Endeavouring to go zero waste can be overwhelming at best.
I have condensed a few tips to get you on your way to living with less waste.
Remember it's all about the journey and not the destination.
1. Have a strong reason for why you want to go zero waste
The stronger the 'why' the more likely you are to stick with this lifestyle. If it is just a fad or a competition then you won't last long term. So know why you want to live this lifestyle and what it means for you to reduce your waste. For example; do you want to have less stuff in your house? Do you hate seeing the animals injured because of the waste in the oceans and on land? Are you sick of this disposable society? Do you want to help the environment? It may be all of the reasons above for you so just get a clear picture in your mind of your reason and this will help you stay living this lifestyle all your life.
2. Use What You Have First
When going on a zero waste journey one can get inclined to throw out everything and start afresh The bare look of plastic can cause disgust. Go easy. The big picture is all about reducing waste so use what you have at home. When you need to buy more of a certain product, buy something more sustainable. You can re use plastic containers for storage and use up all your products before moving on to new ones that create less waste.
3. Eliminate One Use Items
This is a shift in focus and becoming more aware of what packaging you use and where it goes after you have finished.
The main culprits are take away coffee containers, plastic straws, plastic bags, plastic cutlery and plastic water bottles.
Say no and bring reusable alternatives when you are out and about. You can have your reusable bag with you at all times and even if a shop has paper bags you can just use your own.
If I'm out and about and forget my coffee container I just don't get a take away drink. So it is best to be prepared and get ready for strong arm muscles with all that your bag has to carry!
4. Up cycle your rubbish
Recycling is not the answer. It depends on huge resources to make it all happen so up cycling is a fun way of reducing your waste. Find fun and creative ways of making your trash into something else. I made garden lanterns from tin cans. Use your old plastic toothbrushes as scrubbers. Imagination is all you need.
4. Household and Food Shopping
Unfortunately Ireland has no zero waste shop, so doing your groceries can get a bit tricky. I go to multiple shops, mainly a health food store and vegetable shop. Try and buy your vegetables off a local farmer and ask for no packaging. Buy in bulk to save on waste. Bring your own produce bags if getting vegetables in the supermarket. Check the products to see if they are recyclable in the first place. Do your best to only buy recyclable paper products. So much in the supermarkets are packaged in non recyclable plastic so it will take a while and a bit of digging to reduce your waste while shopping. Be patient and persevere.
5. Have Less, Use Less
The less you use, the less you waste. Condense all your needs down and simplify your life. This can be really refreshing. Having less stuff in my life has not only reduced my waste but has also made me feel calmer and more organised. If you have loads of creams for every part of your body, be ruthless and compress down to one or two. You will find that you shop much less and have more money in your pocket, which is always a good thing!
6. Go Easy on Yourself
I have noticed an increase in anxiety in some people trying to conform to a zero waste life. Give yourself a massive break. You care for the environment and you are conscious of changing. No one is perfect and there is no such thing as a completely waste free life. Focus on the bigger picture and remember it's all about the little things that make a big difference. Take little steps in the right direction and everyday you will notice the changes. And most of all enjoy the process. You are doing your bit to help this planet. Be grateful everyday.
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Thanks for Reading