Sam and Dom Moleta, owners of one of SA’s first zero waste grocers, The Refillery, spent six years working in the yacht industry, and saw first-hand the impact plastic waste has on the oceans. Vowing to make a difference, they share their tips for a zero waste lifestyle.
First and foremost, be realistic. ‘As the inspiring Bea Johnson says, we may never reach the zero in Zero Waste but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.’
Be a conscious consumer. By simply being aware that what you buy adds to the world’s consumerism problem, you can have a positive effect.
Ban single-use. Choose to reuse what you have, reinvent it, repurpose it, refill it and recycle it when it finally comes to the end of its life. Buy unpackaged fruit and veg. Only ever use reusable shopping bags.
Support small businesses that empower people and grow our economy.
Shop local. Or second-hand. Every single item we own has a carbon footprint. Reduce that by not adding shipping. It’s even better if it’s been used before and is now finding new life instead of going to a landfill. Mend things and donate or sell what you no longer use. You don’t have to search far to find charities looking for donations. Sell stuff on Facebook Marketplace, Gumtree or at Cash Crusaders and give someone the opportunity to buy second-hand. Donate old books and textbooks to a second-hand bookstore, the library or a local school.
Watch what you eat. The commercial food industry is not environmentally friendly so go Flexitarian. Take part in Meat-Free Mondays, add one vegan day into your week, or simply cut out beef. Another eco-tip is to make enough food for leftovers, which means you don’t have to cook a new meal from scratch every day – hooray to that!
Zero-tox. Chemicals make things expensive, are packaged in plastic and negatively affect our health, water supply and the planet. They’re also not necessary. Opt for chemical-free cosmetics and cleaning products, or make your own out of common, non-toxic household ingredients.
Be water wise. Share baths, take shorter showers, invest in a water-saving shower head and flush like a Capetonian. Use a dish washer instead of hand washing – but only run it when it’s fully packed. Rinse vegetables in a bowl of water, then use it to water the garden.
Switch off your lights and unplug all your unused appliances. The substantial reduction in your monthly electricity bill will be an added bonus.
Compost. This significantly cuts waste while also creating a positive product for your garden.
For further inspiration, tips and advice in living a low-impact life, and to order from the store, click on therefillery.co.za
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