© Laura Mitulla / Unsplash / Domaine public
A zero-waste lifestyle is certainly admirable, but not always attainable. However, reducing your waste is something we can all do and in separate domains. Our colleagues at RTL 5Minutes put together some tips on reducing waste.
Not only is it good for the environment to cut down on your personal waste, but can also save you money in some cases. Climate change is making more and more consumers rethink their practices and reduce their plastic usage, unnecessary packaging, and the sizes of their bins.
Whilst personal change alone cannot fully counteract the effects of climate change, it can contribute to a paradigm shift that could hopefully encompass society as a whole.
1. 'Stop Pub/No adverts' stickers
Letter boxes can often be overwhelmed by an onslaught of promotional magazines, letting you know what products are on offer at supermarkets A, B, and C every week. Whilst you can recycle this material, recycling should be a last resort and you can make your life easier by just no longer receiving advertising material.
Simply putting a 'Stop Pub' sticker on your postbox can cut down on the amount of promotional papers you throw away in one easy move.
2. Change your shopping habits
You don't have to completely revolutionise your shopping habits to be a more thoughtful consumer, you just need to adapt to a few new habits.
First of all, look up any shops that offer products in bulk. You can take your own jars or reusable bags (even if only to transport to your storage jars at home) and fill them up with dry goods, then weigh them to know the cost. This means you can buy pasta, grains, and produce without having to purchase them with excess packaging. Additionally, you buy only as much as you need, which prevents waste.
Ouni, a zero-waste shop. / © Martin Jonsson
As for products like yogurts or cheese, avoid single portions and purchase larger sizes, although again - make sure you don't throw half of it away.
If you're fond of getting bread from a baker's, again, you can take your own cotton bag and ask for them to put your baked goods in the bag. At any rate, remembering to pack your own reusable bags with you when you leave the house means you're always prepared if you have to dash to the supermarket.
3. Ask for leftovers to go at restaurants
When at a restaurant, we can sometimes let our stomachs get ahead of ourselves and we end up ordering too much. With so much delicious food, it feels wrong to waste whatever you can't manage to eat. Rather than have your remaining food thrown away, ask to take the rest with you to eat later.
And if you really want to be savvy, you could even bring your own tupperware if you know your eyes are bigger than your stomach.
4. Replace plastic bottles with a reusable bottle
With an ocean of plastic polluting the seas, the way you can help change this on a personal level is to no longer contribute to the amount of plastic being used. Given that tap water exists in abundance, is drinkable, and quite cheap, no longer buying bottled water is the first step you could take in being more conscientious.
A good quality reusable water bottle (either glass or metal, as these are less leak-prone) may cost more than a plastic bottle does up front, but it more than pays for itself as you continue using it. Once purchased, a cubic metre of water from the tap is much cheaper than six-packs of water sold for nearly €3.
You can also take the water bottle with you on the go. There are refill stations throughout Luxembourg City, you can take it through security at the airport (if it's empty), and it can soon become a handy companion.
5. Rediscover Grandma's cleaning tips
The amount of specialised cleaning products we have is staggering: there is a separate product to clean the floors, one to clean windows, another for the bathroom, and one for the kitchen... but we don't need all these separate products.
Thankfully, taking a leaf out of your grandmother's book has the same results. You need a pair of gloves, elbow grease, and some simple products and these should leave your home spic and span. White vinegar can be used to descale kettles and taps, old clothes can become rags, bicarbonate can deodorise fridges and bins, and much more.