What is a Zero Waste Lifestyle?
In recent years, zero waste living has gained more and more popularity, as people become more aware of the impact of waste and resource consumption on the planet. This lifestyle is focused around minimizing waste and reducing our carbon footprint by adopting sustainable practices. The Zero Waste international alliance defines zero waste as follows:
“Zero waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
The concept is often associated with perfectionism and avoiding waste at all costs. Criticism often entails a high barrier of entry and exclusionary mentality of the movement. Life happens and it can often be overwhelming to juggle a job, family duties, and private life with additional obligation of reducing waste wherever possible.
That's why we have consolidated 10 tips for every room in the household to give you ideas how to start your waste reduction journey, no matter where you are right now. Some ideas are easy to implement, others may seem drastic. The beauty is: You decide! Pick a few ideas and try them out. If it doesn’t work just go ahead and try the next. Do what you’re comfortable with and you’ll soon see that you are in fact making an impact.
- Use reusable grocery bags and produce bags.
- Buy in bulk with reusable containers.
- Cook with fresh ingredients to reduce packaging waste.
- Compost your food scraps.
- Use a reusable cloth instead of paper towels.
- Choose glass or metal containers instead of plastic.
- Replace disposable plastic water bottles with a reusable bottle.
- Use beeswax wraps instead of plastic wrap.
- Avoid single-use plastic straws .
- Avoid single use plastic for takeout and us reusable utensils.
- Replace your plastic toothbrush with bamboo.
- Use a safety razor instead of disposable ones.
- Give soap bars a try instead of using liquid soap in plastic bottles.
- Use a menstrual cup or cloth pads instead of disposable tampons and pads.
- Use bar shampoo and conditioner to save plastic bottles.
- Use toothpaste tablets instead of plastic tubes.
- Use a bamboo or wooden hairbrush instead of plastic.
- Use reusable makeup rounds or a sponge instead of disposable makeup wipes.
- Try cleaning tablets instead of liquid plastic cleaner
- Ditch your plastic shower loofah.
- Use natural fiber bedding and curtains instead of synthetic materials.
- Choose clothes made from natural fibers instead of synthetic.
- Buy clothes second-hand or swap with friends.
- Repair, reuse and repurpose your old clothes.
- Use a reusable laundry bag instead of plastic ones.
- Try reusable fabric tissues.
- Choose a wool dryer ball instead of dryer sheets.
- Choose zero waste laundry sheets.
- Use a natural mattress instead of a synthetic one.
- Choose sustainable and eco-friendly furniture.
Sustainable Home Office
- Use a refillable pen instead of disposable ones.
- Use refillable ink cartridges for printers, or better yet, avoid printing.
- Be paperless where possible for notes and organization.
- Use a refillable water bottle and a reusable coffee mug.
- Take advantage of natural lighting.
- Use rechargeable batteries instead of disposable ones.
- Avoid using single-use post-it notes.
- Use a reusable cloth instead of disposable wipes for cleaning electronic devices.
- Use LED light bulbs to save energy.
- Choose sustainable and eco-friendly office supplies.
Dont Try to Be Perfect - Just Start Your Journey Now
If you still don't know where to start, we want to share our number one tip to get started with zero waste: don’t try to be zero waste in the first place! If the goal is to fit a year’s worth of waste into a mason jar, you’ll be overwhelmed and not know where to start. Rather than setting the goal of zero waste, think about it as a continuous journey of making conscious decisions and trying to reduce your impact on the planet.
The next time you take out your trash, hold on for a second and analyze what causes the most waste in your household. Why don't you start with that item and look for sustainable alternatives. Repeat the same month after month. You will soon realize that things start to become routine and in a couple of months you'll significantly reduce your trash.
The matter of fact is: Whether you call it zero waste, low waste, or low impact movement, if 8 billion people reduce their waste footprint just a little bit, we’ve won more than a few dedicated individuals reducing their waste to the bare minimum.
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