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Lower Waste Lifestyle

Lower Waste Lifestyle

I have recently been looking into how to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle.  While zero-waste living would be incredible, it is not achievable for most, including myself.  So, why not focus on a more realistic alternative, a lower waste lifestyle.  If more people can commit to reducing personal waste, even just a little, everyone will benefit.

Wellbeing is not just about keeping ourselves healthy and balanced but also extends to our immediate environment, like our homes and to our collective environment, our planet.  Below are some greener habits adopted over the years which reduce waste, are easy changes to make and may save money.   

Cleaning with White Vinegar & Water

Mix 50% white vinegar with 50% water for cleaning windows, glass, and wood floors.  For your floor solution, you can also add essential oils like lemon, pine, tea tree, eucalyptus, or mint to make it smell more pleasant.  Caution: do not use vinegar to clean porous surfaces like granite countertops as it may corrode natural stone.    

Repurpose Old Towels and Say Good-Bye to Swiffer Single Use Cloths

I too was part of the Swiffer movement.  But instead of using single use Swiffer cloths, I now use old towels which can be washed and re-used.  If it is a larger towel, cut it down to size.  Rinse the towel in water, ring it out, place it under the Swiffer pad and press it into the 4-slots on the top to secure it like you would a Swiffer cloth.  Spray the 50% white vinegar and 50% water mixture either on to the towel or floor and begin mopping.  When you are done, simply wash it with your laundry and use again.  You can also your old towels instead of paper towels!

Buy in Bulk or Concentrate

Most times, plastic packaging is unavoidable.  Where possible, buy as large as you can (bulk) or products that come in a concentrate solution.  By buying in bulk or concentrate, it reduces the amount of packaging being produced and used.  For example, companies like Sapadilla sell concentrated solutions such as their All Purpose Cleaner.  Simply dilute 1 tablespoon of solution in approximately 1 liter of water and refill your spray bottle.  This single bottle of All Purpose Cleaner is the equivalent of almost 50 liters of cleaning solution!  For other personal and household cleaning supplies like hand soap, shampoo and dish detergent, companies like Puracy, Green Beaver, and Oneka sell both refillable and concentrate options.    

Support Brands that Focus on Sustainability

Support brands like Nespresso and Pure and Simple, who have developed recycling programs for their products and stop supporting companies who give little or no thought about their impact on the environment.  When traveling, select hotels that recycle, incentivize guests to re-use things like towels and bedsheets and implement thoughtful alternatives like providing guests with access to purified drinking water instead of plastic water bottles.

Think Before you Buy

Fast fashion and furniture are cheap to buy but use a ton of natural resources like trees, plants, and energy to produce.  They are often poorer quality and end up in landfills after a short life span.  Therefore, make conscious purchase decisions.  Ask yourself if you really need it, will use it, and love it for many years.  Consider spending more money and buying something that is higher quality and will last a long time and/or buying used vs new to prevent a perfectly good item from turning into waste.

Opt for Glass or Paper Packaging instead of Plastic

If given the option, I will always buy something in glass or paper instead of plastic, even if it costs a little more.  Both glass and paper can be recycled while 70-80% of plastic cannot.  Most of the world’s plastic sadly ends up in landfills, which seeps  into our earth and makes it way into rivers, lakes and oceans.  Not only are we endangering our plants and wildlife, but we are also endangering ourselves by eating fruits and vegetables grown in toxic earth or fish that have consumed plastic.  Where possible, use canvas bags rather than plastic bags at stores, and glass containers/jars and other reusable containers to store and freeze food. 

These are just a few simple and easy ways to live a lower waste lifestyle.  If you have any suggestions on how to reduce, reuse and recycle, please leave a comment below.


Melanie Yip
Co-Founder, Movement Travel
RYT 200 and ACE Certified Group Fitness Instructor