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My Zero Waste Hacks

By Fredrica Syren: 

As we continue our zero waste journey, we have developed many hacks,which of course are just simple ideas for reducing waste. You can find many great zero waste hacks on social media. Here are some of my zero waste hacks that help reduce waste without too much effort.

 Use real stuff— I know this seems broad. What I mean is that we have given up disposable items like paper plates, plastic cups, bowls, napkins, etc. Plastic or Styrofoam cups and disposable dish ware and utensils may be more convenient, but theyre incredibly wasteful and they do end up in a landfill after parties or picnics. And we have invested in some flea market plates and silverware that work great when we have parties. And we use our regular plates and glasses as well, and — oh, yeah — it means more dishes for us to clean afterward. But nothing is more wasteful than disposable products.

 Cloth Paper Towels— Many years ago when I stopped using paper towels and decided to use cloth only, people thought I had lost my marbles. Here I was a stay-at-home mom with a 6-year-old, a 2-year-old and a newborn and no paper towels. Im so happy I made that leap because not only have we saved many trees over the years but also we have reduced waste and saved money. So,I always have a generous stack of cloth paper towelsin a kitchen drawer easily accessible to both us parents and our kids. What I love most about them (besides being zero waste, and saving money and trees) is that they are hard core and sturdy. I normally need only one towel for a big mess. I also use them for cleaning around the house, then just pop them into the laundry hamper. 

Mason jars to the rescue— For a zero waste family, there is no such thing as too many mason jars. They are great for so much: food storage, lunch boxes, smoothies, piggy banks (my kids), candle holders, vases, containers (instead of bags) when buying bulk food, clearly organizing dried foods in the pantry, housing homemade deodorant, and storing homemade household cleaners. Yes, the uses for mason jars are endless, so having lots and lots when going zero waste is the key. 

There are endless possibilities when it comes to mason jars. We have so many that my daughter’s jobis to organize them allonce a month, as you can see in this YouTube video.

 Beeswax Wraps— They are the best ever invention, if you ask me.Not only are they reusable and free of hormone-mimicking chemicals, but they are compostable. So, when broken or old, they simply can be tossed into the compost. We use beeswax wraps instead of zip lock bags, plastic wrap and foil.

 Be a diva and use a diva cupModern day menstrual pads and tampons have made feminine hygiene easier and more convenient. Unfortunately, as with most convenient things, they have a devastating effect on the environment as well as womens health because they contain lots of harmful chemicals. Instead, I use a diva cup and cloth panty liners.

 Plastic-free lunch boxes— I pack my kids’ lunches every day, and I do it zero waste style in reusable and plastic-free lunch boxes or thermal soup containers; and, of course, I send water in a reusable metal bottle, as well as cutlery and a cloth napkin. If I have to wrap food, I use either a cloth sandwich bag or beeswax wrap to ensure not ending up with unwanted waste.

 My advice for anyone going zero waste always is to take one step at a time, to enjoy the process, and to make it a family affair.

About Green Mom

Fredrica Syren, the author and founder of Green-Mom.com, was born in Sweden. Her mother was a classically trained chef who introduced her to many eclectic flavors and skills at a young age. Her mom’s passion for the outdoors and gardening planted the seed for her own love of nature and healthy eating. She received a degree in journalism and has worked as a print, Internet and broadcasting journalist for many years with big businesses within Europe and the United States. After her mom was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she with pre-cancer, Fredrica changed her career to become a full time yoga teacher and activist. A longtime world traveler, foodie and career woman, she was exposed to many facets of life, but nothing inspired her more than becoming a mom. After her first-born, Fredrica began a food blog focusing on local, seasonal, organic & vegetarian dishes. Years of food blogging developed into the cookbook Yummy in My Tummy, Healthy Cooking for the Whole Family. Upon the arrival of her second child, Fredrica founded Green-Mom.com. Her vision was to establish a site providing insight about gardening, home and personal care, baby & child, and of course food & nutrition. Green-Mom.com hosts many talented writers shedding light on ways to incorporate eco-friendly and nutritious practices for busy families. She is an advocate for organic, local and sustainable businesses. Fredrica hopes to inspire social change through her lifestyle, passion and business. Fredrica lives with her husband James Harker-Syren and their three children in San Diego, CA.

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