Leaving the house and remaining zero waste takes a little planning, but probably not as much as you think. Remember, not so long ago we didn’t have to pay for plastic bags; these days bringing your reusables to the supermarket is as second-nature as grabbing your wallet.
Read through our easy hacks that will help you make a big difference when you’re out and about.
Zero Waste Hacks For Leaving the House.
- Try to stop impulse buying. Before making a purchase ask yourself do you really need this and why am I buying this? Be honest with yourself and NEVER shop when you are hungry! That might help reduce your waist too!
- Can you walk, cycle or use public transport to get where you’re going rather than driving? Can we make another “reducing your waist” joke?!
- If you’re planning to get takeaway, ask if there are compostable or recyclable container options. If the answer is no, you’ll at least have raised it with the business. If the answer is yes, shout it from the rooftops so other people can support the business. (This is one of our favourite Zero Waste Hacks For Leaving the House; use social media or word of mouth to tell people every time you encounter a business doing their best).
- Check out our Zero Waste Shopping in Cobh page to find out what businesses can offer you eco alternatives to everyday items.
- Keep a shopping bag folded and in your handbag or pocket so you can always refuse a plastic bag at the shop.
- Keep a fork and handkerchief in your bag in case you buy food on the go – it saves having to use a plastic one.
- Join your local library and start swapping books with your friends.
- Remember that you don’t need to buy zero waste/plastic-free products to start your journey. Using what you already have is always more sustainable than buying something new.
- Share your journey with others – none of us are perfect and we are all in this together. Join the Zero Waste Ireland community on Facebook to get inspired by, and inspire, other people who are discovering clever hacks for reducing their waste.
- When heading to a party, wrap gifts in newspapers/magazines, your kids’ artwork (make a big deal of how special this makes it) or even re-usable textiles. Wrapping paper is normally not recyclable and is weirdly expensive.
- Keep the ribbons from those luxury boxes of chocolates and reuse them when wrapping gifts.
- When upgrading your phone make sure to check local charities as many will take your old device and give it to someone in need rather than throwing it out. Those metals are a precious resource!
- When you do buy things, go for quality. A well-made product will last longer than a cheap one. It may cost more in the short term but will last much longer.
- One of our favourite zero waste hacks for leaving the house can happen before you even walk out the door. Check classified ads like Gumtree, websites like eBay, and Facebook Marketplace before you make a purchase. You might find what you need secondhand or even nearly-new, often for a much better price too.
- Rechargeable batteries are great and work out much cheaper in the long run.
- Put a “No Junk Mail” sign next to your letterbox so you don’t come home to waste you didn’t choose. Switch to paperless for your bills like electricity and broadband; you might be surprised if you saw how much paper one year of bills uses. All service providers offer this service now and will simply email you your bills.
- When giving presents make it yourself or re-gift something you already have. Everyone loves something thoughtfully handmade with love.
- Before throwing stuff out, put them on a buy and sell sites or offer them free to take away. There is always someone who may find a use for it. The Cobh Freecycling group is ideal for passing things along locally.
We want to hear your zero waste hacks for leaving the house. Join the conversation in the comments below or find us on Facebook.
Want more Zero Waste tips? Check out our room-by-room tips here.