You may have heard the term "zero waste" and wondered what it actually means. Zero Waste is a way of life characterized by sustainability, reuse, and minimalism. This means recycling, composting, and reusing as much stuff as you can. The goal of zero waste is that nothing ends up in landfills or incinerators.
More and more people are interested in sustainable living for all the right reasons. To understand the scale of the impact your daily habits have, just consider that an average UK household produces around 399kg per person each year and much of this rubbish ends up in landfill where it takes centuries to break down. Although it may seem scary at first, living without waste is possible with a little effort and planning.
If you are interested in reducing your impact on the environment, you may be wondering how to start a more zero waste lifestyle. Keep reading and you will find some tips to start your zero waste journey.
- Start with baby steps
When starting your zero waste journey, it's important to start with small changes and gradually move towards more significant adjustments. Don't try to overhaul your entire life overnight - that's a recipe that will only make you feel frustrated and exhausted. Instead, focus on making one or two changes at a time.
A good start is to slowly remove single use items from your life, for example you can start by bringing your own coffee mug to work or using metal straws. Once you've made these changes and they've become second nature, you can move on to bigger changes like eliminating single-use plastics from your life or composting food scraps. Remember, baby steps lead to big changes!
- Make a plan
Part of zero waste is knowing what you can and can't recycle. If an item is not recyclable, see if there is a way to reuse or compost it. Planning ahead will make zero waste living easier in the long run.
- Evaluate your trash
The next step is to evaluate your trash. Take a few days and just store all your junk in one place. This will help you see what kind of things you throw away and where you can cut back. For example, if you find yourself throwing away a lot of plastic packaging, look for alternatives that come in recyclable or compostable packaging.
- Shop consciously
One of the best ways to reduce your waste is to pay attention to what you buy in the first place. Ask yourself if you really need something before you buy it. Can you borrow it from someone? When you need to buy something, try to buy second hand whenever possible. Not only is this better for the environment, but it's usually cheaper too!
When grocery shopping, try to buy items that are not packaged in plastic or other single-use materials. Shop at farmer markets and local grocers instead of big supermarkets whenever possible. And when shopping for clothes, look for second-hand items or brands that use sustainable materials like organic cotton.
- Do not give up
Never give up when learning how to not waste. Of course, changing your habits isn't always easy, don't be too hard on yourself if you make some mistakes! That can happen now and then, and that's okay! The important thing is not to give up completely just because you made a mistake. Not wasting is a process and it takes time to master it and make it a habit. Every step counts when it comes to reducing your impact on the environment, so even if you manage to reduce your waste only a little, it's still a success.
Living a zero-waste lifestyle takes effort and conscientiousness, but it's definitely doable—even for beginners. By starting small and making a plan, you can slowly but surely move towards a more sustainable lifestyle. Not only will you be helping the environment, but you'll also find that zero-waste living can save you money in the long run.
Switching to a zero-waste lifestyle is a great way to live more sustainably. So why not give it a try? Your future self will thank you! Just take it one step at a time and soon enough, zero waste will become second nature.