• Harriot Grinnell-Moore

Simple Ways to Make Your Life More Zero-Waste

Updated: Jul 24, 2019

A lot of people worry that to be zero waste means that you end up spending more. They think of high costs involved in buying in bulk from independent stores, shopping locally being more expensive and the cost of eating vegetarian vs eating meat. It's true that depending on where you live these can all be expensive alternatives, and as a student I feel that! However, there are plenty of other things you can do that will most likely end up helping you to save money!!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Refuse - These are your four magic words!!


Reduce your impact on the environment! Reduce your use of not only one-use plastic but other one-use items!

1. Buy a reusable water bottle

3. Buy hankies instead of disposable tissues

4. Buy re-usable wax wrap instead of cling film for sandwiches and keeping food fresh (or make your own!)

5. Block shampoo, conditioner and soap - I have to say I find block conditioner hard to use having such long hair, I can never get enough conditioner onto my hair from the block. I thought I'd found a way of using the conditioner by rubbing it in circular motions directly onto the ends of my hair. However, I've noticed this has led to quite a few split ends so I'm back to conditioner in a plastic bottle for the time being! (However - I've heard that you can make liquid conditioner from block conditioner quite easily and I've tried this with bar soap which went quite well so I'll be giving block conditioner another go once I've finished this bottle!)

6. Reusable wipes to take off make-up - my sister is very handy with a needle and has made me reusable cotton discs out of leftover fleece and bamboo material that she had lying around! They're so pretty and you have so much more control over them than shop bought ones you can make them any size or shape you want and pick what material you use!

7. This isn't for everyone and it's not something I've quite got to yet but just think about how much waste is created each period... there are lots of alternatives out there like period underwear and menstrual cups which are also more financially viable too!

8. Reduce your meat and animal product intake! Going vegetarian and vegan isn't for everyone but even just reducing your intake can have a HUGE impact!!

9. Flying is also a huge pollutant - sometimes you just can't get around it but try when you can to look for viable alternatives! Take more public transport too instead of driving - buses, trains or car sharing if you really can't get around it (BlaBla car is great for this and usually the cheapest option!)


Reuse items as much as possible, through fixing, re-purposing and up-cycling!!

1. Take-away containers once washed out can make great storage for little bits and pieces

2. We're too used, in this society, to throwing things away as soon as they show signs of wear and tear and buying new - instead try fixing things first! Normally as soon as the underwire of my bra starts poking through that's it I chuck it and buy a new bra - but this time I just sewed up the tiny hole where it was poking through and it's held up really well so far!

3. On the note of bras if you really have to get rid of something - instead of throwing it away donate it! There are so many projects out there set up for so many weird and wonderful things from repurposing mascara brushes to remove fly eggs and larva from animal fur to sending bras to Africa in an attempt to lessen the risk of rape towards women.


Just because something says that it is recyclable does not mean it necessarily is!!

1. It has to be clean otherwise it can contaminate other recycling that is collected and it will be rejected when sorted and end up in landfill.

2. On this note some things, such as aluminium can be recycled but it depends on size, as if the item is too fall it can slip through the machine when being sorted annnnnnd again end up in landfill!

3. Some councils may not recycle certain materials such as glass or tetrapaks (that your orange juice comes in!) and these would need to be taken to recycling centres to be disposed of!

4. Leave your grass clippings on the grass when you mow to naturally breakdown instead of bagging them!

5. Compost!!!


This is probably one of the best ways you can reduce your impact!!

1. Refuse plastic cups, straws, plates and cutlery - this is so easy to do if you carry around your own set!

2. Refuse plastic carrier bags and containers - take your own shopping bag & take your own containers to the supermarket to put baked goods in and take your veg loose!

3. Refuse receipts when you don't need them, at the supermarkets in the Netherlands they only print receipts when asked and many places give you the option of emailing them now!

Hopefully by just slowing changing one or two things in our daily lives every month we can all help in keeping our planet healthy!

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Contact me: helgm1@gmail.com | The Netherlands

© 2017 by Harriot E.L. Grinnell-Moore

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