Ways to kick-start a zero waste way of living
Have you thought about starting a zero waste lifestyle? Adapting a zero waste lifestyle means that you eliminate the amount of trash and plastic that you use on a daily basis, and is a great way to help the environment by reducing your carbon footprint. Transitioning to zero or less waste living may seem daunting, but this sustainable lifestyle is doable (and fun) with a little planning, some small lifestyle changes and easy product swaps. We’ve rounded up a list of five easy tips to help kick off your new green zero waste lifestyle.
1. Just say no to plastic packaging
Have you ever thought about how many products you pick up from the grocery store come in a plastic bottle or covered in a plastic wrapper? Start looking for products that come with either zero or reusable packaging to reduce the amount of trash you bring into your home. For example, you can buy products such as deodorant, dish washing soap and hair conditioner in package-less bars. You can also choose to buy products that come in glass jars that you can recycle or refill.
2. Going shopping? Bring your own sustainable goods
If you prepare a kit of reusable containers and products to bring with you next time you go out of the house, Here are some of our favorite sustainable, reusable products to bring with you next time you’re running errands.
- Glass jars or mason jars: bring jars with tight-fitting lids with you to fill with goods from the bulk section of the grocery store.
- Reusable coffee mugs: skip the to-go cup and get coffee or a fountain drink in a reusable coffee mug. Don’t forget a reusable straw for easy sipping on-the-go.
- Reusable forks, knives and spoons: keep some sustainable cutlery in your bag so you don’t have to pick up a disposable fork when you’re grabbing takeout.
- Cotton tea towels: cute reusable cloths will make paper napkins and paper towels a thing of the past.
- A reusable grocery bag: paper or plastic? How about neither. Bringing your own bag reduces the amount of annoying plastic bags hanging around in your pantry, and can be a fun way to express your personality by making your bag a fashion statement with fun designs and colors.
Did you know that a lot of your waste can actually nurture your garden and other plans by adding nutrients to the soil? Turn your trash into (environmentally friendly) treasure and reduce landfill waste by composting. You don’t need a fancy compost bin unless you want one – you can get started composting using any container with a tight-fitting lid that you can store in a warm place.
Start by layering your bin with a layer of soil, dried leaves, twigs, shredded brown paper bags or grass clippings. Then alternate layers of the above material with compostable materials such as:
- Coffee grounds and tea leaves
- Egg shells
- Leftover fruit, vegetable and bread scraps
- Dried flowers or other plants
- Dryer lint
- Vegetarian table scraps
To learn more about getting started with composting, check out the link here.
4. Switch to reusable products in the home
Next time you need to replace an item, consider whether you can swap it out for a long-lasting, reusable one that you won’t have to throw away later. For example, you can swap out:
- Disposable razors for a swanky reusable one
- Face wipes for a washable makeup eraser
- Disposable batteries for rechargeable batteries
- Synthetic sponges for re-washable sponges and scrubbers
- High-quality clothing instead of cheaper-made duds
In addition to being better for the earth, investing in high-quality products that don’t need to be replaced every few months can save you money in the long run, making this a great idea for your wallet as well as the environment. For an extra-sustainable (and thrifty) edge, you can check out second-hand stores, Craigslist, and even swap with friends to try to give new life to clothes, furniture and appliances that others don’t need anymore instead of buying new.
5. Recycle, Reuse or donate when you can
So, your favorite coffee maker or pair of running shoes just kicked the bucket. Instead of tossing them in the dumpster, check out recycling programs such as Terracycle that have solutions to recycle and reuse products that you might not be able to throw in a recycling bin in your town. If you’re embracing a minimalist lifestyle, give your excess goods to friends or charities, or sell them on Ebay or Facebook marketplace for a little extra cash.
By incorporating these five easy steps into your routines, you’ll find yourself living a greener lifestyle sooner than ever.