"A less waste life is interchangeable with a self-sufficient life. It is the ability to feed, clean, clothe and house yourself independently without relying on a shop or corporation to do it for you."
I knew that ‘real life’ wasn’t like this and that I didn’t have magical abilities. However, the past few years I started wondering if I did have a magical ability after all.
You see, this amazing magic occurred when I bought a packet of chips or used some glad wrap. Once I had used it, I could magically make it disappear. POOF! Gone. It was such an amazing skill, I didn’t even realise I had it.
That was, until I saw my bin tipped over on the roadside. My chip packets, glad wrap, food scraps, paper towel, all my magical abilities strewn on the driveway.
We can often forget about the impact we have on our planet as individuals as well as a society. Just like we can forget about all the rubbish that we put in our bin, or forget about the 67 million tonnes of waste Australia generated between 2016-2017!
A less waste life is interchangeable with a self-sufficient life. It is the ability to feed, clean, clothe and house yourself independently without relying on a shop or corporation to do it for you. It often results in a mindset focussed on reducing (the unnecessary), reusing and recycling rather than buying, using, dumping. Can you clean your house without the shops? Can you wash your hair without the shops? Can you diaper your baby without the shops?
If your answer to any of the above is “no”, keep reading. We have some amazing simple swaps that can help you protect the environment, save money and find security and independence from ‘the shops’.
Swap Paper Towel for Cloths
Swap Bottled Cleaners for DIY Cleaners
Do you REALLY need a different spray for your bench, windows, toilet, clothes, etc. etc? Traditional cleaners in plastic bottles are not only harmful for the health of the planet but can be harmful your health as well. Each spray can contain hundreds of different chemicals and synthetic fragrances (don't believe me, read the back of a bottle right now!).
There are great DIY cleaning recipes with simple and natural ingredients all over the internet and in books. The great thing about them is that you can make them at home and control what you put in them, as well as they are multi-purpose. Oftentimes you can use the same combination for cleaning the bench as you can the toilet.
The swap to DIY cleaning products saves so much money and so much space! No longer cupboard full with bottles and sprays! You can also source your cleaning supplies and dry goods from a bulk food shop to avoid plastic. You can take your own jars and containers to fill and bring home.
This is a very simple swap. Instead of buying dryer sheets invest in a pack of wool dryer balls! Some wool dryer balls can last up to 1000 cycles and if they are completely organic, can be composted at the end of their life.
This is another very simple swap. Instead of sticky rollers or disposable clothes rollers, simply invest in a reusable lint brush or scraper and you're all set!
Swap Face Wipes and Cotton Rounds for Face Washers and Reusable Cotton Rounds
Before wasteful wipes, people used face washers to wash their faces... yes, face washers. Pretty self-explanatory. It may seem old-fashioned but it is still the best way to wash your face and remove dirt or make-up without waste. If you have sensitive skin you can invest in a fine cloth or delicate fabric.
We also recommend the swap to reusable cotton rounds. You can easily purchase a pack online or make your own from left-over cotton scraps or an old pair of pyjamas! Just keep reusing, washing and saving money!
Not only does liquid bottled soap contain high amounts of water, but in most cases the majority of brands add chemicals and additives as well. The easy swap is soap bars! Soap bars may seem old-fashioned, but they get the job done and with no waste at the end. We recommend sourcing natural soaps with no added chemicals or synthetic fragrances.
Swap Disposable Menstrual Products for Reusable Menstrual Products
Menstruation can be a very individual and sensitive topic, but it is healthy and normal and needs to be taken into consideration when it comes to reducing our waste.
Instead of Disposable Pads we recommend Reusable Pads and Period Underwear. Instead of Tampons we recommend Menstrual cups. There are so many fantastic brands emerging with different sizes, shapes and features. You will need to keep in mind that all of the above items will require some sort of care in relation to washing and reusing.
We understand that all bodies are different, and share the above as suggestions if you are seeking alternatives to disposables. This is a topic where lots of waste can be avoided but it will require individual research and trial.
Swap Disposable Nappies for Cloth Nappies
Cloth Nappies have advanced so much in the past few years. No longer are they just a cloth with pins, modern cloth nappies have all the modern features you could want to change size, shape and thickness!
Cloth nappies are fantastic because over time they will save you money and save all that plastic from going in the bin! Cloth nappies also save water (believe it or not!) as it takes more water to produce disposable nappies than it does to produce and wash cloth nappies for 2-3 years!
Swap Plastic Produce Bags for Reusable Produce Bags
Reusable produce bags are a very simple swap and it is a great 'beginner' swap or gift for someone wanting to start their sustainability journey.
If you love grabbing a quick bite when you're out and about, but don't love the waste involved, bring your own reusable utensils! There are so many compact and lightweight options these days that can fit into any sized bag. We do have Straws and Straw Cleaners you can check out.
We love the above swaps because they reduce waste, save so much money and are convenient. No more forgetting to buy paper towel or emergency trips to buy pads or nappies.
We need to be honest and say that in many cases the self-sufficient or low waste lifestyle does require effort from you in relation to washing and caring for your items... but the pros still outweigh the cons. Plus, the satisfaction and freedom it provides is absolutely priceless!
We encourage you to try ONE swap at a time and see how it makes you feel. Do you feel more prepared and secure? Do you feel in control? Do you feel thrifty and savvy? Do you feel... less guilty?
Head on over to our Facebook and Instagram to continue this self-sufficient conversation!
Progress over perfection!