10 things you'll never throw away again

For me, being a conscious consumer goes far beyond the wardrobe.

Since starting Shift, I have learnt so much about what can easily be done to not only reduce your environmental impact but save money too.

I always say that making changes doesn't need to be hard - in fact it's often fun and really rewarding.

I'm always finding new ways to reduce my consumption, including choosing package-free options, going DIY and BYO, and of course embracing second-hand!

I'm constantly inspired by zero-waste and conscious consumer advocates like Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home, Lauren Singer of Trash is for Tossers (and The Simply Co.) and in Australia, Erin Rhoads - aka, The Rogue Ginger.

Here's my list of 10 things you'll never need to throw away again - and how I've easily made the shift.

  1. Drink bottles
  2. Coffee cups
  3. Shopping bags
  4. Drinking straws
  5. Napkins
  6. Cutlery
  7. Product packaging - food, beauty and cleaning 
  8. Pencils
  9. Tissues
  10. Notebooks

Reuse and BYO

My steel drink bottle comes with me everywhere - and for each cafe visit, so does my reusable coffee cup. I always carry a little fold-up shopping bag in my handbag ready to go, so I never need plastic!

My outdoor workspace, complete with reusable bottle, cup and bag
(oh, and dog!)

I have a couple of great steel straws from Biome (pictured above), and I recently made my sister a cutlery wrap (more DIY inspo below!) to take to food markets, picnics, and anywhere with takeaway food really!

Just pop your own cutlery, your reusable straw and a napkin in the pockets, wrap him up and you're good to go. And if you're not keen on sewing, you can always just wrap your items in a larger piece of fabric that doubles as a napkin.

Shopping in bulk is the best change I've made. We have drastically cut down our waste, just by reusing the containers we have and avoiding packaged items. Plus we get to choose as much or as little as we want each time.

Shopping with your own containers and bags is so easy and rewarding.
No waste!

There are so many things you can buy in bulk - from flour and herbs to liquorice, chocolate, beans and rice, pasta and even liquids like soy sauce, olive oil and honey.

We even buy our cleaning products in bulk now, including bicarb soda, natural dishwashing powder and a natural (heavily concentrated) cleaning spray.

There's not much you can't buy in bulk.
This is from a visit to The Source in West End, Brisbane.

Choose compostable 

I've stopped buying lip balm in plastic tubes and opted for natural, beeswax-based balms in compostable paper tubes from a local maker instead (via Etsy). Plus they're super moisturising, homemade in small batches, and organic!

Lip balm from homemadebalm via Etsy

Even better than compostable is to go package-free completely. There are more options for bathroom products popping up all the time, like shampoo and conditioner bars, deodorant, solid moisturiser, even dog wash! Check out Lush and NZ company Ethique.

The bloggers I mentioned above also offer some great homemade recipes for beauty and bathroom products, including body butter, deodorant and cheek tint.

My package-free shampoo bar from Lush

I scored some eco-pencils on Etsy, wrapped in many layers of tightly-wound paper. So when you shave them, guess where the bits go? The compost or paper recycling.

Paper pencils from Etsy


I'm ditching tissues and napkins and opted to make my own cotton ones. I cut up an old stripey shirt and stitched it into squares. Now I just carry a couple in a little purse and wash after use.

My DIY napkins and tissues - great use for an old shirt!

DIY notebooks are the easiest thing you'll ever make. I used cardboard from my Who Gives A Crap order, some used office paper from work, and some string received on a package. Punch holes, thread the string and voila! Cute, recycled and recyclable.

You can also repurpose wrapping paper to cover notebooks you already have.

DIY notebook from recycled office paper, a cardboard box
and string. 
What are you doing to cut down your waste? I'd love to hear from you - it's a constant learning journey!

-  Ash


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