How to reduce waste – the planning phase

How to reduce waste – the planning phase

We have answered why we should reduce waste in the previous post.
Let us start doing – reducing the waste. As gurus in every field say: There is a big difference between knowing and doing. And learning by doing is the best way forward. This post will give answer on the approach of the question, how to reduce waste.

The project

This will be at least one week project and I will go from there.

During the week I will count the daily produced amount of waste.
At the end of the week, the results will be counted, experience will be outlined and posted.

Few things that cross my mind, before the start of the project.

Who is in charge of the kitchen in the house – most waste comes out of there. If my “better half” is not cooperating, it might get tricky.
Who is in charge of purchases in the house – this is how the most waste comes in. The same applies.


I also want to be rational in terms of the time, meaning, the new routine must not jeopardize the responsibilities we have and must be financially neutral, at least in the long run. I will take into account the learning curve and expect that some things will take longer to do (for instance cooking at home rather than buy ready food) and some things might be more expensive (like buying a filter for tap water).


There must be many inconveniences that come with possible changes. I will list those that come to my mind. First is internal pressure about completing the project. The goal is to go lower in the weight of waste by a substantial fraction, 25% at least. The second is that it is completely uncharted territory and I will learn as I go by using the information available online and my own best reasoning.

Further, some things will need to be addressed during the project.

Updating purchase habits from typical grocery stores to bulk stores and farmers markets. Meaning, I will have to find new stores and as with every new thing, it will take time. Current grocery stores are so comfy, I know exactly where and what to buy, right?

Changing and acquiring tare, reusable bags, jars, bottles and some other stuff (which are things). I also will have to carry them into the stores. How will I look with all these jars and insulated bottles? How much they weight and will I overpay for food?

The peer pressure, does my partner will cooperate? To what extent, will it create friction? What others might think? Stupid question that arises all the time when I start a new thing.

The feeling of guilt or shame. Will I feel guilty if I do not succeed in reducing waste? Will I feel ashamed if somebody points finger at me?

The learning curve and impatience. There is so much I don’t know. Will I make it through and reduce waste, will i be able to prove it with data? Or will I get back to business as usual?

The costs, associated with this project, I have to plan it in written form. Will it be cheaper or more expensive?

The lost time, will it be worth the effort? What if I am too lazy to do it?

Documenting the things and putting it all on paper.

Too many inconveniences and too many worries. I bet you can add some more things here. These things come to our mind in every shape or form at the beginning of any undertaking.

Starting something new

We will do it anyway.

When is the last time I did something completely new? It does not have to be perfect, I merely have to start.

I did use a reliable source on initial guidance by looking at Bea’s Jhonson Zero Waste Home tips. I am still looking for a man’s (to compare and widen the approach) zero-waste world, if you have any good resource, please let me know in the comments below.

The tips I will use are in the following domains: Kitchen, Bathroom, Closet, Cleaning. Do’s, Dont’s and new things to apply. Here they are.

The Kitchen

Introduce in the kitchen: reusable rugs, cotton bags, stainless containers, and bottles, glass or metal jars, compostable cleaning brush, liquid soap, beeswax wraps, pressure cooker.

Do not allow in the kitchen (if you did, then reuse as long as possible): garbage liners, paper towels, wax paper, aluminum sheets, disposable plates, and cups.

Start doing in the kitchen: buy in bulk, make food yourself, check tap water, filter it, use baking soda as a scrubber, turn trash can into compost keeper (what about smell it can produce?).

The Bathroom

Introduce in the bathroom: recycled toilet paper or electrical washlet, baking soda as deodorant and toothpaste, wooden reusable toothbrush, safety razor or electrical shaver, package-free solid soap.

Do not allow in the bathroom: Plastic stuff.

Start doing in the bathroom: Refill bottles with bulk shampoo and conditioner.

The Closet

Start doing the closet: Buy second-hand clothing. Buy with unconditional warranty. Thinking out loud, what are the most durable clothes? It must be good to buy t-shirts that last for 10 years. Repair the cloth or the things that are about to be thrown away.

The Cleaning

Introduce in cleaning: metal scourer, wooden brush, an old toothbrush for hard to reach places, wet rags, dishwasher detergent, houseplants.

Start doing in cleaning: Natural cleaning alternatives with castile soap and white vinegar.

Out of the project scope.

Intuitively these domains create most of my waste and there are others I will not cover yet and will postpone for later. Other domains that are not listed here: cars (not everyone will give up a driving an (electrical) car and flying with planes), house appliances and repair services in and around the house, sports and body fitness, office, healthcare, entertainment, eating out, parties with friends, taking care of pets, gardening (if you have a garden) and the list goes on. It looks like the whole thing will have to be re-engineered and the task seems a bit daunting.

Stay tuned for the next posts and leave us comment for what we have missed.

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