If you are looking to actively reduce your carbon footprint in the world then starting a Zero Waste Lifestyle is definitely a step in the right direction.
This lifestyle goes beyond trendy mason jars, buying fresh produce at farmers’ markets, and washing your hair with shampoo bars. Instead, you need to get ready to completely abandon your dependency on plastic and change your shopping, cleaning, and eating habits.
This seems very intimidating at first, but with a few tips and guidelines, you will be on your way to living the zero waste life. Just remember that it is impossible to go zero-waste overnight.
1. Start with “Why?”
It is important that you write down your reason to want to go Zero Waste. Maybe you want to help the environment, save money, do your part to reduce plastic in the ocean, or want to be less exposed to harmful chemicals in plastic. Whatever your reason is, make sure to write it down and come back to it whenever you feel low on motivation.
2. The 5 Rs
Refuse what you don’t need. Reduce what you need. Reuse what you consume. Recycle what you can’t refuse, reduce or reuse. And rot whatever is left in a compost.
It is important that you learn how to recognize and deny waste in every aspect of your life. For example, the next time someone hands you a flyer, a business card, a free disposable pen, or a plastic bag you can recognize that it will inevitably end up in your trash and therefore choose not to accept it.
3. Eat real food
Real food like fruits, vegetables, and anything that doesn’t come in packaging is crucial to helping you reduce the amount of waste you create.
4. Use less of everything
Most products are designed to encourage you to use way more than you actually need. Toothpaste is a great example of this because you really only need a pea-sized amount, but you probably use way more than that each time you brush your teeth. So make sure to use only what you really need for everything.
5. Join a community
Zero Waste Communities, whether virtual or not, are a great way to help you stay motivated, to find out about helpful tips from others, and to find people who will support you on your journey.
6. Essential Products to getting
You will need to swap just a few things with other products to start out your Zero Waste Lifestyle:
Instead of plastic water bottles, you should get a reusable water bottle, you can even get an insulated water bottle, so your water stays nice and cool.
Eliminate plastic Tupperware and Ziploc bags by storing your food in glass jars instead; there are also silicon reusable bags that you can use instead of Ziploc bags.
Use cloth bags and totes to store, transport, and buy food in bulk, instead of using plastic bags.
Use handkerchiefs instead of tissues.