Reducing what we use on a daily basis can significantly decrease our individual impact on the environment. After all, if we aren’t using something to begin with, it won’t have any effect at all! These 13 ideas are based on concepts of reducing packaging, single use plastic, food waste and making better choices when purchasing. We hope that by providing this list we can inspire others to take action and help preserve our wonderful planet. Also check out part 2 in this 3 part series – 10 ideas for reusing consumables.
1. Buy from bulk food stores
Check out the below stores or do a search in your local area.
The Source Bulk Foods
13 stores across QLD & NSW
Join for members only specials
11 stores across QLD & NSW
2. Make Your Own (MYO)
We aren’t saying to go make everything in your home from scratch, ain’t nobody got time for that! Simply think about which consumable items you use a lot of and start from there.
- Peanut Butter Recipe
- Jam – Recipes
- Beans, lentils legumes, rice – buy bulk, cook and freeze into portions
- Canned fruits and vegetables – buy fresh and freeze
- Snacks – Choc Chip Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Recipe
- Laundry Powder/Detergent – Recipes
- All Purpose Cleaners
- Citrus recipe
- 1/2 vinegar + 1/2 water (avoid stainless steel as it will rust)
- Baking soda – 6 Ways to Clean with Baking Soda (in under 60 seconds)
- Coconut Oil
- Body scrub
- 1 cup used coffee grinds
½ cup coconut oil
1 cup raw sugar
5-10 drops essential oil
Old jar – sterilised
Add coffee first, then add other ingredients and mix well.
- Make up remover
Cleanser, toner, moisturiser for the face (all in one)
Hair (see Prue’s tip)
Prue’s Tip – I put coconut oil in the ends of my hair before I go running to reduce the amount of split ends and damage done from training.
Shyloe’s Tip – Use body scrub weekly yourself or gift it to a friend.
3. Grow your own herbs
Grow in Jars – See number 2 in 6 Amazing DIY Projects for Your Kitchen.
Shyloe’s Tip – start with what you use most and then work your way up.
4. Plan ahead for the week’s meals
Plan and prepare meals with what you already have in the pantry and fridge then top up with a visit to the shops. Is there anything that’s been lingering in the pantry for a while? That’s a great place to start!
Before you go shopping check the following;
- Staple foods (e.g. bread crumbs, sauces, pasta, stock, rice, beans, rice cakes, nuts, rice, pasta, potatoes etc.)
- Frozen foods
Shyloe’s Tip – Try a new recipe each week to learn more about blending flavours and what goes well with what.
5. Invest in a compost
The best thing about a compost is that’s its a never ending cycle, you feed the worms, they create soil, the soil grows plants, the plants feed you. There are so many things that can be put into the compost including the following.
All fruit and veg scraps
Paper and cardboard
Coffee and tea grounds
Compostable items e.g. bamboo and coconut products
Shyloe’s Tip – I have found the that the 3 tier compost system has worked wonders. If living in an apartment there are smaller bench top options or even nearby community composting. Bunnings have a great range of small and large composting units.
6. Make Vegetable Broth or Stock
Our Tip – freeze vegetable offcuts until there is enough to make the above recipes.
7. Reusable Eco bags
Almost every store has them now, spend that extra $1 or $2 and using them eventually it becomes habit. There are so many types, you can get little ones to fit in you handbag, they are also great for things like beans or loose leafy greens.
Prues Tip – Get a compact resuable bag that scrunches up into a tiny bag and attaches to your keys like this one, that way you always have it with you. Also keep in mind if you’re purchasing a re-usable bag that it is made from biodegradable materials, rather than plastic.
What do you use for your rubbish bin liners?
Why is nobody talking about this? We still need an enviro friendly option to dispose of our waste. We have tried a number of biodegradable bags, however they keep breaking. If you know of a great biodegradable/compostable bag brand please get in touch! We would love to hear from you.
A number of the big brands also offer “Degradable” bags which are not compostable or biodegradable – they simply break down into small pieces of microplastic faster.
8. Reusable coffee cup
Standard take away cups are lined with plastics and can’t be recycled. Making the switch could contribute to saving 500 billion cups from landfill (or the ocean) every year!
Buy keep cup
Prues Tip – Live in Brisbane? Get a FREE re-usable coffee cup at participating cafes. Brisbane City Council has provided 100 selected cafes with 20 re-usable cups to give away. Look out for these in your local cafe.
9. Drink Bottle
Ditch the plastic and try glass or metal reusable ones.
Shyloe’s Tip – add fruit to flavour your water without drawing and toxins from your bottle unlike plastic.
10. Reusable Straw
Get into the habit of saying no to straws. You can either carry your own reusable straw or just use your mouth as it was intended 🙂
11. More enviro friendly purchases
Bamboo products e.g. toothbrushes, hair brushes, make up brushes and combs, other cleaning and laundry
Coconut products e.g. kitchen scrub pads other cleaning and laundry,
Products made from recycled materials e.g. baking paper, aluminium foil, other baking.
Battery free products
Toilet Paper Who Gives s Crap – 100% recycled + 50% profits donated to build toilets in third world countries
12. Reusable food savers
Cling wrap is a single use, convenience item continually adding to landfill. The great news is that it’s super easy to live without!
Prue’s Tip – the food shaped savers are great for families or couples so it’s easy for everyone to see if there are portions of fruit/veg to be used up.
13. Make suggestions to your fav brands
Do you purchase products from a company that you love but wish they were more environmentally friendly? Contact them and let them know! Make suggestions, offer to give them a shout out via instagram or whatever for any positive changes they make. If they know people want their product to have minimal impact on the planet they will make the change. More often than not it will actually save them money too!
Prue’s tip – talk to any friends that get the same product and get them to do the same, the more people that ask the more likely the brands will implement. I’d also like to thank my friend Caitlin for reminding me of this tip 🙂
Did we miss something? Comment your favourites below!
Want more? Check out PART 2: Reuse – 10 ideas for reusing consumables.
*heads up – this article contains affiliate links