Tips to get you started

Have you been inspired to get started on your journey to zero waste in Torfaen?
Have you stumbled across us and are thinking, what’s all this about then?

‘A Journey to Zero Waste in Torfaen’ is all about making small changes to your every day life. It’s about reducing our use of single use plastic, being more environmentally aware and basically doing our bit as human beings to look after our planet.

I’ve compiled a list of top tips to get you started on this journey – some may seem really obvious but we are all on our own journey, some further along than others. Nobody should be making such drastic changes that the worry is affecting their mental health.

Any change you make is positive and step towards a better place to live. Also, you need to balance changes with the financial implications for you and your family. Some things may be worth the initial investment as you will never have to purchase it again and stops you using disposables and other things just wont be viable for you or your family. And that’s ok!

Also, nobody is perfect! There is usually a better alternative to most things, but being more aware and making small changes is what it’s all about. So here we go, choose one thing, or a few things to get you started…

  • Make a promise to yourself to stop buying single-use disposable water bottles.
  • Always remember your reusable water bottle when out.
  • Use the Refill app to find your nearest refill point.
  • Buy yourself a reusable tea or coffee cup and remember to take it when out.
  • If you are sitting in at a cafe, remember to ask for a real mug and specify you don’t want a disposable cup.
  • If you are sitting in at a cafe, remember to ask for your food on a plate and not in a disposable polystyrene carton. If you are leaving, consider asking for your item in foil or better still, take a tupperware container to place it in.
  • Don’t throw everything that resembles plastic away in your home and start from scratch.
  • Once you are coming to the end of an item, think about how you could buy differently to replace it.
  • Bars of soap in cardboard or paper instead of shower gel. Local companies making and selling these are White Light Candles with Karey O’Neill, Honey Bee Beautiful, Little Green Refills. There are options popping up at supermarkets now too, also places such as Lush and The Body Shop have nice soaps.
  • Shampoo and conditioner bars or refillable liquid shampoo and conditioner from Little Green Refills. A fab company based in Abergavenny who offer collection points at Cwmbran Stadium or Pontypool Active Living Centre and also have a refill station at Abergavenny market on a Tuesday.
  • Same company, also offer refillable cleaning products such as surface spray, toilet cleaner, floor cleaner etc. You can either pay a bottle deposit and use their glass bottles or refill your existing bottles.
  • You can also purchase eco friendly plastic free cleaning products delivered to your door from companies such as Splosh and Iron & Velvet.
  • Consider Changing your disposable sanitary towels, panty liners and tampons for reusable sanitary protection or a cup. A local maker Willowlane Designs makes the pads and liners but there are also lots of other makers out there. Check out the ‘Cloth sanitary protection’ and ‘Menstrual cups’ pages under ‘Recommended products’.
  • Use flannels instead of wet wipes in your home.
  • Use tea towels instead of kitchen roll.
  • Buy washing powder in a cardboard box instead of the plastic boxes of pods. You can also purchase a refillable washing liquid from Little Green Refills. See the ‘Washing powder’ page under ‘ Recommended products’.
  • Buy dishwasher powder in a cardboard box instead of the individually wrapped tablets. See the ‘Dishwasher powder’ page under ‘Recommended products’.
  • When buying cards, always opt for ones with no cellophane wrapped around them.
  • Consider making the switch to cloth nappies.
  • Ditch the wet wipes, reusable items such as cheeky wipes are a fantastic alternative.
  • Buy ketchup and mayo in glass bottles instead of plastic and reuse.
  • Try to buy loose fruit and veg. Supermarkets are slowly getting on board but we have some great plastic free greengrocers in Torfaen including Plums & Roses in Pontypool Market, who also deliver or Cwmbran Fresh Produce at Llanyrafon shops. Riverford South Wales also delivers organic fruit and veg to your door.
  • Consider a milk delivery in glass bottles. There are a number of options depending on where you live. Take a look here…
  • Consider a moisturising bar instead of moisturiser in a plastic tub. I have one from Lush but two local companies also sell them, White Light Candles with Karey O’Neill and Naked Sister.
  • Look at other recycling streams that recycle crisp packets, confectionery packaging, biscuit and cracker wrappers and find your nearest collection point or start you own. Take a look under the ‘Recycling’ section on the website.
  • If holding a party, rather than buying single use disposable items, consider using items from the Torfaen community share scheme or borrow glasses from Morrisons.
  • Consider switching from disposable razors to one that will last forever. These are called safety razors and we have a company on our doorstep in Newport who supplies them called Mutiny Shaving.
  • When in fast food chains, ask for your drink with no plastic lid and drink from it or buy yourself some metal straws.
  • When you next need a new toothbrush consider a bamboo toothbrush or if you have an electric toothbrush you can buy recyclable toothbrush heads.
  • Even a lot of tea bags have plastic in them (who knew?!?!). You can buy plastic free tea bags such as clipper or even buy loose leaf bags and you get cool pots to diffuse the tea.
  • You can buy more eco-conscious toilet rolls such as ‘Who Gives a Crap’ and ‘Cheeky Panda’ made from recyclable paper/bamboo and 50% of the first company mentioned’s profits go to pay for toilet facilities in underprivileged countries.

You will find details on most of these things on the website or over on the Facebook group. If you search for the keywords you will find lots of information about them including where you can purchase a lot of the items.