To have zero waste, we must never dispose of anything in the landfill or send anything to high destruction temperatures.
Some people usually expect that "zero waste" means not producing waste. Others are discouraged from adopting a zero-waste lifestyle because they think it seems nearly impossible.
But come to think of it. Estimates from EPA say that Americans produce 4.4 pounds of trash per day. That is a whopping 1606 pounds per year!
It's time to examine and cut down our trash generation closely. You can start it in your own home.
Start it off with these 5 R's of zero waste living. Understanding these rules in practice is different from simply reading them.
Refuse anything you don't need.
Reduce what you do need and reevaluate how much of it you do.
Reuse recyclable materials, such as metal straws, or repurpose them to maximize their usefulness.
Recycle the one you can't refuse, reduce or reuse
Rot (compost) what's left.
Transition to a Zero Waste Lifestyle
How pleasing it would be that every corner of your home is down to "zero waste"? Then and again, the transition should be one step at a time.
Although the path to "zero waste" is never-ending, alternative items or goods will be helpful throughout each step!
Please remember that replacing one of the goods listed with an outdated one is not smart. Use leftover products, then recycle, give away, or sell the rest.
To prevent as much waste out of the landfill as possible is the goal of zero waste!
Your Zero Waster Kitchen
Many people start in the kitchen when adopting a "zero waste" lifestyle. Here, a lot of waste gathers daily and is readily visible—a habit of waste.
Awareness of a harmful habit is the first step toward changing it; breaking it is the next. Do a waste audit first. Look through your storage and compile an inventory of containers you use, such as plastic bags, Ziploc bags, etc.
Start by replacing your old, wasteful habits with a few new, small ones at a time to stop your waste habit. But most significantly:
Glass containers are more hygienic than plastic ones, more sturdy, and easier to reuse and recycle than most alternatives. It is worthwhile to invest.
Get Rid of Plastic Bags
Many households have made it a practice to line their trash cans with plastic bags. Saying "no" to plastic bags at supermarkets is a habit you can also develop in-home trash cans. Keep up by giving your trash cans hot water and soap wash.
Using the Entire Product
Even though they are no longer popular, consuming "waste" foods is still acceptable. For instance, reusing broccoli leaves for a salad, carrot tops for pesto, and potato skins for homemade chips.
Create Milk Alternatives
You may make your milk alternatives and eliminate packaging waste by soaking dried goods in water to make things like oat, almond, and coconut milk.
More tips for your "zero waste" kitchen
- Refrain from using single-serve coffeemakers that use pods.
- Grow your food. Herbs and salad greens can be grown in containers on a balcony, on window ledges, or gardens.
Use the freezer to keep food fresh longer. Freeze or preserve extra garden vegetables.
- To produce vegetable stock, save vegetable peelings.
- Consume leftovers or distribute them to neighbors and friends.
- Blend up overripe fruit for smoothies.
- Stop chewing gum.
- Do not use nonstick cookware.
- Use bones to make cooking stocks or broths
- Composting at home will nourish the soil.
- Make your recycling and compost bins easier to access than your trash can.
Your Zero Waste Bathroom
Have you recently taken an inventory of the contents of your bathroom waste bin?
Tissues, Q-tips, personal care items, and shampoo bottles. Very depressing inventory. Changing bathroom and hygiene habits are frequently more difficult than changing most other behaviors.
While entirely altering your toilet routine can be intimidating, changing just a little aspect of it typically feels exhilarating and liberating. Thus, work toward your goal one small habit at a time.
The "time of the month" may impact you and the environment well. Luckily, reusable and washable pads are a developing response.
Soap and Shampoo
The most waste-producing items in bathrooms are soap and shampoo. A few companies to consider if you want to say goodbye to this waste while maintaining your fresh scent. Companies offering unpackaged bar soap and refills for soap dispensers are springing up nationwide.
Every year, landfills get two billion plastic razors. It is strongly advised to switch to plastic-free or reusable razors.
Spray deodorants use hydrocarbons and compressed gases best known for their role in global warming and produce a lot of packaging waste. Choose alternatives that make zero waste or are refillable.
