supermarket 'emergency' plastic bags. These are thicker than the single use bags and worse for the environment if not reused many many times.
If you are not sure on what bag type to buy check out my video on our Facebook page here:-
Supermarkets, hmm where do we start?
So firstly almost all should not be using single-use plastic bags now, so don't forget to bring your own. In our online shop we have a great range of grocery bags, shopping tote bags and produce bags. Along with many other items.
A new product is our Handy Dandy Bag Clip I keep mine hooked onto my bags so it doesn't get lost and I don't forget it. It clips easily anywhere onto the trolley. I don't clip it onto the handle as you end up kicking it.
Now that you have remembered your bags and you're shopping, the first section is usually the produce & bakery area. Try to look for produce that is not packed in anything, especially plastic. Use your produce bags (we have some in our online store, you can purchase them in packs or single). Our produce bags are extremely lightweight. Some supermarkets usually allow a tare weight of 20gm some of ours are 10gm, so no need for emptying them out at the checkout.
I'm really disappointed that although they have made the effort to remove single-use plastic at the checkouts (most obvious place) that in other areas they have failed! Single use plastic in the produce department on rolls, same with in the bakery and bulk bin areas! Some supermarkets are giving you other options like paper bags which is great to see. Before you go to grab that plastic bag off a roll, think...do i need it, can i use one of my bags , do bananas, oranges really need their own bag?
As far as bulk bin products, you can use your produce bags unless they are a fine product you are looking at getting, in which case we also sell lightweight bulk bin bags
which are similar to our produce bags but have a french seam and smaller weave.
Some supermarkets will let you take your own reusable food containers for your meats and fresh Deli options. Some even have started removing their plastic containers for home composting options. Yay
A good idea (if you don't go to a local butcher) is to have specific bags for your meats, chickens and Fish.
This stops any kind of cross contamination. At the moment we have meat (red bag) and Chicken (yellow bag) in our online store. These are a great size and easy to clean when you get home.
The rest of the supermarket...
Look for packaging or lack of. Look for recyclable packaging like cardboard, aluminium and glass. If you can get it somewhere else where you can use your own refillable container, try that first. It may actually work out cheaper and better for everyone. Before you buy think "Can I make this product myself, are there other options, can I buy in bulk with my reusable containers, which will cut down packaging"? Research, research, research. Keep an eye out on our Facebook page for more tips and ideas.
Soft plastic recycling had been brought in to try to reduce waste going to the landfill, but this is not an excuse to keep buying these type of packages. The scheme currently has been suspended as they can't keep up with the amount being sent to it. Plus yes they make some good stuff out of it, but that's not a solution to the problem (its a bandaid!). Manufacturers need to start thinking about how to make/package their products in an environmentally friendly/sustainable way. It is happening, but slowly.
Around the House...
We have always reused, recycled and recreated. We have always had a compost bin, chickens and worm farms. Now we also have paper brick makers for our wood burner. What doesn't go to the worms, goes to the chickens or compost. The chooks give us eggs in return. The worms and compost fertilise our garden. Its a wonderful circle.
We have many options for cutting out your plastic in our online shop from Sandwich and snack bags (for adults too and are large enough to hold filled rolls)to reusable/recycled cutlery holders to take with you to work or have in the car. Straws...hmm don't get me started...do you really need one??? Unless you are disabled, don't bother. We have cardboard and bamboo ones available at our market stall if you are that keen to have some! We use broken or damaged tents in many of our products and try to use as much of it as possible for different items. Blankets are lined with the bases for picnic rugs or used as boot liners and windscreen frost covers for winter. We get a lot of one-off materials to create into something useful. So keep an eye out on our pages for new products. If we don't have something we love a challenge and will try or point you in the right direction.
It's all about thinking out side the square.
Before we even think of throwing something out, we look at these options:-
Can someone else use this?
Can we reuse or recreate it into something else?
Before we buy something:-
Is it good quality that will last? (not fast fashion or cheaply made )
What other options are there? (eg. shampoo bars rather than liquid)
Can we buy it secondhand?
Can I buy it in bulk or from a local co-op?
Can I make it?
Can I make it from something else?
Can someone else make it?
Can I borrow or hire it?
Is it recyclable?
At ReCycle ReCreate, we believe that if everyone starts small (like our puzzle piece tag on our products) it adds up to a bigger beautiful picture for the future.
Will you try to reduce your waste this year?
For more tips and ideas follow us in Instagram or Facebook. We are usually at the Prebbleton Community market (first Sunday of the month) come and have a chat.
Our shop is online at www.recyclerecreate.today