After telling the story of Elvis & Kresse – a purpose driven enterprise that rescues materials from landfill and turns them into beautiful products – we asked ourselves: what can we all do to waste less? In this article we’ll share some handy tips and tricks that will enable you to make a real difference. Ready? Here we go!
#1 Buy less stuff
Most of our stuff is no treat for people or planet. Take our clothes. As a whole, the fashion industry contributes more to climate change than air and sea travel combined. By simply buying less, you’re saving the water, energy and resources that are required to make things in the first place AND you’re preventing a giant heap of waste at the same time. Because what you don’t own, you can’t disregard either.
#2 MIY: Make It Yourself
Many premade and processed products come in heaps of often unnecessary packaging. By making things yourself, you can seriously decrease your waste footprint. Plus; it gives you a chance to let your creative side shine bright. From granola bars to care products and upcycled tote bags from your old sheets; the sky truly is the limit once you’ve started to embrace the MIY-lifestyle. Added bonus; homemade means no unnecessary preservatives, chemicals and other unnatural crap. Your body will thank you later!
#3 Choose second hand
Next time you’re in need (or in want) of something new that you cannot make yourself, try scoring it second hand! It’s a great way of saving an item that’s in the process of making its way down the waste ladder. Plus, whether it’s clothing or home furniture, you’ll most definitely end up with something far more unique than what your average high street has on offer. Check out United Wardrobe, Gadget Salvation and Preloved for some second hand shopping inspiration.
#4 Avoid single use items
From single use coffee cups and paper towels to plastic bottles, bags, straws, wrappers and cutlery: nowadays, an infinite amount of things get produced just so that we can chuck them within mere minutes. By cutting down on these single use items, you can make a serious difference. So next time you go shopping, make sure you’re prepared and pack some reusable bags, bottles and boxes. Your local (farmers) market and a growing number of zero waste stores like Hisbe will enable you to bring home your fruits, veggies, rice, pasta, cereal, nuts, oils, cleaning products and many more things 100 percent butt naked. Also, bringing your own reusable water bottle, coffee cup and cutlery whenever you go out will go a long way!
#5 Put a stop to food waste
One shocking third of all the food that we produce gets wasted somewhere down the food chain. Whilst farmers, supermarkets and restaurants definitely still have a lot of work to do, so do us consumers! So next time you’re stuck with some stale crisps, turn them into a tasty tortilla. Repurpose the leaves of your radishes as a spicy salad, make ice cream from your left over toast, freeze whatever you don’t eat, create a refreshing drink from pineapple skin, never go shopping without a grocery list, and make sure to eat first what you buy first. That’ll do the trick!
#6 Start composting
And what about the organic waste that you weren’t able to eat or rescue? Instead of throwing it in the green bin, you could give composting or starting your own worm hotel a go! Worms eat organic matter, and turn it into rich compost. Which can subsequently be used to grow fruit, vegetables and plants in a completely organic and natural way. Initiatives like The Urban Worm and The Worms Hotel (Wormenhotel, website in Dutch) can help you get up to speed.
#7 Recycle away
If you follow the steps mentioned above, you should be left with a lot less waste than before. Good job! Now make sure to dispose of everything you do have left properly. Most towns and cities enable you to recycle paper, glass and certain types of plastic. In addition, there generally is a place where you can hand in your old batteries, broken electrical appliances and donate old shoes and clothing. Simply googling ‘recycling’ and ‘your local community’ will go a long way! Also, on their ‘What to do with’-page Recycle Now tells you how to recycle a boatload of items.
Looking for some inspiration to get started? Here’s the video of Elvis & Kresse; the kickass enterprise that we mentioned at the beginning of the article. Enjoy!
Want to help us spread the positive circular vibes? Please share this article with your family and friends! Together we can make sure that landfills and incinerators soon will be a thing of the past.