Reducing household waste by 30% without too much hassle

Reducing our household waste has become my new obsession. It breaks my heart that we throw between 2 and 3 full bin bags out every week, and that’s not counting nappies nor food waste. Granted, 95% of the content of the bags is recyclable, but recycling is not the same as not producing in the first place. So Lion and I are committed to reducing our waste by 30%. But it has to be hassle-free, as we have busy schedules and if it is too much effort, we won’t keep it up in the long term.

I previously shared my top tips for eco-conscious but busy parents so there will be some repeats.  The main difference between this post and the previous one is that we have implemented 100% of what I am about to share with you.

So what have we done ?

  1. Stopped buying (and using) kitchen towels – when you have them in the house, it is so easy to use them for everything and anything. We have replaced them by the following things :
    • Micro-fibre cloth for children’s grubby hands and snotty noses (we have those which are great but did not pay £29 for them – there must have been a promotion when we bought them) – we just throw them in the wash with out regular clothes
    • Linen napkins for us adults to use at the table – we bought them at John Lewis and we bought 8 of them for us 2, so we have a good rota
    • Good sponges for every day spills
    • Toilet paper for when really there is no other choice but using something disposable
  2. Drastically reduced the use of baby wet wipes – there are now reserved for the poos. For the little jobs, we bought cotton cloth squares (these ones) and took them in white so we wouldn’t mistake them with the coloured ones for hands and face
  3. Drastically reduced our bathroom waste by :
    • Using solid body soap instead of shower gel : I buy organic ones for £1.65 at my local Beanfreaks store – they are sold without any plastic packaging, I take a box with me to carry them home
    • Using shampoo bar instead of liquid shampoo : this is quite a change from regular shampoo as it lathers differently and the hair feels less shiny right after BUT after a couple of washes, my hair looks much healthier than before and doesn’t need to be washed every other day as it did so highly recommend it. We use the Friendly soap range.
    • Got rid of cotton pads – if I have make-up on, I use a non-rinse cream and just use a towel to take it out. Or soap and water, with a good hydrating cream after (from a glass jar, not a plastic tube, plastic is the absolute evil when it comes to recycling so that’s the enemy you want to kill first)
  4. Cooked even more – our baby’s food was always homemade but we have gone one step further to reduce industrial food for Lion, Apple and I :
    • We make our own applesauce every week – we make enough for a whole week and store it in a glass jar in the fridge – saves the plastic of the store-bought fruit pots
    • Make all our sauces from scratch – including mayo and red enchilada sauce
  5. Researched how to reduce waste that comes with our grocery shopping
    • Buy bread and some fruit/veg at farmers market every saturday and refuse all packaging (even for muddy potatoes)
    • Started ordering veg and meat boxes from local farmers to be delivered at our home – this is not packaging free but they tend to use less than the supermarkets
    • Buy pasta / rice from local wholesale shops that are happy for me to bring my own container
  6. Reduced our Amazon purchases from twice a week to once every 2 weeks – I love Amazon for the convenience, but it breaks my heart to see how much packaging they use. I make an extra effort to buy things I need at local store instead of automatically resorting to ordering it on Amazon
  7. Stocking the paper to use to start our chimney fires in the winter instead of chucking it in the bin

This is only the beginning for us but I’ll report back on whether we are reaching of goal of one less bin per week. We are certainly not doing enough for the planet but I am hopeful we will grow more and more respectful. Also, I want to show that it does not necessarily take a lot of time to start paying a little bit more attention to what we throw away – no excuse, we can all do our bit !

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