10 Ways to Jumpstart Your Zero-Waste Lifestyle
When the kids have taken to the streets in protests for the environment, we can no longer turn a blind eye to the reality of climate change and the part we each play in it.
If you haven’t yet considered eco-friendly living as a major part of your personal growth and development, it’s time to do so now because all of our decisions have a major impact on the survival of humanity.
It merely requires compassion and dedication to the greater good to switch your consumer lifestyle to a wellness lifestyle of earth-friendly practices.
Before we give you these tips, let’s first find the inspiration and motivation to change. There are thousands of reasons to adopt this lifestyle, not just one.
Global warming is already causing increased frequency and severity of storms leaving a wake of devastation. The very limited supply of drinkable water is being used to produce manufactured food and goods for our consumer lifestyle and wars over water are already happening. Anyone who tells you that global warming isn’t real is in denial.
People are suffering from poisoned drinking wells from animal products and textile manufacturing. Everything we touch is a part of the global supply chain and each small decision we make throughout the day has impacts somewhere else. While we must hope for a bigger change within the top global pollution contributors, we can also start making small changes in our lives to reduce our impact on the planet.
Let’s create a beautiful future for generations to come!
10 Ways to Reduce Waste & Be a Real Hero
When we have a clear vision for the life we want to lead, we are more likely to live up to it. As you read through this list, visualize yourself doing these things so you start to set the habit into your subconscious mind.
1. Bring Your Own Bags for Shopping
It’s important to do this for all shopping, not just groceries.
One way to remember to bring your bag is to find some reusable bags that you like, think about how you remember to wear the clothes and accessories you like. Find some that you have a personal connection to whether it’s art, a quote, or a favourite colour. We suggest finding a bag that can fold up into a small enough size to fit in your bag, this way you always have one on you in case of an emergency.
Keep them in your car and near your front door so that you are more likely to use them and less likely to forget them.
2. Reusable Produce Bags
When you buy produce, avoid the kind that is already wrapped in plastic, and get some reusable produce bags so you don’t use the ones the store offers. When it comes to covering things at home, swap out plastic wrap or aluminium foil for reusable beeswax wraps.
Beeswax wraps keep things fresh at the same level as it’s wasteful alternatives and can be reused!
3. No Single-use Plastics
Pens, honey jars, milk jugs, coffee k-cups, party decorations, snacks in plastic wrapping, takeout containers, straws, juice bar cups, and the list goes on. There are so many things in our daily lives that involve single-use plastics that we can avoid. Getting items that will last a lifetime or finding an alternative way to get what you need will reduce your waste the most.
The urge to order online also often comes with lots of stuff like plastic bubble wrap that goes directly in the trash so be mindful of this habit. Do your research and know what you’re buying into.
Related Article: Conscious Consumption: Be Free, Not Owned
When you can’t avoid getting single-use items, make sure that you upcycle them. It’s literally turning trash into treasure.
Turn coffee grounds into coffee-infused soap, or use old plastic and glass bottles to water your garden or change an old t-shirt into a tote bag. Items you commonly throw out can be used in so many different ways. Fix up your house, make wellness products, decorate and create gifts. You can even make it a social thing! Invite your friends over to upcycle old items and educate them on the ways we can become more self-sustainable and empowered through reducing our waste.
Learn more: Trash to Treasure: All About Upcycling
5. Reduce Mail by Going Paperless & Getting Off Mailing Lists
Do you receive catalogues or magazines that you’ve been ignoring and not reading? Call and get yourself off the list. If you receive monthly bills in the mail, set up your account so you can monitor it online and choose to go paperless.
When you can’t avoid paper mail, reuse it! Make old fliers into packing paper for your storage, use them for art/craft projects.
6. Change Out Your Bath Products
Did you know? You can buy bar soap without packaging instead of liquid soap. You can find products like Plaine Products that offer refills on all your basic hygiene products like lotion, shampoo, conditioner, face wash, and face moisturizer.
You can also make your own bath products or cleaning products and store them in glass containers. Remember to be a responsible consumer, look for makeup and grooming products that come from companies who operate ethically. Make sure you are only buying sustainable products, this includes applicators and brushes as well.
7. Get a Reusable Water Bottle
We can reduce the amount of waste we create by reducing small and large jugs that we burn through daily. While we need to drink water to stay alive, this act should not have to kill the planet. Get a large BPA free glass or steel water bottle to carry your daily hydration and make sure you fill it up each morning and pack it as part of your routine.
This will save the planet and help keep you hydrated!
8. Bring Your Own Mug
There are many ways to ensure your caffeine habit doesn’t affect the environment. If you’re getting coffee to stay at a cafe and didn’t bring a mug, ask for one. If you make coffee at home, use a French press or reusable filter instead of single-use filters. Find an at-home mug or travel mug that makes you smile because it’s silly, inspires you, or expresses you and make it something that brightens your day.
If coffee isn’t your thing, make sure that you’re using a reusable tea steeper or that you upcycle your tea bags into useful items.
9. Avoid Fast Food
When it comes to wellness living, the food items that don’t come with extra packaging that needs to be thrown away are often healthier for us as well as the planet. It’s time to replace fast-food throwaway culture with a sustainably-responsible outlook that seeks out healthy alternatives that reduce waste.
The food we eat can heal us and the planet at the same time. Now that is a goal worth working towards.
10. Carry a Set of Utensils
If you find yourself getting takeout or deliveries often, you’re probably using plastic utensils. If you look online, there are a bunch of camping utensil sets that you can easily throw into your bag or keep in your desk. Keep a set with you and you will reduce another form of waste without doing anything difficult.
(BONUS) 11. Switch to Sustainable Bathroom Products
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates there are 2 billion razors thrown away each year and that makes razors one of the most harmful items for the environment that we have in our bathroom. Switch to a metal razor with metal blades that are going to last longer and get rid of plastic waste.
Bamboo toothbrush is a great way to reduce plastic waste. They are a beautiful way to keep your mouth and the planet clean. Biodegradable is the way to go. Don’t forget to look for or make toothpaste that is stored in a glass container as well.
Read this next: 6 Ways To Get Cozy this Fall with Sustainable Fabrics
It’s important that we remind ourselves daily about the difference we can make by taking small steps to change our lives. Remember, you don’t have to implement all of these at once. We understand that all of this at once can be a shock to the system, take it slow and watch yourself grow and evolve.
All that’s left is to get started! Some ideas for goals are: to track your trash to see the change in waste output and inspire your friends to make the switch with these zero-waste tips.
Spread the word.