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4 Ways to Eliminate Plastic from your Homestead and go Zero-Waste

4 Ways to Eliminate Plastic from your Homestead and go Zero-Waste

Going zero-waste can be very overwhelming when you are just getting started. It can be hard to know where to even start at all so you end up doing nothing and carrying on the way you have been. You may also think, how can one person make any difference?

But let me tell you, every little tiny bit helps. Every time you say no to single use plastic you are helping the planet.

Shopping Bags

I was one of those people who would always get to the cashier and think, “Ahh, my bags are still in the car!” And then get plastic ones. We used them for rubbish bags so I convinced myself that it was ok. But since I participated in “Plastic-Free July”, I haven’t forgotten my bags even once. Something twigged in my brain and now I always remember to take them.

My town is going plastic bag-free so a few weeks ago we got together as a community and made our own ‘Boomerang’ Bags! The idea is that you are given one when you buy something and then you ‘boomerang’ it back somewhere else. I always keep reusable bags in my handbag and pull them out all the time. I even pack my lunch and bring that with my in my Boomerang bag. It’s not only groceries that we use a lot of plastic but every time you buy anything – clothes, books, make-up etc – you are often given a plastic bag. But where does it go when you get home? Usually in the rubbish and off to the landfill.

The whole town got together to make these reusable bags to replace single use plastic bags

Fruit and Veggies

I recently grabbed some smaller reusable bags for my veggies. The supermarket will take off the weight of the bag so you don’t have to pay for it. I picked up a pack of 4 bags but I’ve seen heaps of ways to make your own on Pinterest if you have a sewing machine. Of course,it makes more sense to grow your own veggies at home than to buy them. Even if you don’t have much space, you can still grow a few things. We have just moved into our new place and while we’ve already got veggies growing, they aren’t ready to eat yet so we have to buy them for now.

Buy or make your own reusable bags for veggies to avoid plastic bags at the supermaket

Beauty Products

I have recently started using shampoo bars instead of my usual one packaged in a plastic bottle.  It took a while to get used to it because normal shampoo is full of chemicals that strip the natural oil out of your hair and then you use conditioner to put it back. I don’t wash my hair every day and my shampoo bars are lasting for ages. I take them out of the shower every time I’ve used them so they dry properly and last longer.

I’m really interested in making my own beauty products so I will be posting blogs in the future that will go into more detail. So far on my list of things to try are: deodorant, tooth powder, chapstick, facial cleanser, sunscreen, lavender body butter, mascara and sugar body scrub. Watch this space!

I use shampoo bars to cut down on plastic

Buying in Bulk

It’s pretty hard to be completely zero-waste. I decided to make my own granola so I wouldn’t have to buy it. But guess what? All the ingredients come in packets. The oats, different types of nuts and seeds, cranberries, coconut….I was devastated when I got home and saw all the rubbish! But I have to keep things in perspective. I have enough ingredients to make way more than I would buy in a packet thus saving rubbish over time. And I learned a lesson in sourcing certain ingredients online that would come in more sustainable packaging.

Another thing we did a while ago is switch to powdered milk. One packet of milk lasts for weeks, we don’t buy any of those plastic milk bottles and we get to drink milk stored in beautiful glass flip top bottles. I don’t drink a lot of milk myself – a bit in coffee but mostly I use it for baking so it lasts a long time. Yes, I still have the packet that the milk comes in to throw away but that’s way better than all the plastic bottles I used to throw away.

Switching to powdered milk has saved us 4 2L plastic bottles per week

Even if you don’t plan to go all in and try to be completely zero-waste and plastic free, just doing these 4 things regularly will help reduce your rubbish.

Let me know in the comments what you are doing to eliminate plastic from your home!

4 Ways to Eliminate Plastic from your Homestead and go Zero-Waste

Create simple shelving from pallets

Create simple shelving from pallets

When we first moved in to Holder’s Hideaway there was hardly any storage so we planned to create simple shelving from pallets so we could unpack some of our boxes. We have a few cupboards in the kitchen and one in the bathroom and that was about it.

We have been planning our homestead for years – long before we ever bought it – so we have been stashing all the pallets we came across. They have now come in very useful. It was easy enough to put up shelving in the kitchen and in my home office (which is in the lounge). We just needed something that looked tidy but wasn’t too difficult to make.

First we measured the space and cut the pallets to size.

Sawing pallets to make DIY shelves

This took a bit of trial and error. The original shelf we made was massive and way too big for the space. So we changed the plan and tried a smaller board.

Bare space in Kitchen for shelving

Nothing fancy at all but they are exactly what we need them for. They look much better than the bigger ones we originally had. It is a pallet board with 2 triangle wedges screwed in under them for support.

Simple shelves made out of pallets

Here they are with our spices on them. They fit the space perfectly and now they look like they were always a part of the house.

Shelves with spices, tea and olive oil

I’ve always wanted my cast iron pans on display where I could see them. I love cooking with them so much and got sick of digging around in the cupboard to find the one I wanted. This way they are all within easy reach and it saves room in the cupboard for other things, like my nutri bullet and homemade natural ice cream maker.

Our cast iron frying pans are hanging from shelves we built out of pallets

My home office was going to be a different story. I needed something strong that would hold my books up and stop them falling off onto the floor. We are lucky enough to have amazing native bush on our property that we intend to use to our full advantage. Why go and spend hundreds of dollars on things that we can make ourselves? That’s what homesteading is all about, right? It’s about being self-sufficient and using what you have on hand.

We cut down a manuka pole and scraped the bark off. Then we cut 12 pieces out of the one pole to the right size and screwed them into the pallet boards. They match the decor perfectly and we love the rustic look.

Shelves for my home office with Manuka book ends

Manuka is a stunning wood and we have it in abundance so we have used it throughout our house. Pallets are made with rough sawn wood and most of them aren’t even straight so building a perfect shelf was never going to happen. Once the shelves are loaded up with stuff you can’t even tell anyway.

Manuka book ends for pallet shelves

It’s easy to get stuck on social media and looking at the beautiful shelves on Pinterest or Instagram but we would never have got started if we worried about it being perfect. They are rustic and they may not suit everyone but they suit our home. We could still be sitting here surrounded with boxes but instead we have amazing shelves that we build ourselves with a few old pallets that we got for free!

Shelving doesn't have to be fancy. Use what you have at home and collected to make shelves from pallets.

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