8 Easy Tips For Zero-Waste Living
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing imperfectly.” —Anne-Marie Bonneau
If you want to make a change towards living more sustainably but aren’t sure where to start, check out these small steps you can take to start you on your zero-waste journey.
1. Identify Your Why
It might seem obvious that we all want to help the environment and create a more eco-friendly world, but it really helps to get specific on what pushed you to want to make the change.
Having a personal reason for going green will keep you motivated to stay on track when you get distracted or find yourself tempted to buy what you don’t need. This reason could be anything from avoiding climate change to protecting your favorite beach or park to simply wanting a better world for your kids.
2. Audit Your Trash Can
The best way to get an idea of areas you can improve on sustainability is to take a look at exactly what waste your household creates. From there, you can figure out ways to reduce certain types of rubbish.
3. Make A List Of Your Zero-Waste Goals
It’s always helpful to write down your goals, along with actionable solutions to make them a reality. It’ll help you come up with an effective plan and stick to it. Your goals might look something like this:
- Reduce trash
- Find a solution for food waste
- Reduce the amount of groceries and other things I buy daily, weekly, monthly
4. Make Good Buying Choices
Food packaging is estimated to contribute 3 million tons of pollutant waste to the environment each year, of which, only 1.9 million tons are being recycled.The key to managing your waste production, as well as not wasting food, is to shop more consciously. By shopping consciously, you can reduce the toxins and microplastics in your environment. You can do this by:
- Only buying what you’ll use before the expiration date.
- Buy food with recyclable packaging, and void single-use plastics wherever possible.
- Buy in bulk where you can.
- Find a new use for any used food containers.
- Use glass containers or wicker baskets at home to store food, rather than ziplock bags.
- Do your shopping with big material or mesh bags to carry the food in.
- Shop at zero-waste stores or farmers markets that offer unpackaged foods, toiletries, and cleaning products in reusable containers.
5. Avoid Disposables
A report obtained by The Guardian estimates that 1 million water bottles are purchased every minute around the globe. That is a shockingly high figure.
Always aim to buy high-quality products that will last long over disposable ones, which land in the bin after a few uses. Think nappies, razor blades, batteries, water bottles, and containers. That goes for disposable paper products as well.
Realizing this will also help your budget. It’s always better to invest in things that are more permanent than to opt for something cheap that won’t last.
6. Become A DIY Master
By making it yourself, you’ll reduce the number of products you need to buy from shops. It may take a bit more effort, but the benefits are well worth it. You could make your own cleaning products using natural materials, and store them in reusable containers.
Another option is simply to find eco-friendly, waste-free alternatives. One example of this is white vinegar, which you can dilute with water and use to clean the dirt off surfaces in your home. Vinegar won’t leave a stain, nor will it scratch any surfaces.
Before buying something new, ask yourself this:
- Can I fix it?
- Can I make it myself?
- Can I borrow it?
- Do I really need it?
Not only will this save money and reduce the amount of unrecycled waste you produce, but you’ll feel good about the success of your extra effort too.
7. Start A Vegetable Garden
Having a vegetable garden is an excellent way to reduce your waste production. Harvesting your own vegetables at home means you won’t spend as much on store-bought foods. It’ll also reduce the amount of food packaging that lands up in the trash.
You don’t need a massive garden space to grow enough veggies for your household, and there are plenty of easy methods for creating a veggie bed. However, if you live in an apartment or you just don’t have garden space, see if your neighborhood has some kind of communal veggie patch going. If not, organize one!
Besides the environmental and economic benefits, eating your own, fresh, homegrown veggies is extremely fulfilling—not to mention healthy!
8. Make A Compost Heap
A great way of utilizing food waste is by creating a compost heap at your home. Not only will it reduce waste, but it’ll save you the costs of buying compost elsewhere. In fact, everyone who gardens should have a compost heap. Your plants will thank you!
Almost all your organic waste can go to the compost heap, including eggshells, egg boxes, newspaper, cardboard, vegetable scraps, and tea bags. The only things that are a no-go are meat products and anything cooked.
You don’t need a lot of space to create a compost heap, but for those of you living in an apartment or without a garden, it may be challenging. If that’s the case, then find out if your community has a drop-off or curb-side composting solution that you can take advantage of.
The Best Time To Start Is Now
While lifestyles differ in a variety of ways, there is one thing that we can all do, even if we do it imperfectly! Embracing a waste-free way of living is the way forward.
Take it one baby step at a time so as not to overwhelm yourself. Change takes time, but before you know it, you’ll be living a zero-waste lifestyle that has a huge ripple effect.
With a passion for writing, Jamie Benjamin loves to get creative on topics covering health and wellness, self-care, mindfulness, and fitness. For Jamie, self-care means going on a hike with a friend, reading a good book by John Irving, or having a huge slice of apple pie – with a scoop of ice cream.