For those who are into zero-waste living, the aim is essentially to put as little waste into the bin as possible. This includes the recycling bin. Why? Because you can’t truly throw something “away” and single-use packaging puts a high demand on resources for extremely short-lived products.
Though we are fortunate to have many modern luxuries that come from mining, oil and gas and more, these resources that come from the earth should be respected. The zero-waste lifestyle focuses on avoiding short term pleasures and to create as little pollution as possible.
The quality of Zero-Waste Living
Sustainable living is a passion of many, but sustainability and zero-waste are better off hand-in-hand. While looking for the most sustainable products, look for the least packaging possible at the same time! You will find that when you make the switch to zero-waste living, your life will improve in many other ways, such as:
- Improved health due to cooking from scratch.
- Improving the earth’s health from using fewer synthetic chemicals and packaging pollution.
- Improving the health and wellbeing of animals by not buying products that have been tested on them and not buying packaging that could endanger an animal’s life in the future.
- Save money by growing your own fruit and veg, buying second hand and upcycling old products and materials.
- Feeling calm thanks to decluttering.
How to Start a Zero-Waste Lifestyle
Though you shouldn’t throw away everything you own simply because you think it’s wasteful, it’s a good idea to start when you clean each room in your home. Take a look at certain items and make a note of what you could next replace them with. The bathroom may be a good place to start as there are items you are likely to buy more of on a monthly basis. You will find that many of your new zero-waste alternatives will last much longer than the items you have been using for as long as you can remember.
The next step is to think about your habits. There are many things in everyday life that you may not think of as wasteful until you count them on your hands (and you probably need a few hands to count with). Think hard about the wasted materials you use and dispose of and find a way to avoid using them as much as possible. From reusable coffee cups to metal straws, it’s a good idea to carry reusable items about with you in case there is no sustainable option available.
Get into the habit of saying no to plastic straws, flyers, paper vouchers, etc. Though an offer sounds tempting, you may not need a wasteful piece of paper in order to receive that deal. If you want to save money on dinners out, try looking around for digital vouchers instead!
Have canvas bags at the ready! You never know when you need to pick something up from the shop, so it’s good to keep one tucked away in your handbag/smaller backpack in case you don’t have enough space.
There are plenty of things you can be doing to make drastic reductions to your waste-usage, but it’s always best to start off small and build you way up. Though some are made for dramatic changes, it could be overwhelming for many people to suddenly transform their lifestyle to suit the zero-waste method. Small steps are better than no steps and you could find yourself making most changes within a year!