Low Waste Lockdown

Sunny Jar Eco Hub, zero waste initiative, East London, Tower Hamlets, green living, zero waste ideas, community
Sunny Jar Eco Hub, zero waste initiative, East London, Tower Hamlets, green living, zero waste ideas, community

Sunny Jar Eco Hub is a social enterprise with a mission to reduce waste. As well as running regular workshops with community groups, they are also on hand with tips and tricks to help people get a bit more savvy when it come to low-waste living. Here, Linda (Co-founder of Sunny Jar) looks items in your home that you can reuse again and again. 

During lockdown, I’ve been glad to be on a low waste journey. If you’ve never known when or where to start, this is a great time to experiment with going green and reducing your waste, especially as shopping is now restricted and you may have more time on your hands.

One of the easiest things I’ve done to live more sustainably is to swap single-use for reusables. If you have reusables, you will never need to buy that item again. You cut down on waste, save money and save shopping trips. Well known reusables include those used when you’re out and about, such as coffee cups, water bottles and fabric shopping bags. But what about reusables at home, in the kitchen?

Alternatives to Cling film

Cling film is a common single-use item in most households. It can’t be recycled and can quickly fill up the bin. Instead of cling film, pop your leftovers in a tupperware container or try covering your bowl of leftovers using a plate as a lid. I also use glass jars for smaller amounts. For cut fruits, such as half a lemon, I pop them cut side down on a jar lid or a plate and then it goes straight in the fridge. If you lack tupperware, save yoghurt and ice cream containers to use as spares. Make sure you check your fridge every couple of days and eat up any leftovers, to avoid the unidentified food object (UFO) in the random container (yes, it has happened to me!). Beeswax wraps are another cling film alternative that is reusable and natural and can be composted at the end of its life.

What to use instead of tissues?

Kitchen paper towels and tissues are other single-use items I’ve replaced in my home. I now keep a cloth tissue jar- essentially a large jar filled with fabric scraps leftover from sewing projects or old t-shirts cut up. We use them for napkins at the dinner table, damp to clean grubby hands and faces or as a regular hanky/tissue. We throw them straight in the washing machine or laundry hamper after they’re used ( just like throwing a tissue in the bin). If I need to wipe up a spill, I’ll use a cleaning cloth or rag that can be washed and reused in place of paper towels.

Reusing glass jars

Not really a swap, but a handy tip: glass jars have so many uses. I have amassed an amazing collection of glass jars, which we reuse for everything- from leftovers to drinking glasses, for plant propagation, to storing dried foods and knick knacks, the list goes on. Reusing means that the item will have a longer use cycle- compared to being used just the one time to hold your jam. Although you can recycle jars (glass is infinitely recyclable), you are saving the energy, time and money it takes to recycle it by extending its use.

If you’d like more ideas on low waste living, you can join Sunny Jar’s online hub:

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