Zero-effort habits for a zero-waste life


According to one YouGov poll, Brits place air pollution and climate change as the second most urgent global health issue, with the concern over bacteria and parasites becoming resistant to antibiotics nudging into the top spot by only five per cent.

Despite the fact people seem aware and understand the dangers of climate change, less than half of household waste was recycled between 2016-2017. Being eco-friendly is often deemed as something of a chore — from the complexity of the recycling system to simple bad habits when it comes to eco-friendly living. But it doesn’t need to be difficult. In fact, there are some habits that are not only easy, but are actually less effort than the standard practice.

Stop shampooing your hair

No, we’re not advocating the decline of personal hygiene. No one will thank you for that, and telling Sandra in the office that your over-ripe musk is a side-effect of saving the planet just won’t cut it.

Ditching the shampoo, however, doesn’t mean you have to forgo being clean. You’re forgoing plastic bottles, chemicals, and an extra step in your shower routine. That way, you don’t need to figure out the recycling aspect of whether or not the bottle cap and label can be recycled. You don’t need to worry about the potentially environmentally unfriendly chemicals washing away down the drain.

Be bold! Ditch the shampoo. It might take a few weeks to a few months for your hair to settle down (after all, it’ll be used to the oil-stripping nature of shampoo and potentially be over-compensating in the sebum department). But you’ll be left with health, chemical-free, environmentally friendly hair that doesn’t smell or dry out. Plus, your shower routine will drop a step and your shopping list will lose an item. Win-win-win!

Do all your shopping from the sofa

Let’s face it, shopping online is the epitome of lazy. You can be in your pyjamas with a coffee and order your weekly food shop, your clothing, your household décor, a log cabin for the garden…everything! No need to get up, get dressed, make yourself semi-presentable and get in the car to trundle down to the shops.

Well, now, you can proudly declare that your sofa-based, dressing-gown shopping habits are environmentally friendly. There’s a number of reasons for this:

  • Less cars heading to the supermarket carpark means less emission in the air — instead, one delivery van is heading to a number of houses in your local area.
  • Less chance of impulse buys means less chance of food excess and waste when you throw it out later in the week.
  • You can easily click around the website to find out how sustainable the products you’re buying are. For example, you can check whether or not the materials are sustainable or from a reputable source that works alongside an environment charity. This information can be quite difficult to find in-store!

Do this meal plan one day a week:

What you eat can have a huge effect on the overall environmental health of the planet. You don’t need to overhaul your diet entirely or give up bacon for the rest of your life. Take a look at this example of a standard day’s offerings:

  • Breakfast — Cereal and toast. Cup of coffee.
  • Lunch — Jacket potato topped with coleslaw, side of fries/salad.
  • Dinner — Macaroni cheese
  • Snacks — Fruit or a cheeky bit of chocolate!

Seems pretty standard. Nothing that requires any great culinary skill; tasty classics, and easy to make. They’re also all meat-free! Meat production has a hefty cost environment-wise, so having a day off from meat is beneficial in reducing this impact. It doesn’t need to be a ‘Thing’ either — the above proves that you could absolutely go a day without meat without trying!

Go talk to your grandparents

Old people are a wealth of knowledge. Plus, you get spoilt at your grandparents’ house, so it’s always worth a trip to see them, right?

On a more environmental note though, your grandparents had a very different upbringing than you. They lived a ‘make do and mend’ lifestyle, so if anyone can tell you tips and tricks to not buy new things and instead, mend what your have or find reusable alternatives, it’s your grandparents! According to blogger Shia Su, the Wasteland Rebel, even something as little as using a hanky instead of a disposable tissue is a nod to her grandparents’ greener approach.

As you can see, making environmentally conscious choices into simple daily habits doesn’t mean exerting extra effort. Sometimes, it can actually be less effort to the greener thing: so hop to it!