Reusable Makeup Removers
Several bathroom items made of cotton are single-use, and cultivation consumes much water and other resources. Instead of single-use makeup removers or reusable ear swabs, try using reusable cotton rounds.
More tips for your "zero waste" bathroom
- Make use of non-disposable feminine care products
- Switch up your shaving cream with soap.
- Refrain from cosmetics containing microbeads.
- Reduce and simplify. Do you need more than one type of shampoo? Replace your plastic q-tips with compostable or plastic-free alternatives. Toilet paper that has been dampened can also be used; it will work just as well to wipe the surfaces of your ears.
Your Zero Waste Closet
Many people find it challenging to repair holes and remove clothing they no longer want. Thus these items frequently wind up in landfills or incinerators.
But it can be a helpful reminder that what one (man) throws away, another (man) may find valuable. The first step toward a "zero waste" closet is carefully treating your existing clothing. The fabrics will last longer if you treat them gently.
When your affection for an item vanishes, think about using the fabric for an art project if you can't sell it or swap it.
Repair, Don't Toss
Throwing away clothing due to a lost button, broken zipper, or damaged seam is inappropriate. A nearby sewist can give your dress new life.
Clothes swaps are "trend," but purchasing a dress for $150 that costs $0.50 to make is "off." Clothing swaps are a terrific opportunity to meet new, like-minded people and an excellent method to keep out on items you no longer want and find gorgeous, pre-loved jewels.
There are now bags that can be used to wash possibly dangerous clothing that can help reduce the number of microplastics that enter the water.
Purchase Recycled Materials
Numerous companies increasingly use waste as their products' primary raw material, repurposing everything from fishing nets to old tires to ocean plastic.
More tips for your "zero waste" closet
- Renting formal or special event attire
- If you need anything new, consider purchasing used items.
- Give your old eyeglasses to nonprofit organizations that distribute them to those in need.
- Reduce the amount of laundry you do and only wash your items when they are filthy.
- Use wool dryer balls in place of dryer sheets.
Your Zero Waste Home Office
You'll notice that "this is how I've always done it" will gradually give way to better methods of doing things on your journey toward Zero Waste, even at your desk.
Examine the paper bin under your home office desk. Each sheet is turned. What else do you see while looking through your garbage? Significantly, you noticed whatever it is.
Let's look at how you may adopt zero-waste principles in this area of your house as well.
When an eSignature will do, resist the impulse to print contracts, sign the last page, and scan them.
The majority of banks and businesses offer electronic statements and bills. Email receipts are increasingly prevalent, even in stores. The change is fantastic. Answer "yes" and join the team!
Use Rechargeable Batteries
Use rechargeable batteries instead of standard AA or AAA cells if your devices require them to reduce waste.
Purchase Accessories that are Compatible with Different System
Buy accessories that are compatible with everyone's devices whenever possible. Instead, switching all of your household's electronics to the same brand can reduce the need for chargers, power converters, headphones, and connections.
Move to the cloud
Your hardware will be under less stress, and you won't need as many portable storage devices if you move and store your data on the cloud.
More tips for your "zero waste" home office
- Use a piece of paper on both sides before recycling it.
- Unless it's a reference book you'll use away from the Internet, get e-books.
- Purchase refillable writing instruments.
- Consider using an external disk to store data rather than burning it to a CD so you may edit the documents.
- Refuse single-use coffee cups and instead bring your cup or mug.
Go Zero Waste Within Yourself
Your Zero Waste Shopping
You'll understand why shopping might feel like the most miserable activity of your week as you progress to Zero Waste.
There are so many goods covered in numerous layers of plastic retailers seem delighted to bundle your groceries into yet another layer. You can already picture the waste and recycling soon filling your household bins.
The unfortunate news is that they still need to be the exception. Just remember that you vote with your dollars. Thus, you can change the current system, one item at a time.
The "special" waste
Specials are fantastic. They occasionally are wins, but they always seem like wins. They frequently, however, entice you into buying something that wasn't on your list and that you had just thought about up to that point. Then, consider whether you need it.
