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Steps towards zero waste - 2019

edited 30 November -1 at 1:00AM in Old Style MoneySaving
358 replies 49.8K views


  • We are also intending to cut down on meat consumption in 2019. Don't want to go fully veggie, but eating less meat will help our waistlines, wallet and the environment

    I would agree, we do eat meat with most main meals. It isn't the best, just don't have a lot of confidence in making the shift. I'd be happy if we could reduce the amount of meat, as totally agree meat is not good for the environment.

  • IlonaIlona Forumite
    2.4K posts
    I made some re usable drawstring cloth gift bags, using offcuts of cotton material. Sold some at our Christmas Fair. not many though, 25p each. I gave a lot away to friends after. I think it will take a while for people to get used to them.


    I love skip diving.
  • Grouchy, thanks for the link, southing to read with my cup of tea :)

    I'm with you re consumerism.
    I don't know if you have read 'A life less throwaway' by Tara Button? If not I'd recommend it. It made me think a lot about the impact of advertising and also of the use of planned obsolescence.

    I still have such a long way to go though, I still got sucked into buying too much in the way of presents before Christmas. You have done a great job making such big changes!

    I did a little print for my office, by using the old poem, and adding a verse of my own. It is a helpful reminder every day when I'm working. Keep thinking every little change will add up, and then when I go wrong to dust myself off and try again!


    Ilona, those bags are fabulous! I'd have bought them from you if I'd been at that fair!

  • VJsmumVJsmum Forumite
    6K posts
    Ninth Anniversary 1,000 Posts Photogenic I've been Money Tipped!
    dragonlily wrote: »
    Wrapping gifts for people

    I don't know if anybody has tried this but in Japan they often wrap gifts in fabric, which can then be reused. I haven't tried this yet but have found a vintage square silk scarf in a charity shop with a lovely pattern so will give it a try :)

    How do you wrap your gifts?


    I am definitely going to do this next year - at least for the gifts within my own family. I have a stash of paper still for outside gifts that will last a few years yet. Aldi were selling ribbon at half price yesterday, so i have bought four rolls of that for embellishing pressies, rather than those plastic cob types.
    The kitchen is the one area where we have made the most gains. We invested in lidded pyrex bowls and silicon can covers which have allowed us to drastically reduce our use of cling film.

    THESE have been great for cheese and cold cuts

    Towards the end of the year I started buying larger pots of yoghurt instead of the individual serving pots. This year I want to take it a step further and get back into using my easiyo.

    Once I have used up my shower gel stash I want to switch to bar soap

    Same with the yogurt. i have a lakeland yogurt maker and the strainer to make greek yogurt, so i am going back to using that - it will save two large plastic pots a week. I am also going to experiment with how to flavour it for DD, anyone got any ideas?
    Ilona wrote: »
    I made some re usable drawstring cloth gift bags, using offcuts of cotton material. Sold some at our Christmas Fair. not many though, 25p each. I gave a lot away to friends after. I think it will take a while for people to get used to them.



    These are fab, Ilona. can't believe people didn't buy them. I am on the hunt for suitable materials. I hadn't thought of offcuts. i wonder if hobbycraft are selling any christmas themed fabric cheap?

    I have started using beeswax wrap in place of cling film and also have some silicon can and bowl covers. I do have a couple of rolls of clingfilm still, but hope not to need any more - ever.. I also have nylon vegetable bags to use in the supermarket but am also planning to visit our local market and / or farm shop more for fruit and veggies.

    My friend, who I visited last week, has started making eco bricks with non recyclable plastic wrap, but I am not sure what you do with it when it's full? Or whether it's donatable....

    I also don't think I will ever have a suitable stash of bottles to fill. i think it's probably better to just cut down on such wrap - although it isn't easy...
    I wanna be in the room where it happens
  • tori.ktori.k Forumite
    3.6K posts
    They are beautiful Ilona, you really are the clever bunny we kinda been doing the same reusing gift bags each year for the very few gifts we give
    Grouchy wrote: »

    I've found if I don't buy X I won't have to be thinking about recycling it. And for other things have found substitutes for many things.

    For me, change has been stepping away from consumerism in tandem with cutting waste, they really go together I think.

    Still a way to go for me though ...

    ^ this is the truth of the sorting the issue, I've read so many threads where its ended up so unproductive with throwing out all the plastic and replacing with reusable, when the easiest and cheapest way to limit waste is to just stop buying.
    It never ends I have a handle on my landfill waste but still recycling way more than im happy with. I have enough plastic containers to see my life out, im lucky that Christmas is now not much different then a normal week as my kids have grown and cash is king.
    Principles do cost I don't save money limiting waste as we try and limit food miles on all our purchases and that tends to negate any savings but over the year it averages out.
    Im so excited for you to be on this journey it will challenge you in ways you wont expect.
    Best of luck
  • IlonaIlona Forumite
    2.4K posts
    VJsmum wrote: »

    These are fab, Ilona. can't believe people didn't buy them. I am on the hunt for suitable materials. I hadn't thought of offcuts. i wonder if hobbycraft are selling any christmas themed fabric cheap?

