So, you’ve heard about this thing called Zero Waste Living, and you’re intrigued. Maybe you’re not intrigued and you think it’s a waste of time. That’s your prerogative. Perhaps you think it all sounds fascinating, but just not doable. I mean, aint no body got time for that, right?
Wrong. You don’t need to give up your career and sell your belongs to travel to some remote location and save rain forests. That would help. Do that if you are in a position to do so. But you don’t have to. Just yet.
There a few steps you can take towards living zero waste, and they’re actually so easy and simple that you might just want to go all out and see this thing through.
So here are you’re five very simple steps to get started:
Step 1. Ditch The Bag
Ditch the plastic bag. You don’t need it! Not only is plastic evil with it’s pollutey ways, it’s also toxic! Buy reusable bags instead. You’ll prevent tons of single use bags ending up in the oceans, landfills or some poor animal’s digestive system, you’ll probably support a good cause depending what bag you buy, and you’ll save money. Isn’t that motivation enough?
Step 2. Ditch the bottle.
The plastic bottle is even worse than that plastic bag. Again, it ruins the environment (ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? You know, that 90-foot deep, twice-Texas-sized trash heap floating in the Pacific that is full of itsy bitsy tine pieces of plastic bottles. It will take you three days to drive across Texas – that gives you any idea how big the floating mess-heap out in the Pacific is?) and yes, it’s toxic too. They contain trace amount of Bisphenol A (BPA), a synthetic chemical that interferes with the body’s natural hormonal messaging system. They even make baby bottles with this stuff! Seriously?! Switch to a glass water bottle. Every thing tastes better in glass, anyway.
Step 3. Buy in Bulk
Chances are you’re not gonna magically get rid of plastic all at once. Then at least try to minimize it. If you can get something packaging free, that’s always the better. But if you don’t, then buy in bulk. You’d be surprised on how much packaging you’ll cut out of your life this way. Single use plastic items is chocking our planet. Do you really need that ONE individual packaged pizza slice? Ask to have the slice in a damn brown paper bag, dammit.
Step 4. Compost and Recycle.
Recycling is not ideal. You still don’t have control over what goes where and how it’s recycled. So, not ideal, but it helps. I have containers in my spare room. They’re marked Plastic, Paper, (which goes to our local recycling station. I’ve just started on this zero waste journey myself, so phasing the existing plastic out is still an issue for me.) Another container is marked Recycle Nation. I met a guy at The Sheds @1Fox who makes the most amazing stuff from trash he picks up in the streets and on dumpster dives. Mostly crisp packets, bottles etc. He turns it into wallets, bags, book covers. Go look at some of his stuff here at Republic of Recycle. My last container is marked Mom, but that’s an entirely different story… lol.
As for composting, there are ways of doing it yourself, even if you live in a tiny apartment on the 4th floor. If you can’t compost your own food scraps, see if someone else will, most cities and towns have composting services.
Step 5. Don’t buy more plastic.
It’s as simple and as hard as that. Don’t bring anything new in. Once you get to this stage, you’re ready to move onto the harder stuff. (Not that it’s really much harder. And you made it here already. Be proud. Keep going. The fun only starts now.)
This is the stage when you realize that your toothpaste tube is almost empty and you don’t want to buy another one, so you look for Toothpaste and Tooth Powders recipes instead. Or when you realize your shampoo is up, and you start googling “Can I wash my hair with coconut oil and baking soda?” And then you also realize how versatile Coconut Oil and Baking Soda can be.
But that’s for a next post.
Do you have any other suggestions for steps I might have missed? Comment below!