Stop throwing away hundreds of dollars a year with these easy sustainable tips!
Did you know according to the Wellington City Council we're currently producing 3.6kg of waste per person every day in New Zealand. With $563 per year being wasted from throwing away food alone!
Making sustainable choices to produce less waste is a great way to support the environment, but you'll also have more money in your pocket, too.
We chatted to educator, activist and blogger Kate Hall from Ethically Kate, and business owner and waste free ambassador, Shayna Stalker from The Waste Free Home, to get their top tips for an eco-friendly life.
Reduce your food waste
Whether you are throwing out food because you didn't get to eat it fresh, or you forgot you already had something in your fridge, research from Love Food Hate Waste tells us that food waste is a 157,389 tonne per year problem in New Zealand.
There are a few things you can do to stop throwing out so much food. Extending the life of your veggies with products like The Swag will help to keep them fresh for at least two more weeks, so they will still be ready when you are!
When you do have leftover food scraps, making compost is a crucial and core element to becoming waste-free, and something that both Kate and Shayna are passionate about.
"Did you know approximately half of a household's waste is organic matter that can be composted and turned into nutrient rich soil? This soil is incredibly valuable, so it doesn't make sense to throw it in the bin," shares Kate.
Composting can be really simple, from a backyard worm farm, to taking the hassle out of knowing what to do with a commercial composter, getting on board with this eco-friendly activity couldn't be easier!
"Companies like We Compost make composting accessible for everyone. Regardless of whether you live in an apartment or have a bigger backyard, it's perfect for when you don't like the idea of composting but want to save the planet!" says Shayna.
Press pause on that purchase
One of the biggest areas to be aware of is fast fashion. According to Stats NZ, Kiwis spend an average of $750 per year on clothing, with most of us throwing out around 30 kilos of clothes in that same time.
Other quickfire convenience purchases, such as buying a new drink bottle or grabbing a few more plastic containers, can also impact the environment and your wallet.
"The simple habit of thinking properly before buying anything will help to reduce the clutter in your home, the amount of money you spend, the rubbish you produce, and the amount of items you need to maintain."
When getting started on your sustainable journey, it's important to think about the ultimate goal and not just the process. Throwing out all your plastic toothbrushes and plastic bags just to buy eco-friendly options will defeat the purpose. Remember to Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Rot, Recycle, where recycling always comes last.
"There is no point throwing out all of your plastic food containers in favour of glass just to look more 'eco'," says Shayna.
"The best thing to do is buy less, buy better, and when it breaks, try and repair it before finally throwing it away. When you do need to replace items in your home, look for natural fibres that are well made, long-lasting items that you will want to take care of and treasure."
From little things, big things grow
As you start on your journey to reduce your footprint on the earth, keep in the back of your mind to do this at a pace that's sustainable. This will look different to everyone, but the goal is to be able to maintain your new habits long term.
"Whatever you try and change, it won't work if you change everything in your life at once – it's too big a lifestyle change. Start on a room at a time in your home. The bathroom is a great place to start. You could swap body wash to bar soap and facewipes with reusable wash cloths," says Shayna.
Even adopting a seemingly simple mindset will help you ingrain new habits into your life. Like saying "no thank you" when you're out and about. Offered a straw with your drink? Just say no!
Whatever you do, simply getting started with little things can go a long way. As these ladies have proven, starting small and choosing to change one thing at a time will ensure you are living the eco-friendly life and saving more money in no time!