To round off plastic-free July, BLANC has teamed up with Zero-Living to share 4 key tips on how to achieve a more minimal lifestyle and streamline what you own.
When we own have fewer things and try to strip back what we own to the basics of what we truly need, it is not only helpful to the natural environment, but it can also help to de-stress your life and feel liberating. Less clutter in your space and physical environment can help to de-stress and focus the mind - all whilst doing your bit for the planet.
Zero-Living has built a lifestyle platform that introduces customers to ethically-produced, quality products that will help them reduce waste and use fewer natural resources. They aim to change the way people shop, by promoting the ethos of 'choose better’ to create a more planet-conscious buying mindset. But what does ‘choose better’ really mean, and what should you look out for when starting out on your minimalist and zero waste journey?
Here are four top tips they put together to aid you on your zero-waste journey:
1. Start by thinking about the full lifecycle of what you own
Shoppers should start by considering the full lifecycle of products they are buying. As a consumer, we will only own things for a small part of the item's lifetime and with today’s culture of hyper-consumption, it is all too easy to forget where your stuff comes from and where it will end up once you’re finished with it.
In the future, before buying a product, try to learn about the raw materials that went into making a product, how and where it was manufactured and how it can be repaired, reused, repurposed or recycled to extend its end-of-life. Looking out for brands that are totally transparent with their supply chains will help you to ensure the products you buy are sustainably produced. Ensure you take good care of your things whilst they are in your possession and think about all the different options for its use once you are finished with something!
2. Buy fair trade
Poor workers rights and low pay make everyday life difficult and can make it hard for these workers and suppliers to make planet-friendly choices when manufacturing goods. However, by promoting and purchasing fair trade, you will make a difference to communities all along the supply chain.
For us ‘fair trade’ means safe working conditions, fair wages, gender equality and workers’ rights. At Zero-Living, we believe that it is only fair to pay a bit extra for this when necessary, and is one of the reasons why ethically produced consumer goods sometimes come at a slightly higher cost. Even though this can cost us more money currently, hopefully, driven in part by exercising our consumer purchasing power, this approach will become the standard in future!
3. Purchase fewer new products
To oversimplify a very complex issue: the fewer items we make, the less there will be to waste. Whilst over-consumption is a widespread issue, the fashion industry is one of the worst offenders, with the rise of fast fashion seeing a 400% uptake in the annual production of new clothes over the past 20 years, and many of the garments remaining barely (or sometimes, never) worn.
By prioritising quality, longevity and versatility when choosing what we buy, we will hopefully need to buy fewer items! Buying second hand or upcycled goods also helps, naturally extending the lifecycle of things that might otherwise have ended up in landfills, the ocean or the air.
4. Consider the materials used to make your products
The obvious culprit here is plastic. At Zero-Living, we ensure that we have as little plastic in our product ranges as possible and, if our brands use any plastic at all, we ensure that they are taking steps toward replacing it with a better alternative. We’ve got you started here, with these 7 eco-friendly home products to reduce your plastic footprint.
We also look to supply organic and sustainable materials which have been repurposed, recycled or are certified as being more planet-friendly such as GOTS and FSC. We are particularly looking at helping to minimise the use of textiles that are being made using any chemicals which can harm the planet or materials that are overproduced and not sustainably replaced.