The year is 2021 and things are looking good. The people are boycotting fast fashion, buying products made out of recycled or plant-based material, eating less animal products, considering their environmental impact while travelling, putting their waste in the proper bins and being more mindful of their purchasing power. The zero waste movement has never been better. Well… sort of. While topics like “Upcycling” and “Sustainable Fashion” were up by 350 and 200 percent respectively in Google Trends in 2020, and increasing amounts of independent zero waste stores popping up worldwide within the past few years, worldwide, the amount of waste generated is still expected to grow dramatically. Under a business-as-usual scenario, the World Bank estimates that we will see a 70% increase in global waste production by 2050.
Image via unsplash
We at Bruized, however, are optimistic that in the next few years, it won’t be business-as-usual. Virtually no business is currently operating under usual conditions, thanks to the pandemic, but also thanks to the shift in consumer demand. More than ever before, the people want to know the details! Where the raw materials come from, who makes them and under what conditions. Besides using their purchasing power to demand change, individuals are also taking a look within, and analyzing their habits around consumption in their home. Many of us had big dreams and goals for 2021 to be a whole lot better than 2020 and we definitely think it will be. However, we also predict that the unpredictable will happen and basically, we’ve all learned last year that you just have to take life as it comes sometimes.
All this being said, we wanted to give you a few ideas of how you can reduce your waste without having to leave your house and maybe step into 2021 being all the more conscious of how to consume and dispose of belongings. We asked our marketing manager, Eva Perchanok, to share her top tips.
1) Dispose of things properly
This is something that I definitely have fallen off of from time to time, whether it be from the busyness of life (“I don’t have time to scrub the oil out of that peanut butter jar and recycle it properly”), or the avoidance of making the effort to look up how something should be disposed of (“This bag says compostable but can it be composted in my jurisdiction?”). Don’t get me wrong - as a consumer, it can totally get exhausting having to always be on the ball- if you’re not used to it. However making it a small habit to make the effort in determining how I can dispose of things properly really does help the waste stream, and eventually, it doesn’t become a nuisance - it becomes the way of life! And as a bonus it can give you a sense of accomplishment and pride for doing your part.
2) DIY before you Buy
Needing to restock on household items such as cleaners, paper towels, snacks bars, or lotions? A quick google search will get some ideas of ways you could make your own items from things you might already have at home! Plus, you can tailor your needs to suit your preferences, you don’t have to spend money and you don’t need to create more waste from packaging!
Image via unsplash
Here’s my favourite household cleaner recipe:
- ½ cup white vinegar (distilled)
- ½ water
- 12-24 drops of essential oil (optional)
- Mix all the ingredients in a spray bottle and you’re good to go!
- Alternatively you can use citrus peels or even branches from a Christmas tree for the scent, but you will want to let these soak in the mixture for about three weeks to let the scent come out.
Ambiance is obviously not an essential for everyone, but for some (me) it really helps keep a positive mental atmosphere. Especially spending so much time at home these days, having a space that feels calm, peaceful and uncluttered really helps to cope with the lack of different spaces we might normally be in if we weren't at home so much! I really like having plants in my space, for the vibes and also to keep the indoor air healthy and a bit more humid. For some time I was a bit of a serial plant buyer, which led me to have just a few more plants that I could keep track of and water properly, leading them to die. Now I focus on buying plants that fit my lifestyle such as once that can take pretty good care of themselves such as cactuses, aloe vera and pothos. I’ve started propagating my pothos plant, which is so easy and adds a ton more extra green in my room without having to spend any money.
Image via unsplash
4) Trading and Seeking Secondhand
Although most thrift stores have been closed for long periods of time in the past year, it is still possible to search for second hand items, and avoid making a quick purchase on Amazon or a fast fashion, or big box store. Facebook marketplace, Kijiji, and Ebay are all still holding strong, as well as many secondhand clothing apps and websites such as threadup or depop. There are also many buy and sell Facebook groups, trading apps such as Bunz and easy ways to contact large groups such as a Facebook status update/question, or a quick post on Instagram stories. It may take a little more time to go through people's posts, but you never know what you’ll find and sometimes it’s just what you needed!
5) Use the Food
A simple way to reduce your at-home food waste is to use every bit of your food to the fullest amount. Got leftover scraps of veggies (i.e. mushroom ends, cut offs of garlic and onion, broccoli or kale stems)? Keep 'em’ in a container in the freezer and when you have at least a handful of stuff, boil them in some water for at least two hours, add some salt and any other seasonings you like and you got yourself some home-made broth. Another great way of reducing your food waste is to get in the habit of taking a quick inventory of what you already have before you get groceries. This helps reduce overbuying and might give you some new recipe ideas.
6) Tap into your resources
What I mean by this is use what you already have or what is easily available to you without having to purchase anything new. I recently used a piece of old fabric as string to hang some sage to dry in my house, which both worked perfectly and looked really nice. Instead of buying new books, why not use the library? It is free and many libraries now have apps where you can rent ebooks, and audiobooks, which I love listening to while doing chores and going on my daily walk. Many of us have holey clothes, and paper scraps that at first glance we might think to toss, but with a little creativity, most things can be upcycled into something new and I guarantee you will feel very proud of yourself after doing so.
I hope some of these tips resonated with you and inspired you to get creative with what you already own! Sometimes DIY can be daunting so don’t beat yourself up if things don’t go quite right. Find the fun and intention of caring for your belongings and one way or another things will fall into place. And as always, feel free to tag Bruized in any ways you #fighfoodwaste - we’d love to see what you come up with!
- The index of zero-waste supermarkets. (2020, October 23). Retrieved February 04, 2021, from https://www.bepakt.com/
- Kaza, Silpa; Yao, Lisa C.; Bhada-Tata, Perinaz; Van Woerden, Frank. 2018. What a Waste 2.0 : A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050. Urban Development;. Washington, DC: World Bank. © World Bank. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/30317 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.