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 a bottle of shower gel are a great switch.
  • Another successful change we’ve made is to shampoo and conditioner bars from liquid in a plastic bottle. 
  • If you just cannot get on with the bars, zero waste shops have refillable liquid shampoo, conditioner and shower gel.
  • One of the best changes you can make is to refill your home laundry and cleaning products as opposed to buying new bottles from the supermarket when you run out. Check out the stock list of everything we have available to refill here at Zero Waste Torfaen such as all purpose cleaner, bathroom cleaner, fabric conditioner, laundry liquid, and even dishwasher rinse aid plus lots more.
  • There are more and more zero waste shops popping up now. Seek out your nearest and give them a try! Around here we have Zero Waste Torfaen in Cwmbran, Sero Zero Waste at Tredegar House, Little Green Refills in Abergavenny, Pollinate in Risca, Natural Weigh in Crickhowell and Ripple in Cardiff.
  • You can also purchase eco friendly plastic free cleaning products delivered to your door from companies such as Iron & Velvet who sent concentrated cleaning products in dissolvable pouches.
  • 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’.
  • Are you planning a party? Parties can be the source of lots and lots of disposable plastic waste. Consider hiring the cups, plates, platters and even cutlery you need instead from Zero Waste Torfaen. See the party hire page.
  • 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. Even better, you can also purchase refillable laundry liquid from your local zero waste shop.
  • Buy dishwasher powder in a cardboard box instead of the individually wrapped tablets in that thick plastic packaging. Sainsburys have powder in a cardboard box or again, your local zero waste shop will have dishwasher tablets. 
  • 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, Carl’s Fruit and Veg in Blaenavon, or Cwmbran Fresh Produce at Llanyrafon shops. If you’re looking for a delivery you have Cream of the Crop covering the whole borough who offer as much plastic free as possible or 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.
  • If a bar isn’t you thing, you can also refill liquid hand and body lotion at your local zero waste shop.
  • 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 I thoroughly recommend!
  • 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.
  • Consider buying toilet paper made from recycled paper. Zero Waste Torfaen supplies UK manufactured, plastic free, made from recycled paper toilet roll, which is highly recommended. 
  • The bathroom is a really easy place to start when making some changes. You can buy toothpaste tablets, mouthwash tablets, plastic free dental floss, all refillable from your local zero waste shop.

I would say that the hardest thing is making a change become a habit, but it really doesn’t take long and is really worth it. Good luck!

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.