My Zero Waste Hacks

Feb, 06, 2020

As we continue our zero waste journey, we have developed many hacks,which of course are just simple ideas for reducing waste. You can find many great zero waste hacks on social media. Here are some of my zero waste hacks that help reduce waste without too much effort.

 Use real stuff— I know this seems broad. What I mean is that we have given up disposable items like paper plates, plastic cups, bowls, napkins, etc. Plastic or Styrofoam cups and disposable dish ware and utensils may be more convenient, but theyre incredibly wasteful and they do end up in a landfill after parties or picnics. And we have invested in some flea market plates and silverware that work great when we have parties. And we use our regular plates and glasses as well, and — oh, yeah — it means more dishes for us to clean afterward. But nothing is more wasteful than disposable products.

 Cloth Paper Towels— Many years ago when I stopped using paper towels and decided to use cloth only, people thought I had lost my marbles. Here I was a stay-at-home mom with a 6-year-old, a 2-year-old and a newborn and no paper towels. Im so happy I made that leap because not only have we saved many trees over the years but also we have reduced waste and saved money. So,I always have a generous stack of cloth paper towelsin a kitchen drawer easily accessible to both us parents and our kids. What I love most about them (besides being zero waste, and saving money and trees) is that they are hard core and sturdy. I normally need only one towel for a big mess. I also use them for cleaning around the house, then just pop them into the laundry hamper. 

Mason jars to the rescue— For a zero waste family, there is no such thing as too many mason jars. They are great for so much: food storage, lunch boxes, smoothies, piggy banks (my kids), candle holders, vases, containers (instead of bags) when buying bulk food, clearly organizing dried foods in the pantry, housing homemade deodorant, and storing homemade household cleaners. Yes, the uses for mason jars are endless, so having lots and lots when going zero waste is the key. 

There are endless possibilities when it comes to mason jars. We have so many that my daughter’s jobis to organize them allonce a month, as you can see in this YouTube video.

 Beeswax Wraps— They are the best ever invention, if you ask me.Not only are they reusable and free of hormone-mimicking chemicals, but they are compostable. So, when broken or old, they simply can be tossed into the compost. We use beeswax wraps instead of zip lock bags, plastic wrap and foil.

 Be a diva and use a diva cupModern day menstrual pads and tampons have made feminine hygiene easier and more convenient. Unfortunately, as with most convenient things, they have a devastating effect on the environment as well as womens health because they contain lots of harmful chemicals. Instead, I use a diva cup and cloth panty liners.

 Plastic-free lunch boxes— I pack my kids’ lunches every day, and I do it zero waste style in reusable and plastic-free lunch boxes or thermal soup containers; and, of course, I send water in a reusable metal bottle, as well as cutlery and a cloth napkin. If I have to wrap food, I use either a cloth sandwich bag or beeswax wrap to ensure not ending up with unwanted waste.

 My advice for anyone going zero waste always is to take one step at a time, to enjoy the process, and to make it a family affair.

Fredrika Syren

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