Unless you’re living under a rock, chances are you have heard the words “Zero-Waste.” Zero Waste is the philosophy of creating literally…zero waste. Essentially, for some that can seem impossible, but in trying to achieve a zero waste lifestyle, you are aiming to reuse, repair, reduce, and recycle more than the average person. There are so many *easy* ways anyone can become zero waste (or low waste if you want to start small.) It’s so important as a society for us to become more aware of production, waste, and mass consumerism and how it hurts our planet. If this is something you want to do, you can start today! Here’s how.
Say “No” to Single Use Plastic
This is a HUGE way anyone can become zero waste and leave a better impact on the world around us. Single-use plastic is one of the leading causes of plastic pollution all over the world, including our beloved ocean. If you don’t understand how bad plastic pollution is to our planet, read these facts and tell me you won’t be jumping to your local Traders Joe’s and purchasing a reusable grocery bag. That’s an easy way to stay away from plastic grocery bags. You can also purchase metal straws, stainless steel lunch boxes, reusable food storage, and bamboo eating utensils. Carry all of these (super light) items in your work bag, and you’ll be using less plastic every day!
Buy In Bulk
If you find yourself wanting to be zero-waste today, and you go grocery shopping once a week, maybe think about buying your groceries, and toiletries in bulk. It will keep you from repurchasing packaging over and over again (that will most likely end up in the landfill.) This also keeps you from having to hit up those long lines at the grocery store every weekend. Say goodbye to screaming children in the cereal aisle, and say hello to more items in your pantry that will last you a long time. Here’s why bulk shopping is so great for you, your wallet, and the environment.
Learn to Repair and ReUse What You Already Have
Becoming zero-waste means you don’t need as much in your life as you thought you did. I would say a lot of zero-waste philosophy stems from minimalism but with an eco-friendly twist! Learning how mass production affects our planet and people in other countries, you will want to make anything you have last as long as it can. And that’s the point. So if you have an old t-shirt with a hole in it, learn to sew it up, or sew a patch over it. If you have an old pillowcase that you don’t use anymore, turn it into a grocery bag, or cut them into squares and use them as cleaning rags. There’s so much you can do with the items you already have. Your wallet will be happy about this change.
Package Free (Because Who Really Needs All That Extra Fluff)
Have you ever noticed the excessive amount of packaging in beauty or even fashion stores while shopping? If you haven’t then I challenge you to start paying attention. It’s insane and most of that will end up in the landfill and eventually in the ocean. Start shopping package free. This may be hard at first, but with a little research online or on social media, you’ll find a ton of places in your area that cater to your zero-waste lifestyle. One of my personal favorites is the Zero Waste Store. They have everything you could possibly need. Another great resource is The Zero Waste Collective on Instagram. They share a ton of amazing brands, and ways anyone can be zero waste today. Viola!
Compost Your Food Scraps
Composting your food is such an easy way to not let those little scraps go to waste. What’s perfect is that you can actually compost them at your local farmers market and they can be used to plant even more food and plants. How amazing! There are a ton of ways to compost your food. The easiest way is getting a paper bag, filling it with any food scraps you have, and sticking it in your freezer until you’re ready to drop it off to be composted. You can actually search for your local composting center on this site. While you’re at the farmers market, pick up fresh fruits and veggies in your reusable grocery bag. You get two things done at once. Now you have more time to binge watch Netflix or take cute selfies with your plants. What? Don’t act like you don’t do that on your weekends too.
When You Run Out, Replace With Zero Waste Products
Okay so you’re trying to be zero waste today and do it the easiest way possible. If you follow the above steps, you are already on your way to becoming zero waste. Yay! What happens when you’re done using the items you currently have? Items like shampoo, paper towels, dish soap, etc… Well turns out, there are zero-waste options to all the items you could think of. Household, beauty, food, and more. You can replace the items you ran out of at the start of your zero-waste journey with items that you can reuse from now on. When I started doing this, I looked to Zero Waste Home ‘s site for information for every part of my life. Read this article to learn what items you can buy that are zero waste friendly.
These are amazing ways anyone can get started on their zero-waste journey. Of course, the more you get into it, the more you learn and the less waste you create. There are people who can fit all of their waste into a mason jar! Although not all of us can get to that level today, we can for sure try. What’s great is that doing any or all of these steps to becoming zero waste will help our beautiful planet little by little. There are three things to remember as you embark on this wonderful journey. 1. There is no perfect route to becoming zero waste. Do what feels good for you. Everything counts. 2. Take it one step at a time. You can’t be zero waste overnight. 3. Lastly, understand why you are doing this, and you will create life long habits that can help change the world! If you are zero-waste, share your tips down below.
Amanda Smith is a freelance writer, social media + branding specialist, and all around fashionista. She loves writing about fashion, beauty, wellness, and career advice. Her dream is to turn her own personal brand into a fulltime business where she can create content, products, and all sorts of media that inspires young women around the world. In her free time she loves to thrift, drink coffee, practice film photography, travel, get outside, and make content for her blog. You can usually find her staying in on a Friday night with a face mask, cuddling up to a puppy she's sitting, and watching Youtube videos.