Recycling Thrifty

I’m A Zero Waste Week Ambassador: Am I Green Enough?

May 24, 2015 by

I was recently offered the opportunity to become a Zero Waste Week ambassador. In case you haven’t heard of it before, Zero Waste Week is an annual event and runs from 7th – 13th September this year. It was designed to encourage people to think about the amount of stuff they let go to waste while also helping them to cut back where possible. Since I already have a keen interest in being environmentally friendly, I leapt at the chance to help.

I’m definitely no angel when it comes to sustainability, but I do try to be kind to the environment where possible. In this blog post I’m going to run through a few of the eco-friendly things I already do and a few of the things I could be better at. If you decide to take part in Zero Waste Week or fancy getting started now, hopefully this will give you one or two ideas.

Things I’m good at

Shopping at charity shops

As regular readers of this blog will already know, I don’t half love charity shops. Over the last few months I found myself turning my back on the high street and buying the clothes I need second hand whenever possible. With a holiday to Tunisia just a few weeks away, I’ll confess to a few recent trips to high street shops, but my suitcase is mostly going to be filled with things I’ve owned for years or have thrifted from charity shops or family members. I can’t wait to share my outfit photos with you when I return!

Rehousing my old clothes

As well as shopping second hand as much as possible, when I’m done with an item of clothing, I refuse to throw it away. I’ll either sell it on eBay, a car boot sale, or hand it to a charity shop. While I haven’t done the following myself yet, another way to find a new home for your old clothes could involve handing an item or two to a homeless person on the street or donating a bag to a refuge for domestic violence victims.

Low product consumption

When it comes to using toiletries and make up, I like to think I buy far less than the average person. I also try to make sure that make up doesn’t go to waste. When I was studying for an art degree, I spent my final year using old cosmetics, fake tan and unwanted bottles of hair dye to paint portraits. It was great fun and a brilliant alternative to actual paint.

I recently promised to switch from bottled hair products to dry shampoo bars. I go through so much shampoo and conditioner that I feel like I’m not doing the environment any favours bottle-wise, so I’ve decided to make the switch and see how I get on. Keep an eye out for a blog post about this, I’ll be writing about it as soon as I return from my holiday. Taking shampoo bars on your travels is a great suitcase space saving trick!

Not driving

Although I can drive, I’ve never owned a car. I probably could afford to run one if I wasn’t saving up for a deposit, but I really don’t need one anyway. There’s no point getting a car for the sake of it when the bus, tram or my bike will suffice. While my frugality is the primary reason for not getting my own set of wheels, I guess it’s also kinda eco-friendly of me too.

Things I need to improve

Upcycling more

A few months ago I took on my first upcycling project after finding a broken chair left on the pavement. It felt great to give it a new lease of life and I can’t wait to get my first house and fill it with upcycled furniture. The only problem is that I haven’t managed to find any more damaged furniture in need of some TLC just yet!

Recycling on the go

I do sometimes find myself throwing empty cans of Diet Coke in the bin while I’m on the go. I guess to an extent this is just the most practical option, but I’m going to try and avoid this. Perhaps if I’m really craving a coke while out and about I should opt for a bottle so that I can screw the lid back on and reuse it.

Cutting down on unnecessary wrappers

Every morning I’ll make myself a ham roll to eat on the bus on my way to work. I’ll wrap it in a sandwich bag or cling film before throwing the plastic in the bin when I get to the office. I could easily avoid this by using a Tupperware tub instead. Despite cutting down my chocolate consumption in a bid to lose weight, I do feel bad throwing chocolate bar wrappers in the bin. I wonder whether there is a more eco-friendly option that won’t put Cadburys out of business. (I still eat a lot of Twirls)

Being creative

I recently started volunteering at a charity shop where I learned how the manager avoids throwing damaged donations away as much as possible. Sometimes she’ll re-purpose something or suggest a new use for it. I’m hoping to take lots of inspiration from her and implement these creative habits both at the charity shop and at home.

Do you have any environmentally friendly habits? Let me know in the comments below. Zero Waste Week runs from the 7th – 13th September, but there’s nothing to stop you reducing waste straight away. If you’ve got any thrifty green tips, I’d love to hear from you.

How Eco Friendly Are You

Photo Credits: Steve Snodgrass. Creative Commons.

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  • I made sandwich wrappers out of fused plastic last year during zero waste week, great fun and takes a lot less space in your bag once you have eaten your sandwich than a Tupperware:)
    Love your idea re makeup, I recently finished a lipstick I bought 10years ago – suspect you are not meant to keep them that long!!

  • Inspiring article for sure! I am trying to follow the steps of the zero waste life and till now I think I am doing well. I do not use any plastic bags or cups. I also make my own shampoo and body lotion. These are just small part of the things I do and I think that I am walking in the right direction!

  • Thanks for giving zero waste week a leg up – I appreciate it! I loved reading about all the amazing things you are doing. It helps us more to consider our lifestyles and see where we could improve – along with an opportunity for a high five for all the great things we’re doing 😀

  • Katie

    If you are looking for more furniture to upcycle: some of the larger charities have specific shops for furniture, e.g the British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK and Bethany’s. You could also try freegle or freecycle, both websites where you can get different goodies for free and some will need a bit of TLC to make them desirable again or as Chrissie said: what could they be used for or turned into 😉 enjoy your holiday!

  • It has to be the tuppaware thing as they are great for packed lunches and for freezing sauces and meals in individual portions when you have made a giant batch. Metal tins that sweets and chocolate or gift items come in are great for keeping food fresh as well rather than buying those big tupaware boxes. Using various things as plant pots. We use two big German steins as vases. Basically not looking at an object as what it SHOULD but as what it COULD be – my repurposing motto. I love your idea of creating art with old makeup – brilliant! The blokes sporty sandal snapped so he got one of those small wiry bulldog clips and fixed it so you can’t even tell! Having a small odds and sods draw helps a lot! Those black plastic wire ties that seem to be part of all packaging, they are so useful.