Zero waste living is when a person decides to live an environmentally conscious lifestyle, producing very little to no waste. It sounds like it would be a walk in the park to some people, but when a person actually goes to do it, it’s a lot harder than it seems. One cannot even begin to fathom how much waste just one person produces, (let alone a family), until he or she makes changes to start living a zero waste lifestyle.
Open your fridge: I guarantee there is a lot of food packaged in plastic. Look in your cupboards: There is probably a bunch of food packaged in boxes, in wrapping, and more. Take a gander inside your utility closet at all of those cleaning products that are not only toxic, but are prepackaged in wrapping that can’t be recycled or composted. Don’t even dare look inside your medicine cabinet or at your personal hygiene products! It might scare you looking at all of your personal hygiene products that are toxic and come in plastic packaging. Zero waste living might seem a little far-fetched at this point.
How can you possibly survive without producing all of that trash? Hygiene products come in that packaging and Ineed those items. Well, I’m going to tell you something about zero waste living: it IS possible if you start changing one thing at a time.
This year, it was a huge personal goal of mine to be able to live waste free and stay living a zero waste lifestyle. Not only because it’ll make my body healthier, (naturally without all of those packaged, processed foods and without having the toxins in cleaning and personal hygiene products), but because it is great for my soul and the environment. The transition to a zero waste lifestyle isn’t something that happens overnight. I’m still making the transition and at first, I was trying to make so many changes at once and I became frustrated. Then I slowed down, took a breath, and tackled one thing at a time.
A huge factor to adapting and sticking with a zero waste lifestyle is making changes one step at a time. Work and adapt these positive habits slowly, so they stick! You don’t want to throw away all of the items in your house and start over doing zero waste because you’d be literately wasting so much food and other items from your house. The idea of zero waste is to NOT send more stuff to our landfills, so please don’t waste things that you already have. Use up what you have and if you can repurpose (I.e. glass containers or jars), do it, and then adapt to zero waste in that area of your life. Want more tips on living a zero waste lifestyle; take a gander at these easy, proactive tips to get the ball rolling toward your trash-free life! Remember:Once you go zero, you’re a hero, (for the environment and yourself).
- Buy in bulk!
- Compost everything you can!
- Recycle everything you can!
- Upcycle, donate, and repurpose things (such as glass bottles, furniture even clothes)! Get creative!
- Try to buy fruit without produce stickers (easy to do when you buy local)!
- Always use your own reusable shopping bags!
- If you absolutely have to buy clothing items, shop thrift stores only!
- Make your own bath/body/personal care items! Check out the web or Pinterest for some really cool recipes! Check out future issues of Planting Seeds as well!
- Always eat leftovers! Don’t waste food!
- Cloth diaper if you have a baby or are pregnant!
- Stop with the paper products, (paper towels, paper napkins, plastic cups, plastic straws, etc.)!
- What about women’s time of the month? Look into cloth pads or the Diva cup!
- Resist temptation: don’t have as many trash cans in the house or have smaller trash cans!
- Use biodegradable toilet paper!
- When going out, bring your own mason jar for drinks. If you absolutely cannot stand to be without a straw, get a reusable, stainless steel straw.
- Bring mason jars or your own reusable canvas baggies to store bulk items in instead of using those little plastic bags the store usually has for bulk items.
- Use cloth napkins!
- Make your own cleaning products! Again, Pinterest is an amazing resource!
- Use glass to store leftovers, NOT plastic!
- Cancel all paper mail and sign up for electronic notifications for bills and whatnot.
- Refuse receipts!
- Ditch the tea bags if you drink tea! Buy loose leaf tea in bulk and make your own flavors! It’s fun, trust me on this!
**This article was also featured and published in Planting Seeds in South Carolina magazine. Besides following Elephant Mum, please check out the magazine’s site for more sustainable tips, tricks, and interviews!