The fear of missing out, best known as FOMO, is one of the most effective sales strategies. Don't be fooled into purchasing anything you don't need by signs that say things like "only valid today," "limited quantity," or "while supplies last." Would you still purchase this if you had time to consider it until the end of the month?
More tips for your "zero waste" shopping
- Get a refillable lighter or stick to matches.
- To support locally grown food with less packaging, buy at your local farmers' markets or farm gate sales.
- Avoid the frozen food aisle because most packaging cannot be recycled.
- Avoid purchasing products with single-serving packagings, such as sweets or granola bars.
- Only buy things in recyclable packaging.
- Go for loose produce instead of packed produce.
- Examine product labels and avoid using anything with toxic or harmful substances.
- Cut back on fast food. If you want to get a burger, bring your containers.
- Before purchasing, research the goods, companies, and merchandise you plan to buy. Consider the environmental impact, whether there are recycling or take-back programs, repair services, and what other customers say about the product's quality and functionality.
- Before purchasing, research the products, companies, and items you plan to buy. Are there any return or repair initiatives in place? Is it recyclable? What do other customers think about the product's quality?
Your Zero Waste Activities
Making your home zero waste is a great start, but the effort should continue. You may continue to lead a Zero Waste lifestyle while away from home. You will encounter specific difficulties. Yet, overcoming them one at a time is tremendously satisfying. There are numerous occasions to have an influence, whether at a restaurant, when planning a party, or even when traveling.
Bring Your Own
Bringing your takeout containers and using your cups when visiting a coffee shop are two of the most straightforward and essential steps to living a "zero waste" lifestyle.
Avoid Using Straws
Drinks with straws are typically served at restaurants. We hope this practice will return to the "no straw until they ask" approach, but until then, it is up to you to purchase without straws. Thank you for considering our planet.
More tips for your "zero waste" activities
- Bring a reusable coffee cup to work, school, events, and on the go.
- You can rent plates and glasses or combine what you already have for large gatherings.
- Be bold and ask your guests to bring their plates, glasses, and silverware if you're hosting a party and won't be able to supply (or rent) enough. Do a small "who has the cutest cup" competition if you feel terrible asking (even though there is no reason to feel guilty about this).
- Refrain from filling your plate at buffets; you can always get more if you get hungry again.
- Instead of using the airline's plastic-wrapped headphones, bring your earplugs or headphones.
- Carry your cups rather than relying on the disposable ones the airline is giving.
Your Zero Waste Family
Infants are experts at creating waste; they outgrow their clothes quickly and frequently use dozens of diapers daily.
Sometimes even older children can undo all your zero-waste efforts. Nevertheless, things don't have to be that way.
Even for the youngest family members, there are excellent solutions. Toy trades and cloth diapers are eternal! They help you recommit to living a zero-waste lifestyle.
Children can make excellent Zero Waste activists. It's never too early to inform children of our environmental impact and assist them in minimizing their own.
Reusable diapers have become a fashion, a trend to follow. Consider a diaper service in your town if washing dirty diapers make you uneasy.
Toys and clothing are undoubtedly already being passed down from one child to the next. That's a terrific starter. But what happens to all those clothes and toys when your family grows to the appropriate size? Giving these things a second life is easy with clothing and toy swaps, kid-friendly secondhand shops, and garage sales.
More tips for your "zero waste" family
- Label children's clothing, school supplies, and other items that could end up in the lost-and-found at the school.
- Have a swap meet or party where you may trade toys, books, and clothing for kids.
- Create or use a toy library where children can borrow toys and games.
- Children can buy and sell items at garage sales and thrift shops.
- Use leftovers for projects like toilet paper rolls to teach your kids about reuse.
- Involve kids in learning about waste reduction and recycling in an enjoyable way.
Your Road to Zero Waste Lifestyle
Zero waste is not a passing trend. It's an outlook. That is a way of life. It's our future. Our planet cannot sustain the take-use-discard mentality we inherited from earlier generations indefinitely. It is every one of our responsibilities to transition to a circular economy to secure the future for future generations. If we give it a top priority, it is achievable. So, let's make it a priority. We appreciate your support as the zero waste movement has begun because we can affect that change together!