Going low waste is a total lifestyle change and a process that takes time. Whether you are just starting on your journey to living a more sustainable lifestyle, or you’re in the midst of it, there is always something new to learn. Below are our favorite low waste tips and swaps for a more sustainable home.
IN THE KITCHEN
The kitchen is by far our favourite room in the house, but it also where the majority of waste occurs. Thankfully, there are tons of easy and inexpensive ways to make your kitchen more sustainable. The first step is to get rid of as much plastic as possible.
- If you haven't already, invest in reusable canvas or cotton-netted grocery bags. The same goes for plastic produce bags, lunch bags, and wrap. Try mesh, silicone, or beeswax instead.
- Instead of buying new glass containers to replace all of your worn-out plastic containers, simply re-use the glass jars from your favourite condiments or pasta sauces.
- End the use of throw-away paper-towels and instead opt for washable napkins, reusable towels, or rags.
- Ditch the bottled dish wash and buy a dishwashing black of soap instead. The same goes for your sponge too. We prefer washable silicone sponges but if you want to go as zero-waste as possible we recommend this bamboo brush, complete with a fully replaceable compostable brush head.
- Learn more about composting here and consider creating your own compost bin, for any living arrangement.
IN THE BATHROOM
Our grooming routines are very near and dear to our hearts, which makes the bathroom one of our most beloved rooms. Unfortunately, a lot of trash and plastic accumulates in this room. But we are here to help you make this a more eco-conscious space in your home.
- Over 2 billion disposable razors end up in landfills each year, so it's time to break up with yours. We recommend embracing the classic safety razor, for a more eco-friendly and efficient shave. Shop our wide selection in-store and online.
- Replace your plastic dental floss and toothpaste with natural, zero-waste options. This floss is made with 100% Mulberry silk so it is completely biodegradable and when it comes to natural plastic-free toothpaste, we recommend visiting your local Lush store.
- Keep your grooming routine simple by only using the essentials and shopping local whenever possible! Manday Grooming and Peregrine Supply Co. are two sustainable Canadian brands we absolutely love.
- If it is within your budget, we whole-heartedly believe you should invest in a bidet. Paired with eco-friendly toilet paper, this will step up your low-waste game tenfold.
IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM
I don't know about you, but unlike the kitchen and bathroom, there is nothing particularly fun about the laundry room. But it is a necessity of life so onward to the low-waste lifestyle hacks because we have a lot of them!
- Wash your clothes less. We know, that definitely sounds gross but you know what's grosser? The average washing machine uses 13,500 gallons of water PER year. Which is as almost as much water as you or I will drink in our lifetime. We aren't talking underwear or socks here but more so the clothing we wear for just a few hours. Like the sweatpants you lounged around the house in during the morning or the jeans you wore to the grocery store. Do these really need to go in your dirty hamper right away? Or could you hold off for a few more wears?
- Use cold instead of hot water. Not only is cold water less stressful on your clothing – which helps them last longer – but it cuts out almost all of the energy used by washing machines during their cycle! Studies estimate 70-90% of the energy used by washing machines during a cycle is for heating water – so it’ll save on your electric bill. If you want to dive more into the benefits behind cold water, read this article.
- Only wash your clothing when you have a full load. We know this might sound basic, but we know there are people out there who do small, inefficient loads! If you really can't wait, you can hand-wash between loads. Also, pre-treat your clothing before it goes in the wash to remove harsh or tough stains even faster.
- Hang or lay flat to dry whenever possible. Not only will this preserve the quality of your clothing for longer but it counts down on energy usage. We suggest a bamboo drying rack. If the dryer is one habit you can't quit, use wool dryer balls as an alternative to dryer sheets or fabric softener. You can even pour a few drops of your favourite essential oils on them for an added scent.
- Clean out the lint trap. Seriously. A full lint trap can reduce your dryer’s efficiency by as much as 30%, causing your clothes to need even more time in the dryer.
- Last but not least, if you wear a great deal of synthetic clothing (polyester is pretty hard to avoid these days) consider using a filter of some sort to collect the plastic microfibres from your laundry. Otherwise, countless plastic fibers will continue making their way from our washing machines into rivers and oceans, causing further pollution. Learn more here and here.
AT THE OFFICE
We're finally on the home stretch! The last living space we'll be discussing is the office. Which is more metaphorical than literal. If you are a student, a writer, an artist, or someone with a 9-5 office job, or home office, then these low-waste tips are for you.
- Cut down on your ink and paper usage by setting up two-sided printing. If colour printing isn't crucial, opt for black & white printing whenever possible. Try working with your boss or co-workers to establish a more sustainable printing policy at work.
- Prioritize technology! Sure, we all love buying new notebooks and planners but try to use your computer and smartphone first.
- If you must buy new office supplies, try to go as green as possible. There is no shortage of recycled notebooks and brands striving to preserve the environment. All it takes is a quick google search!
Low waste is all about the three R's so remember to reduce, reuse, and recycle whenever possible!
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