Just Say No & Other Tips For A Zero Waste Life

By now we’re all familiar with the three R’s – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. But our lives are much more complicated than that. Right? Like, why do supermarkets always sell continental cucumbers in plastic wrappers, and how do Instagram goddesses manage to transform their homes into bohemian works of art armed with only a pallet and some chalkboard paint?

Madonna had it right—we do live in a material world. And frankly, our lives are full of too much stuff.

Simply put. Three R’s just don’t cut it anymore.

Which is why The Source has created the Five R’s, our hints and tips will help you remove the clutter from your life, save you money and most importantly, help to reduce the massive amount of waste that ends up in landfill each year.


Let’s create a zero waste life together.



It’s okay to say no. Our lives are full of too much stuff—appliances we never use, clothes we never wear, toys our kids never play with, all of which will probably eventually end up in landfill. We need to start saying no and stop this waste coming into our lives in the first place, making a conscious choice to live a more sustainable life and cut down on unnecessary consumption.

Say no to free stuff, junk mail, handouts or seemingly irresistible bargains; avoid buying cheap plastic toys you know will up end in the bin; and resist the temptation to buy things you don’t need just because they are on sale. Say no to buying vegetables wrapped in plastic or other packaged foods and look for more environmentally friendly ways to shop, such as farmers markets or buying in bulk at your local Source Bulk Foods store.

reusable shopping bag


Before you buy something, start asking yourself—do I really need it? Like refusing, reducing is about cutting down your consumption and making more sustainable choices. Question your choices, if you aren’t sure about a purchase, put the item down and walk away. You can always come back later.

There are so many great questions you can ask yourself before buying something new. How many times will I actually use it? Could I borrow it from someone else, like a friend or a neighbour? And instead of buying that new top, why not hold a clothes swap and get rid of some of your overflowing wardrobe at the same time? 

Another amazing way to reduce unnecessary waste is to buy your food in bulk. Buying in bulk removes the need for unnecessary packaging and single-use plastic, so you’re only buying the yummy food, and not the excess packaging. By making the switch to buying in bulk, you will make a drastic impact on your weekly household waste. Learn more about the benefits of buying bulk foods on our blog! 

benefits of buying bulk foods


We live in a disposable society. Items like coffee cups, water bottles, tissues, nappies, plastic food wrap and razors are everyday items we’ve grown accustomed to using once and then throwing away. We’re better than this! All of these items can easily be replaced with more sustainable choices, remember—just say no. By reusing, you’ll not only be cutting down on waste, you’ll also be saving yourself money.

Invest in a reusable coffee cup and keep it in your bag, swap expensive bottled water for a good quality reusable bottle like The Source’s BPA Free water bottle, use hankies instead of tissues, invest in a reusable razor, and pack kids lunches in a stainless steel lunchbox with compartments so you don’t need to use plastic wrap. Even swapping tea bags for loose leaf tea and a tea pot will help cut down on waste.

the source bulk foods shopping bag


This is where your creativity and imagination come into play! Also known as upcycling, repurposing is when you transform one object into an enitirely new one, giving it a new use other than the one it was originally intended for. Upcycling can save you money, even make you money, and of course—save more stuff from going to landfill.

Release a new burst of life into old things. You could turn an old pallet into a bed, empty old bottles and jars and use them to store food, transform tin cans into pencil organisers, turn bottle caps into tea lights, or make a rug out of old t-shirts. The possibilities are endless!

repurpose upcycle zero-waste living


This should be your last port of call, and if you’ve done all of the above, there shouldn’t be a lot left to recycle. But for the stuff you do need to recycle, make sure you do it properly.

Sort out your household recyclables like paper, cardboard, plastic containers and glass, then dispose them in the right bin. Other items like metal, wood, batteries and electronic waste may not be allowed in your recycle bin, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be recycled, there are often drop off points for these type of items—check with your local council.


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