Did you know, the average person in the UK will throw away...
19 shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles
9 tubes of toothpaste
209 bags of crisps
109 single use coffee cups
317 chocolate wrappers
241 yogurt pots
242 plastic drinks bottles and 251 cans
409kg of waste in total!
Why does this matter?
There are a whole bunch of reasons why this is a huge problem, but, ultimately, they all really boil down to one thing... climate change.
The production, distribution, processing, recycling, incinerating and composting of packaging waste has a huge carbon impact at every stage of the process. And when we consider that a significant proportion of this packaging is single use, or worse still, completely unnecessary, there is huge scope to reduce this impact by simply reducing the amount we use.
So where do I start?
Reducing your household waste may seem like a mammoth task, but it really doesn't need to be. I would definitely recommend managing your expectations to start with, don't expect to be able to fit all of your years waste in a jar straight away!
Me and Vi had differing approaches when we started, and both work well.
I started by taking a look in our bin, and taking note of the largest items in there, and tackling those first. Our biggest items to start with were various bottles, including milk cartons, cleaning products, shampoos and shower gels. I looked into getting milk delivered, which was quite a bit more expensive than what we were previously paying for cartons, but we were able to counteract this by buying bulk refills of the cleaning products, which were quite a bit cheaper.
Vi decided she wanted to take a room at a time, so she picked the bathroom, and slowly used up/donated any of the seemingly endless collection of bottles we had bought or been gifted over the years. We began looking for plastic free (or better, refillable) replacements for everything from shampoo to deodorants.
What else can I do?
There are so many ways to reduce the amount of waste you generate, so to help, here are just some examples of simple steps you can take...
Use refill shops!
Of course refilling is an easy way to cut your packaging use down by it's very definition! Just remember to bring along a bag or container, and away you go!
Stop buying plastic bottles
Always carry a bag
Refuse single use, even if it is biodegradable
Buy loose fruits and veggies
Green your wardrobe
Grow Your Own
Green up your period
Make your own cleaning products
Empty your inbox
Eat nothing but broccolli
One final piece of advice I try to pass on to anyone who wants to make a start of reducing their waste, is to give yourself some slack. Don't try to be perfect, because the truth is, none of us are. If you mess up and forget your bag one day, it's ok. If you don't get time to meal plan and end up getting a take out, that's ok too. Don't count the times you mess up, count the little wins.
And if you need any advice, encouragement, or just need to be in a room with other people who are also trying, but also mess up sometimes, then drop in and say hi!