How to Create Waste-Free Routines for Everyday Impact

by Pottery For The Planet on November 18, 2021

Did you know that the average Australian produces no less than 540 kg of waste each year?! That’s more than 10 kg per week! 

But how does this number get so high? Throughout the day, each disposable item we use adds up to create a literal landfill of plastic, papers, textiles, and more. The funny thing is - we barely even notice the waste as it happens. 

So how can we reduce what we are throwing away? The secret lies in creating waste-free routines! 

From cosmetics to coffees, we’re tackling the 4 most impactful routines of your day to carve out simple ways to reduce your waste and make an impressive difference! Ready to routine your way to waste-free living? Let’s get started!

The Zero-Waste Takeaway Routine

Australia wouldn’t be the best place in the world for coffee if it weren’t for loyal takeaway coffee lovers just like you! 

Whether you’re looking for a latte or picking up lunch from your favourite local spot, even your takeaway routine can be made waste-free with a few simple swaps. 

Skip Disposable Coffee Cups

Disposable coffee cups are lined with a coating that keeps the hot liquid in. While innovative, this coating prevents your coffee cups from being recycled. 

Fortunately, the easiest way to ensure these cups don’t wind up in our oceans is to replace them with a beautiful and convenient reusable ceramic coffee cup!

Top Tip: Pack your reusable cup as soon as it’s been cleaned! If it’s in the cupholder of your car when you stop for coffee, you’ll be more likely to remember it! 

As a fun bonus, many coffee shops offer a discount for bringing your own cup so you can save the planet and your wallet at the same time!

reusable coffee cup

Bring Your Bowl

Just like your coffee cup, bringing your own reusable travel bowl is the perfect way to skip the waste associated with buying lunch out and about. 

If you’re planning on picking up lunch, pack your ceramic bowl and ask your favourite local eatery to pack your lunch into your bowl instead of a disposable one! Easy, sustainable, and beautiful way to show off your style!

reusable takeaway bowl

Cut the Cutlery

Don’t worry, you don’t have to eat with your hands! Instead, bring along a reusable set of utensils! 

Bring your fork and knife from home or pick up a reusable bamboo cutlery set specifically for those on the go meals! 


The Zero-Waste Beauty Routine

The sun is peaking through the curtains and the birds are singing that morning tune. Whether you are a busy bee in the working world or a stay-at-home superhero, the first moves you make in the morning set you up for the day ahead. 

For the average Australian, these steps include some kind of ‘getting ready’ routine. This may be your morning shower, putting on makeup, or perhaps just giving those pearly whites a wash. 

No matter how long or short your morning routine may be, chances are, there’s room for waste removal in there somewhere! Here’s how to tackle it:

Step 1: Take Stock

Go about your morning routine like you normally would, with one little twist. Take note of the items you use to get ready (and the ones you don’t). 

Do you use a cotton swab (or two) each morning? Are your shampoo, soap, or other products packaged in plastic? Do you have items in your cabinet that you never seem to use?

Noticing these little things is the first step to building a new and more sustainable routine!

cotton swab

Step 2: Use What You Have

Before you get excited and throw away all of your waste-producing items in favour of sustainable swaps, remember the purpose of making changes. 

Throwing away perfectly good products and packages actually contributes more waste to landfills. Instead, use up the items you have and slowly replace them as necessary!

Step 3: Reduce or Swap

Finally, it’s time to create that new routine!

By consciously cutting out the things you do not need and swapping the ones you do need for more sustainable substitutes, you’ll be well on your way to forming healthy and zero-waste routines for getting ready in the morning. 

Perhaps instead of a makeup wipe, you opt for a reusable makeup pad. Maybe your plastic bottle of shampoo can be swapped for a shampoo bar. No matter what changes you decide to make, having these items readily available and integrated into your regular routine will make sticking to the swaps easy and fun!

shampoo bar

The Waste-less Shopping Routine

We’ve all got to eat! Unfortunately, it seems like the grocery store sells more packaging than food these days.

Here’s how to take your weekly shop waste-free:

Pack Your Bags

Reusable shopping bags and mesh produce bags are the perfect place to start with your zero-waste grocery shopping. These products make it simple to skip plastic bags and reduce your impact. 

If you’re picking up items from the deli or bakery, consider bringing along your reusable containers too! 

A great way to ensure you never forget your bags again is to keep them beside your shopping list spot or pack them right into your handbag. 

Shop The Perimeter

The items in the centre isles of the grocery store are packed with preservatives and overpackaged in plastic. As a general rule, stick to the outer perimeter of the grocery store to collect your essentials. 

If you need items from the middle, make a list and try to limit browsing up and down those wasteful isles. This will help you resist the urge to buy pre-packaged items over the fresh versions in the outer ring!

Keep it Local

Farmers market anyone? Before you hit the grocery store, pay a visit to your local farmers market to pick up your fresh foods and support local growers! 

Don’t forget to bring your bags, containers, and jars to keep your finds as waste-free as possible! 

Buy in Bulk

Wondering how to buy certain products without the plastic? Perhaps your local bulk foods shop is the answer! 

Pick up those tasty snacks, pantry essentials, and refill your containers with bulk food finds that eliminate the need for packaging! After all, the less you bring home, the less you’ll throw away!

The Conscious Cleanup Routine

As your day comes to a close, it’s time to complete your chores with a healthy cleanup routine. From packing up leftovers to sorting your waste, here’s how to end the day sustainably!

Plastic-Free Packing

There’s nothing better than leftovers for lunch! Of course, single-use plastic wrap isn’t the most responsible way to save those tasty treats for tomorrow. 

Opt for waste-free food storage by covering your meals up with a beeswax wrap instead! Your wrap can then be washed and reused again and again (then composted at the end of its life!). 

beeswax wraps

Cleaning with Care

Clean up your cleaning routine by ditching disposables and leaving packaging behind with reusable unpaper towels and a handy 7-in-1 dish and laundry block

These simple swaps make cleaning without chemicals or plastic so easy, you won’t miss your old cleaning routine for a moment! 

cleaning block

Sort Your Waste

Last but certainly not least, keep your waste in check by setting up a sustainable sorting station. 

Not every item you toss belongs in the bin. Your waste may be recyclable, compostable, or even collectable by advanced recycling facilities like REDcycle or TerraCycle.

Set up your station with separate sorting bins for rubbish, recycling, green waste, and soft plastics. Having all of these bins close together will make remembering to sort your items more realistic. As you get to know the systems better and are ready for the next step, you may even consider adding in a bin for hard to recycle items that can be cared for properly by TerraCycle Australia!

Waste-Free Routines for Big Results

Now that you know how to establish these 4 essential sustainable routines, you can transform the most wasteful routines of the day for amazing results! By adopting just one of these simple swaps, you’ll be well on your way to leading a sustainable, planet-friendly lifestyle!

Ready to get started with your new and improved waste-free routines? Pick up your zero-waste reusables today to make building your new habits as easy as 1,2,3!