Want to live more sustainably? Start with these zero waste tips.
Oh yes, the green life. Isn’t it relaxing waking up to a brand new day where the fresh morning breeze easily soothes your core from within? Or the after the smell of the soil soaked by the rain. Indeed, it is therapeutic to live in a vast modern life where trees are alive, in a sense of its vibrancy, and the air is free from pollution; dark smoke from factories. Seeing the streets amusingly clean with no trash in sight.
Moreover, you can freely dive into the depths of any bodies of water without fear of catching diseases given the clean state of the waters. Or how about waltzing inside our go-to malls and shop freely without the ruckus sound of plastic bags hanging on our arms?
I get it. I totally understand because I, myself, have been craving for that kind of leisure and literal feeling of fresh, calm, and serene environment. Unfortunately, as the years go by and modernity making its way to rule the world, it is giving off the kind of vibe which makes most of our cravings impossible. Just a few years ago, going zero waste started to emerge and make its way up of the number one priority list in the platforms of influential people in general.
Although this has been emphasized for a very long period of time, due to our lack of ideas and mediums where to advertise such programs, it became quite difficult to reach the public. Despite the presence of social media since the year 2004, the said medium was not easily accessible by the majority. With that, advertising such programs, going zero waste, for example, was not much given the attention it deserves because they relied more on printing papers and illustrations to advertise and seek help from the community.
On the contrary, as years go by and social media sites and blogs are becoming more popular, spreading awareness and movements became much easier to advertise and more people are getting oriented and enlightened about the sole and main goal of such program. Many years ago, it is only the heads of the community and a few volunteers are getting involved with such a program.
Fortunately, in recent years more people are getting involved and it is so good to see the youth participate and express their efforts and thoughts on stressing out and emphasizing the significance and relevance of the said program.
Despite that, we still cannot assume that everyone is already knowledgeable enough regarding the true meaning of what Zero Waste is. The Zero Waste Lifestyle aims to show you what Zero Waste means, its purpose, and what it can do to change the lives of many.
In particular, we created this guide on essential zero waste tips for beginners so you can start the switch to sustainable living. No pressure! We got overwhelmed at first, but we got through it and so will you!
WHAT IS ZERO WASTE?
If you look at zero waste, you might feel intimidated because, at first glance, it could mean virtually no waste whatsoever – zilch in all forms of waste from food to medical waste. But most Zero Waste advocates, including us, concur that it is impossible to completely erase trash in the world. Rather the goal of the Zero Waste Movement is “to go Darn Near Zero Waste – live with 90% less waste going to landfills”.
Given that the things we can purchase in the grocery stores and malls, even online shops, are well packaged by the use of plastics. According to the British Plastic Federation, packaging products with the use of plastics can 1.) protect vulnerable products from possible damages, 2.) preserve products longer, 3.) keeps products together, 4.) makes transportation easier, and 5.) can easily display information about the products such as nutritional contents, ingredients, and whatnot.
But we can live with less plastic. We can choose to go zero waste and find more sustainable alternatives to plastic goods. It may sound at first daunting but once done, it is manageable.
A friendly reminder before you go through the zero waste tips is to relax. No need to pressure yourself to automatically do everything within a week. It takes time to process every single thing given our lifestyle in the past and it takes quite a while to warm up to it. We have to think things through and learn from the process. At the end of the day, we are not just saving and helping our environment. We are also saving ourselves from the future wrath of nature.
Whenever you are ready. Scroll down and see the list of essential zero waste tips to start this lifestyle. By the way, you can make a checklist, on practices you already do and still have to do, to keep you on track. Enjoy!
ZERO WASTE TIPS FOR BEGINNERS:
Know what zero waste is
The most essential of the zero waste tips for beginners is to get informed.
We cannot always be spontaneous without knowing what we are up to. Wanting to go zero waste but not knowing what zero waste can be a tough run for you. It is like going to a court trial, wanting to win, but without factual evidence to prove your client’s innocence.
Sart by doing a trash audit where you segregate your trash. Doing this can be really helpful because it is where we can see disposables that we should refuse and reduce, and objects that are reusable and potential for long term use in your home.
If we have a goal, we have to know its function, its purpose, and how it works because not knowing might lead us to the opposite of our goal. Know and see first.
List your ‘whys’
Another essential zero waste tips are recognizing the reasons why you want to go zero waste.
