You’ve probably heard about zero waste. Not producing any waste or trash sounds really daunting and impossible. In this post, we’ll take a look at why it isn’t as hard as you think to adopt some parts (or even all of) this lifestyle.
We’ll dive into the concept of zero waste along with easy strategies to reduce your trash production without having to feel guilty about not necessarily going “all in.”
What is the Definition of Zero Waste?
I figured I’d go straight to the source for this one. The Zero Waste International Alliance is the founding organization on zero waste, and it was created back in 2002 to help guide the development and standards of zero waste.
They define zero waste as “the conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
Zero waste can also mean designing and managing products and processes to systemically avoid and eliminate the volume of waste and materials, conserve and recover all resources (EPA, 2019).
Going zero waste doesn’t mean you can never buy anything again, but instead you’d focus on what happens to the materials once you’re done with them. Instead of the items getting burned or buried in a landfill, or ending up elsewhere, the materials would be reused, composted or recycled appropriately. Check out our post all about How to Recycle Correctly.
How to Incorporate Zero Waste into Your Lifestyle
Because our global population is growing with more and more waste being produced and contributing to harmful environmental impacts, it’s important to consider our own individual impact.
Being more mindful about your purchases and consumption is a step in the right direction. I learned from experience that it really isn’t as hard as it sounds to make small daily changes, especially when it comes to single-use items.
Here are some easy changes you can make to reduce your waste:
Eliminate Single Use Plastics
This is a hard one since almost everything seems to come in plastic packaging. Thankfully, some companies are now trying to change this by providing zero waste essentials. And lucky for us, you don’t have to go far to find specialty stores for these anymore.
Everyday household items can be turned zero waste by doing a quick online search. There are now several online retailers that make the change easier than ever before. Package Free Shop, Wild Minimalist, and the Zero Waste Store are some great online zero-waste companies to check out when making any zero waste swaps.
When shopping at your local grocery store or farmer’s market, you can bring your own reusable produce bags and bulk bags/jars to significantly cut down on packaging waste.
When you’re making daily purchases, be mindful if the product can be reused, recycled, or composted. If it can’t, is there an alternative that can be? This is one of the best ways you can lower your waste on a large scale.
Use a Zero Waste Kit
A zero waste kit is a really helpful tool to reduce your waste and reduce your carbon footprint. You can make your own zero waste kit by including a stainless steel water bottle, reusable coffee cup, grocery bags, reusable produce bags, utensils and bulk food containers. There are also some great pre-made starter kits online, including this one from EcoBox on Amazon.
Having these items with you will drastically cut down on single-use plastics from groceries, as well as single-use take-out container trash that is usually not recyclable.
Remember to keep your zero waste kit with you when you’re out and about so you have it when you need it 🙂
Buy Less in General
One of the biggest tips from people fully living this lifestyle is to buy less. It can be hard since it’s our human nature to consume, but looking around your own home you might find a lot of the items may not have been necessary purchases.
By buying less, you’re not only reducing the packaging waste, but also reducing the amount of resources it takes to make the products and ship the products. And many of our common household items eventually end up in a landfill at the end of their life cycle.
If you do need clothes or household items, buying from secondhand stores first reduces the amount of resources needed and helps give the item a second life.
Learn More About Zero Waste!
We’ve covered just a few of the many ways you can incorporate zero waste principles into your lifestyle. Doing additional research and educating yourself on reducing waste is another super important aspect. There are so many helpful blogs to help guide you on making some zero waste switches.
Here are just a few you can get started with.
Going Zero Waste is one of my top go-to zero waste blogs that taught me so many easy life swaps. Their motto is “Breaking down zero waste living into a simple step-by-step process with lots of positivity and love.” It’s full of helpful zero-waste lifestyle articles to give you inspiration without making you feel bad if you can’t do everything.
Trash is for Tossers is another solid option for zero waste how-to’s, product recommendations, DIY zero waste recipes, email newsletters and more. The author has been zero waste for 8 years and has a lot of insight!
And lastly, be sure to also check out the blog Zero Waste Home. It focuses on swaps you can make in your home with helpful how-to articles and products that can help you produce less waste in the long run.
Even If You Don’t Go Completely Zero Waste, That’s Okay!
If you’re a regular visitor of Tamborasi, you know our theme is “Small changes create a big impact.” We don’t want you to feel completely overwhelmed that you can’t produce only one jar of trash per year. While it’s amazing that people can do this, don’t feel bad if you can’t.
Even reducing a little bit of trash each day really does add up when more and more people get on board. Do what you can! And thank you for any small change you’re able to make.