Switching from plastic to bamboo straws is great. So is swapping from cling film to reusable food wraps. But one day you must confront some of the more extreme elements of a zero-waste lifestyle.
For many, there are items in our lives that we assume that we won’t be able to switch to zero waste. However, these four examples show that there are zero waste solutions for every problem.
This has nothing to do with your bowels, I promise! It about your hair! This is the no SHAMpoo movement that is sweeping the globe.
There has been a recent rise in the number of people who are dissatisfied with haircare products. Some are unhappy with the results they are getting, and others worry about the impact of plastic waste and chemicals in the products.
Consequently, people are looking for an alternative and it turns out that the solution comes with many zero waste options.
You can opt for shampoo bars which are considered a low poo alternative. These come in little or no packaging and last for ages.
Some more committed members of this movement will opt to go water only, but most will use products such as tea or coffee to clean their hair. Both of which are low waste, and potentially, zero waste options.
More and more parents are considering cloth nappies for their babies. But still some people shy away from them.
They can feel like a big step when you are used to throwing away a disposable nappy with its entire contents included.
However, they are a brilliant zero waste option. They can be used repeatedly and for multiple children having a huge impact on waste reduction.
There are several styles ranging from a familiar nappy design to the traditional towelling style. With designs across the price range they can be an affordable option for families too.
Once you’ve used them you can tip any solids into the toilet and then put them in the wash. With your normal detergent. Drying them outside will increase their lifespan and the Sun will bleach out any stains too.
Reusable menstrual products
For many this a bodily fluid too far. Society has taught us to feel shame and embarrassment at the sight of menstrual bleeding, so we have become used to the hiding and throwing away of any evidence.
But period waste is a massive problem across the globe. With nearly half the population requiring access to these products, landfills are full of them.
Like nappies, menstrual pads can take 500 years or more to decompose, meaning that every used pad ever still exists somewhere on the planet.
Reusable menstrual products are such a fantastic solution to this problem. Plus, there are many reported benefits too.
The available options include menstrual cups and sponges, which are inserted into the vagina to collect blood. Alternatively, there are pads and period underwear which collect the bleeding externally.
They can all be used over and over, hence significantly reducing the need for disposable products. They aren’t any worse to handle to either.
If you felt that reusable menstrual products were too extreme, then what about family cloth? Or to put it more simply reusable toilet roll.
Many families who are using reusable wipes alongside cloth nappies are used to washing wee and poo off cloths like these. But for some, it can feel like a step too far when it comes to handling your own excretions.
They work simply, however. You keep a pile of clean cloths in the bathroom. You can either use them wet or dry depending on your preferences. When you are finished, you place the used cloth in a bin or a bag.
They can be washed with normal detergent alongside the rest of your laundry. They clean up well and stains can be removed by sunlight.
Would you take zero waste to the extreme?How do you feel about these changes? Are they a step to far for you? If they are, then the recommendation is to work up to them. What feels like too much now may feel like a baby step later in your journey.
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