Many of you have noticed that being nature-friendly, zero-waste, or low-waste is accompanied by endless learning. Yes, it is a journey, and there is no shame in not knowing! This learning is doubled by leading an ecological household.
It is really important not to compare your journey with anyone else’s, only to be inspired by others. We want to enjoy our journey. The key thing is that each step on our journey happens in its own time. It is not necessary to force ourselves into something that doesn’t feel right. The right time will come!
I wrote my e-book, 12 Pillars of a Wasteless Life, published in November 2018 (Czech version only for now), and I feel now is the time to fill some gaps.
Here are 5 more tips that I recommend:
1. Handkerchiers, not tissues
I first planned to buy used handkerchiefs in a secondhand shop, but in the end I bought them in a local shop. The ones I purchased were made in the Czech Republic, and although they were in plastic packaging, I still think it was worth the money.
I wanted reusable handkerchiefs because when we use single-use tissues, they cannot be recycled and we throw them in the garbage immediately. The process of producing single-use tissues requires extra energy, resources, and they are even dyed to be white. Using cotton handkerchiefs that we can wash with our laundry is, according to some sources, like Green Lifestyle Magazine, 7 times better for the environment.
2. Wet hands will dry.
When I wash my hands at home, I dry them with a cotton towel or clean kitchen cloth. When I am in a cafe, restaurant, or anywhere outside the house, there are usually two options: single-use paper towels and a hand dryer.
Recently, I decided to completely stop using single-use towels, but I also don’t want to use more energy than necessary. I realized quickly that when I shake the water from my hands, they dry really quickly. Of course when it’s really cold outside, using the dryer can be beneficial, but I decided to let my hands air dry for the most part to eliminate extra waste and energy usage.3
3. Shop creatively.
When I returned to the Czech Republic, I started seeing many vegetables wrapped in plastic packaging. I knew I couldn’t avoid it completely until I found a farmer and a good source of delivery (or until Spring!).
I took this dilemma as a creative cooking challenge. I bought what food was available without packaging. In January, this was white and purple cabbage, fennel, cauliflower, and sweet potatoes. Although our choices were limited, I managed to cook enough variations and varieties of meals to satisfy our diverse tastes.
4. Soak grains for shorter cooking time.
I admit, this trick requires focus and time to get used to, but once you learn this habit, you will have no regrets. At night, I soak my grains, rice, legumes, chickpeas, or whatever I want to cook the next day.
By soaking them overnight, grains and legumes are activated – just like a seed that we water. This process helps awaken its active substances. Soaking legumes will help us absorb their nutrients, and dramatically decrease our cooking time, which will save energy in the long run.
Zero waste is also about electronics.
5. Switch it off.
When you go to bed, switch them off. The same goes for Wi-Fi. We practice this every night in our home for many reasons: it saves some energy, we extend the lifetime of our appliances, and improve the quality of our sleep.
For some people this may be an automatic response when not using an electronic device, but I still feel it’s worth mentioning. The appliances in your home that do not need to be active at night can easily be attached to an extension cord.
Appliances on standby mode and Wi-Fi influence our health, slowly and invisibly. If you are interested in this topic, I recommend reading about the concept of electrosmog on swissharmony.com.
Do what you can!
Were these interesting tips? If you have more, they are absolutely welcome, so please share them with us.
Have a beautiful day,
Translation with the help of Ellie Farrier