(Grand)mothers Really Know Best- 20 Zero-Waste Tips We Learned from Our Grandmums

We all know that grandmothers are legendary for two things – feeding us until we can't move and being the ultimate zero-waste queens. Our grandmums are the OG environmentalists, practicing minimalistic living wayyy back before minimalism even became a thing. So we figured, why not give them a well-deserved shout-out and share 20 of the many tips we’ve learned from our grandmums over the years?

  1. When you want t glass of water, no need to grab a new glass from the cupboard every time. Instead, keep your glass in a familiar place and use it throughout the day.
  2. Rinse your rice and dal and save the water to use for watering your plants or washing your hair!
  3. Spot a tear on your t-shirt? Mend it. Spot another one? Mend it again. And when you’ve mended it enough times, use it as a rag or dusting cloth instead of discarding it.
  4. Don’t use a peeler to peel your veggies – it tends to remove small bits of the vegetable along with the skin. Instead, peel using a knife from a 90º angle to get paper-thin slices and preserve as much of the veggie as possible.
  5. Open your gift wraps neatly and without ripping so you can reuse them later.
  6. Dry your clothes on a clothesline instead of using a dryer. 
  7. When washing your hands, only turn the tap on when you’re rinsing.
  8. Add some water to your soap dispenser to stretch it a little further. And always refill the dispenser instead of buying a new one.
  9. Re-use bread bags and produce plastic bags as garbage bags for smaller dustbins.
  10.  Buy one nice pen and refill it instead of buying an entire pack.
  11.  Ditch the shortcuts and make everything from scratch – from bread to achaar. Also the secret behind why their food tastes so good!
  12.  Create toys from random finds like a catapult out of a tree branch and a swing out of a tire.
  13.  Got moldy strawberries? Just scrape off the moldy bits instead of throwing them away.
  14.  When you’re finished using toothpaste, cut off the end of the tube and scoop the remainder out. Another week's worth of toothpaste right there.
  15.  Pills for bad throat? Nah. Brew a concoction of herbs and spices to make ukali instead.
  16.  Only turn the AC on to sleep. Leave the windows open during the day if it’s not too hot.
  17.  Can’t get rid of a stain? Dye the whole garment instead!
  18.  Wash aluminium foil and ziplock bags so you can reuse them instead of throwing them after one use.
  19.  If you’re not too picky about your coffee or chai, maybe reuse the grounds or tea leaves a second time for a new batch of (weaker) coffee/chai. 
  20.  A stack of two of clothes is enough to get you by. You don’t need 3 wardrobes full of clothes if you think about it.

And probably their favourite tip of all? Pass it on – from clothes, to toys, to the knowledge that we’re sharing. :) So, let's raise our reusable cups to our grandmums who knew that living sustainably isn't a trend but a way of life. We love you Dadis and Nanis!