Why are you doing this? We all have to start with something and knowing why you are taking such a course of action can clear out the uncertainties. Is it only because it became a trend? Is it because your favorite celebrity did it? Or is it because you know the state and condition of our environment and you would love to help make a change.
Others would say that it does not matter anymore as long as you are helping, but I strongly disagree with that because if doing something does not make you happy and only doing it for the sake, you may be helping the environment but you are not helping yourself. And it is not fulfilling. On the contrary, knowing your whys can help you get motivated and have a reference.
Use what you have
If you dislike garage selling because you hate to see your stuff go and get used by other people, but it can no longer be useful on your part? Well, here is my simple creative zero waste tips for you – DIYing and upcycling.
For jeans that do not fit you anymore, you can turn them into rags or mats at home instead of purchasing new ones. Or you could also turn them into your personal shopping bags.
Your old H&M cotton white polo that is too tight on the sleeves can be reused as sleeveless shirts or even handkerchiefs if you wish to. An old car tire can still be useful and make it into a swing for your children. You do not need to throw it in a junkie and let it rot.
As you can see, we always have several solutions to save money and save the environment at the same time. It only requires a little effort and some patience.
Purchase items that are eco-friendly
Shopping can be exciting but when you want to go zero waste, we have to begin by purchasing items that are eco-friendly. Refrain from purchasing items that are not good for the environment, such as styrofoam items. There are several organic and plastic-free stuff now that you can purchase and include in your daily routines.
For reference, here are some of the zero waste stores you can patronize for your essential needs wherever you may be. Most of what we commonly need in food to personal care items can be bought unpackaged or with less packaging. While pricey upfront for some, they will save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
We need to be more aware of what we buy and see to it how it can affect our environment. At the end of the day, we can see some changes until we get used to it slowly but surely.
Refuse what you don’t need
Sometimes it is quite challenging to say ‘No’, especially if we are used to being so polite at all times. But there should be instances where we should know how to refuse.
It is normal to be offered straws or plastic utensils when you are dining in restaurants. You have a glass for that. If you aren’t disabled, you do not need to use a straw to sip on your drink. Say no to straws because it is a factor in marine wildlife deaths worldwide.
More than just straws, refuse what you do not need in general. The more you decline, the more the demand for its production would lessen. It does not have to be NOT BUYING, but it is also about REFUSING.
List down items you often bring at home
Listing these things down can help you assess which items you should not be bringing into your home again and which items you need to find environmentally friendly replacements. Through this, you can also weigh in things that are reusable for long term use in your homes.
Say for example instead of throwing your soda bottles, why not keep them and use them as an alternative for pots instead of purchasing plastic pots from the store? With that, you already saved up your money and were able to help the environment by not just randomly throwing it somewhere.
Bring your own utensils for take-outs
Aside from carrying your own shopping bag, buying on the go food can be less of a hassle if you bring your own utensils. Say for example during lunch breaks, instead of asking the seller to put your purchased meal inside a plastic bag, why not take out your container and ask to put the meal there instead?
First, for sanitary purposes, it is quite safer since you probably made sure all your utensils at home are clean and second the more people bringing their own stuff instead of stuffing it in a plastic bag could give the owners an idea to purchase fewer plastics and require everyone to bring their own containers for the better growth of the environment.
Always bring your own bottle of water
Keeping hydrated at all times is a must. It can get extra hot these days. After exhausting traffic under the heat of the sun, after a morning jog, or even simply resting at home, we always need water to relieve us from exhaustion. However, we are not at home at all times where water is accessible as close as three meters. People tend to purchase bottles of water in nearby stores and throw the bottle either in a nearby trash bin or simply at the corner.
According to The Balance Small Business, a plastic bottle takes up to 1000 years, give or take, for it to decompose. Imagine dumping your used plastic bottle after drinking its water, your future grandchildren can still catch up to it and their future grandchildren as well. Wanting to go Zero Waste can also begin by using this tip. Plus, it is an edge for you to refill on nearby water stations that are free of charge. Once again, another way to save your money.
Following these simple zero waste tips can be helpful to begin your Zero Waste lifestyle. It is not complicated but it requires patience and the heart to accomplish it. Furthermore, this program is not just about saving the environment but it also helps you save money because it also promotes using what we have and purchasing what we only need.
Other than that, we can also participate in community activities to help promote the importance of going zero waste such as talking about it on social media and to our families at home. A simple act can make a huge change. We just have to put our hearts into it and trust the process.