Zero waste living is on the tips of the tongue everywhere we go. TV and Radio stations, stores, schools are all about sharing their tips, ideas, products and projects focusing on building simple and easy toolkits for a zero waste, plastic-free living. My personal life revolves around green recipes, fresh and raw eating, making my own lotions and makeup, choosing to buy from sustainable companies and developing some awesome cleaning recipes for my home. Sky’s the limit for HOW TO create a quality lifestyle without too much waste.
I have invited Ryan Lewis the Founder of EarthHero sustainable products marketplace to talk about this precious and in high-demand Zero Waste Living HOW-TOs.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that we live in a world that revolves around consumption. Our culture has made it easy to buy, buy, buy, without giving a thought to what tomorrow will look like. Well, when people buy, buy, buy, they also create a ton of waste – 4.5lbs per person per day, in fact!
The Zero Waste Movement is all about finding ways to reduce that number. Before you panic, don’t be alarmed by the term “zero waste”! It’s a journey that has to start somewhere, and you don’t have to actually produce zero trash to be “zero waste.” Instead, it’s about taking small steps to cut out unnecessary waste, and not giving up when the odds aren’t in your favor. By focusing on these four areas of your life, you can significantly reduce your footprint, live simpler, and save money too!
Learn how to say “no” & invite Reusable into your Zero Waste Lifestyle
The best way to reduce waste is to not create it in the first place! Take a look at what fills up your trash can. You might find that a huge portion consists of disposable water bottles, plastic utensils, packaging, and straws! Did you know that 500 million drinking straws are used in America every day? And, globally, 1 million plastic water bottles are used per minute!
The easiest way to do your part in cutting down this unnecessary waste is to just to refuse it in the first place. In order to say no, however, it’s important to have alternatives. A reusable water bottle will last you a whole lot longer than a flimsy plastic one, and many come insulated so that your drink stays ice cold! You can also look into keeping a reusable set of utensils and a straw in your purse, and you’ll never be caught off guard. By planning ahead just a little bit, you can reduce your footprint a whole lot.
Re-think your food with Composting & Reusable Utensils
Let’s go back to your trash can. You might realize that alongside those single-use items, food and its packaging takes up a good bit of space too. In fact, food waste takes up more landfill space than any other single material! When starting your zero waste journey, you’ll want to give your kitchen some special attention to avoid food waste and unnecessary packaging.
A great way to reduce your food waste in the first place is to do a little bit of meal planning and prepping. By setting up the week’s menu, you can have a clear idea of exactly what you need for meals and snacks throughout the week. In doing so, you can make sure that ingredients don’t go to waste, leftovers get eaten, and that you’re not running to the grocery store at the last minute! Don’t forget to plan for snacks, too!
Fill a jar with your favorite trail mix or dried fruit, and you’ll never have to resort to plastic filled vending machine snacks again!
Even with the best planning, you’ll still probably have a little bit of food waste. You may think that food in the landfill doesn’t really matter–it just decomposes, right? Not necessarily. When food joins other trash in the landfill, it can’t decompose properly and creates methane, which is about 23 times more harmful to the environment than carbon dioxide. Instead of tossing your scraps in the trash, start to compost! Composting makes sure that these food scraps can decompose in a way that releases nutrients back into the soil.
The other half of making your food purchases less wasteful is to pay attention to packaging!
Avoid pre-packaged vegetables and excessively wrapped snacks. Choose the fresh veggies and shop in bulk when possible.
Instead of turning to disposable plastic bags in the produce section, try out some reusable produce bags instead! When you do have to buy packaged items, choose glass or aluminum over plastic, and cardboard over styrofoam!
Take care of what you’ve got
You’ve learned how to say no, your kitchen’s in zero waste order, but you still have some things in your house that aren’t in their prime. Should you throw them away? Of course not!
Zero waste helps you develop a new relationship with the things you already own.
Rethinking waste brings to light how valuable your products actually are, so next time you’re thinking about throwing away old clothes, consider some other options.
Can you patch up a hole in those jeans? Great! Are they just not your style anymore? Donate or sell them if they’re still in good shape, or repurpose them into rags if they’re not. At the very end of their life, still don’t toss them in your trash can. There are special recycling centers that will take your worn out clothing and make sure they’re disposed of properly or turned into something new!
Make your own
There are plenty of items that you’ll always need to buy more of (think: cleaners, makeup, and body scrubs and wash).
Next time you need to restock, give DIY a go!
Not only will this reduce the amount of packaging that comes with buying new products, but it’ll also save you money and give you products that you can trust!
Practice What You Know
Knowing and doing what you know has a huge impact on the outcome. If you know a lot of useful information and HOW-TOs, yet reserve your efforts, then the effect of zero waste will by-pass you. Once you start with tiny steps that add to the quality of your sustainable efforts, you will start to enjoy the benefits of zero waste living.
Make Zero Waste Living Beautiful
— Laura Gontchar (@SkinYouth) April 18, 2018