    You can get some nice fabric from charity shops or car boot sales. Look for cotton frocks, skirts, childrens clothes, and mens shirts. If you use Christmas themed fabric the bags can only be used for Christmas gifts. If you use floral multi coloured the bags can be used for any occasion.

    You don't want to be paying out for new fabric, that defeats the object of money saving.

    I love skip diving.
  • CaterinaCaterina Forumite
    5.9K posts
    I've been Money Tipped!
    I am so happy to see this thread, thank you dragonlily for starting it. It's a very important topic and one that, as you found out, doesn't seem to have been explored yet on the OS forum. So appropriate for this forum!

    I feel like I have banged on about the negative impact of plastic for decades, only for people's eyes roll and glaze. Only when Attenborough showed the impact of it on Blue Planet, it became national news and not a second too soon!

    After all these years of trying to live plastic-free I have a few points to make, hope they are useful to others attempting to go this way.

    It is not possible, in the Western world, to live 100% plastic-free because it permeates every aspect of our lives. So just do your best, taking it a step at a time aiming to improve but do not despair if sometimes it doesn't work.

    It is really expensive, and not always accessible to people on low income, people with disabilities, people living in remote places, to mention some, to eliminate plastic completely. But there are actions that most people can take.

    I won't make a list here because there are so many "what to do" lists kicking around now that this is a widely spoken about topic.

    I just wanted to say, really, do your best, spread the word, make your voice heard, stay informed. More and more businesses are taking on board the requests of customers to be more responsible about packaging etc.

    Good luck on this journey!
    Finally I'm an OAP and can travel free (in London at least!).
  • Happy_OneHappy_One Forumite
    89 posts
    Third Anniversary
    Ilona, loved your bags and would have bought loads at 25p each. When my kids were young,many years ago, I used to make bags like yours in all different sizes to use for storage, especially good for Lego bricks!
    Used to use curtains from jumble sales, very cheap back in the day.
  • RicardaRacoonRicardaRacoon Forumite
    345 posts
    Fifth Anniversary 100 Posts I've been Money Tipped!
    Hello everyone

    Can I join in please? I will never be a zero waste guru with a years worth of waste in a jar... Not least because most of my waste is generated by my cats... But I make small changes along the way and try to avoid plastic where I can.

    wrapping paper; for those of you who still want to use wrapping paper, IK€A has brown paper with a print on it that can be recycled. I'm still using up ribbons, but once I will have parted with all of that I will move to natural string or just left over yarn, I might just throw all the mini-left-overs in christmassy colours into a box during the year and use them for gift wrapping.

    WellPreserved, what a shame, although I can in a way understand them that it is just too much of an effort....

    cling film... This is one of the things I never thought I could go without a few years back and now totally can. I realised this year that I didn't even used it for christmas baking. Dough that had to rest in the fridge went in there in a bowl with a lid, the ones that had to go into the freezer first were wrapped in baking parchament that I later reused for baking and for the very sticky dough a ton of icing sugar on the surface and rolling pin did the trick.
    I am guilty for buying two huge packs of ziplock plastic bags lately though, but after I found clothes motts in my knitting yarn I decided to put my yarn in bags. But since they don't get dirty I can just use them for years.

    Illona, the bags are lovely!

    I sometimes find it hard to avoid waste because it colides with another thing. For example, I try to only buy organic dairy and eggs. We have someone selling cheese and eggs from a van once a week and I could get everything into my own container. But it isn't organic... So I decided to value animal wellfare over reducing waste in that matter.
    Resolution for 2020 "Live better on less" - Less stuff, less waste, less silly spends but more make do and mend and more fun
    Fashion on the Ration: 0/66 coupons used
  • KatiehoundKatiehound Forumite
    5.3K posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker Rampant Recycler
    dragonlily wrote: »
    Have you tried buying your meat and cheese yet from the supermarket without packaging (from the counter). I have been thinking of going and trying and haven't yet built up the nerve, or thought through how).

    I noticed a few weeks ago the Morrisons had a notice on the door that said you could take your own containers to the fish & meat counter to avoid the use of plastic bags. I don't go in that often so don't know if anyone does it!
    Being polite and pleasant doesn't cost anything!
    If you found my posting helpful please hit the "Thanks" button!
    Many thanks

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