Five easy ways to reduce your waste in Greenwich￼
February 21, 2022
Many of the people who visit our store in Greenwich are new to the zero waste movement, and unsure about how to get started. We often end up having conversations with our new customers about how to reduce waste and shop consciously in their local area.
Next year, the Royal Borough of Greenwich is introducing changes to the way that household waste is managed. The council’s aim is to incentivise its residents to recycle more, and be more conscious of what they are throwing away. What better time to start thinking about reducing your waste?
With so many different stores out there, it is not always easy to know where to shop zero waste. But once you know where to look, reducing waste will easily become a part of your daily routine.
Our own journey with the zero waste movement started three years ago. We discovered Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home at our host’s house while on holiday. We always wanted to be more minimalist and were already conscious about what we consume, but this book was the clincher.
Over the last three years, we have learned a lot about the zero waste movement and how to reduce, reuse, and shop more consciously. Here are our top five tips to help you get started in Greenwich.
1. Start going to your local greengrocer or bakery to reduce packaging and food waste
Big supermarkets give you the convenience of buying everything from one place. But it doesn’t have to be more expensive or more difficult to do your shopping around the high street, because you pay to buy just as much as you need. You can even ask your local vendor if they can pack your produce using your reusable containers or bags.
Once you know where to go, you can easily start visiting local stores as part of your shopping routine, and reduce waste by shopping less and more sustainably.
The good news is that Greenwich is full of possibilities! There are bakeries, greengrocers, markets, and shops where you can buy high-quality products.
2. Choose loose fruits and vegetables to easily reduce single-use plastic waste
It is easy to reduce waste when shopping for fresh produce. Take reusable bags to the shop, as many as you need to pack your produce tidily. Greengrocers will often sell their produce loose. But even larger stores offer both packed and loose fruits and vegetables.
Some large stores offer their own light-weight veggie bags, often made from recycled materials. So you can easily start reducing waste, even at the supermarket.
What about milk? You can cut down waste by finding a local service that delivers milk to your home. The glass bottles that are used for milk deliveries are sterilised and reused for other deliveries.
3. Buy second hand to waste less money
There are charity shops on every high street where you can find things in near-perfect condition. You can get electrical appliances and large furniture items in some charity stores. And you can buy just about any second hand item online. You can even get things for free at local initiatives like FreeCycle or on NextDoor.
Buying second hand helps reduce waste by reusing perfectly serviceable goods, and it is always cheaper than buying these items new.
The bonus of only buying second hand is that you could start consuming less overall. You may start to appreciate quality, and even start to care less about discounts, sales, and impulse-buys. This is what happened to us when we started buying our clothes almost exclusively at second hand shops.
4. Start making your own products to reduce the chemicals you use at home and waste less packaging
Greenwashing is a tactic that makes the consumer think they are making ethical buying choices when in fact they are not.
If you want to use less chemicals at home and confidently reduce waste, you can start making the things you need at home.
We have been making things like cleaning powders, toothpaste, and even makeup at home. We buy simple ingredients and combine them to make what we need, when we need it. At first it was trial and error of course, and it didn’t always feel easy. But once you find a recipe that works, you won’t look back.
5. Start reducing waste one step at a time
The most important thing when you start to reduce waste or decide to go zero waste is to manage your expectations.
Be patient when you start reducing waste in your life. It does not happen overnight.
When we first decided to go zero waste, had to use up all the things that we already had at home. When our many shampoos and cleaning products started running out, we replaced them with more sustainable, chemical-free options.
Don’t think that because you can’t become zero waste tomorrow, it’s not worth doing. Anything you do to cut down on waste is a positive thing for the environment, your wellbeing, and your pocket.
Visit us in our shop in Greenwich!
Visit our shop in beautiful Greenwich Market and fill up your empty containers with sustainable, organic, fair-trade and eco products: rice, pasta, legumes, pulses, beans, nuts, cereal, seeds, herbs, spices, baking, snacks, chocolate, tea, coffee, oil, vinegars, household and cleaning, hygiene and beauty, and much more.