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From the blog

Top tips from #TeamPECT: How to reduce waste at home

by April Sotomayor

Since the arrival of Covid-19, more and more of our days seem to be spent at home. This draws attention to the mountain of waste that can be created from everyday items. So how has the PECT team tried to cut back on items going to landfill?

Here are just a few of the tips from the team.

Shannon:

  • Switch to reusable make-up wipes.
  • Buy cosmetics and toiletries either ‘naked’ or in glass jars, which can then be reused.
  • Consider changing to a more sustainable washing project, such as SMOL washing detergent and conditioner. This comes in a subscription box that is completely plastic-free. Similarly, Iron & Velvet cleaning products come in water soluble sachets.
  • Opt for a reusable safety razor.
  • Use a bamboo dish brush and Scrubbies for cleaning and washing up because they are fully compostable.
  • If you can, try to buy fruit and vegetables locally from a farm shop. Generally, items come supplied loose, so you simply need to reuse paper bags or grocery bags.
  • Reuse glass jars for bulk food storage.
  • Try to plan out your meals for the week in advance and only buy what you need in order to avoid food waste.

Stuart:

  • Cardboard packaging is useful as a mulch in the garden to help clear beds and cut down on weeds.
  • If you receive an order that comes on pallets, upcycle the wooden frames into a herb garden.

Kari-ann:

  • Get a veg box. Not only will you receive fresh organic fruit and vegetables, but it will minimise packaging. Many suppliers even take the box away to recycle.
  • Invest in a blender or juicer. Making soups and juices is a great way to use up excess produce that you don’t know what to do with.  You can pretty much boil any veg with a stock cube and, once blended, it will taste good. With juices, if you have a good base of apple and carrot, you can add most hard fruit/veg to it. If you want to add soft fruit to make a smoothie, use a blender.
  • If you have a random item from your veg box that you don’t know what to do with, search online for recipes and don’t be afraid to modify them if you don’t have all the ingredients.
  • Take leftovers around to friends and family.

Clare:

  • For those who menstruate, period pants or reusable sanitary towels will not only reduce waste, they’re also more comfortable. I usually rinse mine out in cold water and then put them in with a normal wash. Some people find reusable cups a fantastic option too.
  • Buy cleaning products in bulk and then refill when needed. A funnel helps with this, and it’s less hassle than popping to the shops for replacements.  There are lots of great ethical shops that sell these in bulk, such as Suma, or you can refill locally at The Green Backyard.

Karen:

  • Save used plastic milk bottles to use as watering cans. You can simply make little holes in the lid to give the bottle a new lease of life!
  • Use a washing up bowl when running your tap for washing vegetables, then reuse this water in your homemade watering can.

April:

  • Buy in bulk for your high-use items. We go through a lot of tinned beans, so I started buying large bags of dried beans, and this cut the waste in my recycling bin.
  • Switch to a multi-purpose household cleaner and buy it in bulk, if possible. I like Ecoleaf and Koh, plus use micro-fibre cloths. It’s better for your health too.
  • Try to use reusable and washable face masks, to prevent this waste stream from showing up on our beaches.
  • Compost! This is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your own personal emissions and waste, plus will help your garden to grow. There are compost solutions for almost any size space.

Laura:

  • Get chickens! This may sound a random suggestion, but if you have space in your garden then it’s definitely worth considering giving a home to some rescue hens to help reduce waste. Poultry will eat the majority of food scraps and leftovers, will supply your family with zero food miles eggs, and their droppings can be used to fertilise the garden.
  • Consider getting milk delivered to your door to prevent last-minute dashes to the shops to stock up. After use, the glass bottles are simply washed up, collected and reused. Many suppliers offer plant-based alternatives now too.
  • Reusable wipes are a must, particularly if you have toddlers at home! Many people don’t realise disposable wipes often contain plastics and can’t be composted or recycled.

Have you got some good tips to help reduce waste at home? Let us know about them on social media or via [email protected].