Zero Waste at Home

The home is where we spend most of our time apart from work. It is very important to ensure that sustainability starts at home. Some changes are basic and easy to do. However, some might take a little longer to implement! One of the most famous zero waste methodologies is “The 5Rs”.

 

 "Refuse what you do not need.

Reduce what you do need.

 Reuse what you consume. 

Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce, or reuse. 

And rot (compost) the rest”


Starting with the basics, let’s see how we can change kitchen processes to be more sustainable:


Buy food in bulk, fresh, and directly from the farmers: Foods like flour and spices can be bought from bulk stores. Many stores have good quality spices and other items that can be bought in your own jars. Get yourself some clear glass jars to shop in bulk and avoid plastic packaging.

It is very important to know that zero waste goes hand in hand with the circular economy, (which we spoke about in our blog). By
buying vegetables directly from farmers via farmers markets, we are able to mimic
nature. Food and vegetables should not be wrapped in plastic or have preservatives to increase their shelf life.

 

 Buy fresh, buy what you need to avoid wastage of food.

Kitchen waste can be composted to make your home garden healthier and natural. We will be discussing home composting in future blogs!

Use bulk liquid castile soap as a dishwashing or handwashing liquid, baking soda as a scrubber (in a stainless steel herb shaker). Purchase dishwasher detergent in bulk. (available at For Earth’s Sake store!)

Basic products like tealight candles are made out of paraffin and are extremely unhealthy for kids and adults. Using beeswax candles is a good alternative as beeswax candles do not contain paraffin or other carcinogenic chemicals. 

Made of 100% natural beeswax harvested by locals from abandoned beehives in Uttarakhand which is purified several times to give it a shining golden colour. Beeswax candles are a cleaner substitute for paraffin-based candles which produce toxic fumes and surface-staining black soot. These candles also last longer and emit a naturally delicate scent of honey. 

  • Chemical-free
  • Cruelty-free
  • Socially Responsible

 

Another important part of our personal space is our washroom: 

  1. Toothbrush: Plastic toothbrushes have been in our life since the early 1940s. On average, a person changes a toothbrush every three months -- thus going on to use 300+ toothbrushes over their lifetime! With a population of 133 crores+ in India, that is a lot of toothbrushes not being recycled and polluting the landfills daily. 

    Switching to a bamboo toothbrush is a simple lifestyle change. For Earth’s Sake bamboo toothbrushes come in natural as well as Nylon 4 (BPA free) bristle options. Coated with an anti-fungal solution, these toothbrushes are safe for kids and adults!




  2. Soaps: Personal hygiene is extremely important. It is also important to use ethical and chemical-free products for washing and bathing. Many soaps have beeswax or are full of Parabens and SLS.

    Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) is commonly used in skincare products such as body wash, cleansers, shampoos and hand washes. It is the ingredient that gives these products the foamy, bubbly consistency most of us associate with a squeaky clean. SLS is known to be a skin irritant. It can strip the skin of its natural oils which can cause dry skin, irritation and reactions. It can also be very irritating on the eyes. (ref: https://kosmea.com.au/sodium-lauryl-sulfate-avoid/)

    'Parabens are a type of preservative, first introduced in the 1950s. They're used to prolong shelf life in many health and beauty products by preventing the growth of mould and bacteria within them.'

    Parabens are believed to disrupt hormone function by mimicking oestrogen. Too much oestrogen can trigger an increase in breast cell division and the growth of tumours, which is why paraben use has been linked to breast cancer and reproductive issues.

    (ref: https://www.elle.com/uk/beauty/skin/articles/a36356/what-are-parabens/)

    Natural soaps are the best alternative to other soaps. It is also important to buy soaps without plastic packaging contributing to plastic waste.

    For Earth’s Sake soaps are vegan, paraben-free and SLS-free. None of these soaps is tested on animals.






    Shifting to shampoo bars and soap bars is better for the planet and your pockets. Soap bars last longer than liquids in plastic bottles. This means
    there are lesser bottles going to landfills -- and more money saved!

  3. Shifting to alternative toilet paper solutions: No rashes, no allergies, no chlorine, BPA, paraben or foul smells! Harnessed with a 3 ply premium quality that is suitable for all types of disposal systems and is non-GMO project verified! 


     

  4. Dental Floss: Market bought dental floss is made of plastic! Further, to give it the smooth feel that makes it glide between your teeth, it is coated with perfluorochemicals (PFCs), which has been linked to thyroid diseases, dementia, cancer, fertility issues, and birth defects. Alternatives to commercial, plastic dental floss include silk threads or cornstarch-based dental floss. (available in For Earth's Sake store)

  5. Dining

    1. Fresh food always needs to be preserved in the refrigerator. Ideally, one should only cook only the amount of food one needs to eat. However, if the food does need to be stored, it’s worth knowing that using plastic wrap or aluminium can be harmful to the planet and your family members.

    Microplastics which get into your food from plastic wrap have been linked to cancer. Aluminium leaches into your food making the food toxic and contributing to higher chances of health diseases like Alzheimer's and kidney disease. The alternative? Beeswax wraps.

    Beeswax wrap is a food wrap material consisting of a coated fabric, most commonly cotton It is made by infusing cotton with food-grade beeswax, rosin, coconut oil and jojoba oil. It can be shaped around containers or food products. Beeswax wrap is a reusable and sustainable alternative to plastic wrap and single-use plastic. It has the ability to counteract environmental issues such as plastic pollution and food wastage.


    Food can also be stored in reusable silicone containers. Unlike plastic ziplock bags, these bags are BPA- and phthalate-free, do not leach microplastic, and are safe for heating and freezing food.



    2. Use of glassware, ceramic dishes, and cloth napkins at all times is a better solution than using use-and-throw plastic items.

    3. Plastic lunch boxes are usually made from low quality plastic which is extremely harmful to grow children. Micro-plastics leaching into food affects the growth of hormones in children. Shifting to stainless steel, food-grade lunch boxes is always a better solution.

With the ease of online deliveries and access to international foods, we need to remember that being sustainable also means having a carbon footprint which is controlled. Focusing on fresh foods from farmers markets is always better than having imported fruits, preserved and frozen over time.

Eating local, seasonal, and fresh is one of the most important aspects of a sustainable lifestyle.
    With the diversity of cultures in India, it is important to understand that there are many ways we can be sustainable apart from the tips shared in this blog. Stick to the basics and go back to the 5Rs methodology -- you’ll find a version of it which works for you!
    Confused about what Zero Waste is? Read our blog on zero waste here

     


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