So you have questions on how to get started with a zero waste lifestyle.
Where do I start? What products do I need? How much should it cost? Zero waste is not an overnight process. At the same time, it shouldn’t be a complicated one. Before you start purging everything you own, read on for our tips to start your zero waste journey.
Why is Zero Waste important to you?
Now, before you get rid of all the things, establish why you want to go zero waste.
For Dustin and I, it was a trip to SE Asia. We visited one of the most beautiful places we’d ever seen, only to find the beach covered with plastic waste. That was it! That’s when we knew we had to make a change. And that’s a time and place we return to often in our minds when we get discouraged or need motivation.
For you, it may be the realization that we in the USA can no longer depend on recycling since China isn’t taking ours anymore. Or maybe you’re a surfer and you’re tired of the plastic waste in our oceans and beaches. Or you simply want a healthier lifestyle for you and your loved ones.
Whatever it is, get specific for making this shift. Write down your reasons and revisit them whenever you need a reminder.
Assess your waste
Find out what your biggest sources of waste are and start there. The biggest component of reducing your waste is reducing your consumption.
Rethink your purchases. Maybe it’s your morning latte on the way to work. Or your favorite beauty line. Or your grocery trips. Prioritize the areas you want to reduce your waste and move on to the next step.
Take a zero waste challenge
So you’re ready to challenge the areas where you produce the most trash.
If it’s your morning coffee on the way to work, challenge yourself to make coffee at home and bring it with you in a reusable coffee mug. If it’s toiletry bottles from your favorite beauty line, look for sustainably made solid or bulk options. If you want to reduce your paper waste, try cutting up an old t-shirt and forgoing paper towels for 30 days.
Making small changes daily or even weekly in areas where you produce the most trash is much more tangible than looking at the big picture and becoming overwhelmed by all the waste you produce. And those small changes will help keep you motivated.
Replace Products As You Go
One of the myths of going zero waste is that you should go out and buy all new stuff. Don’t do that! In fact, if you do you may go broke making the switch.
Instead, use up what you already have then replace it with zero waste/reusable alternatives as you run out (toiletries, razors, food).
Before you make a new purchase, look around your home, you may already own items you need – reusable bags, water bottle, take out container, etc. Items that you do need to purchase, consider shopping secondhand before buying new.
And for things that no longer serve you – sell, donate, upcycle, or recycle them. The point of zero waste is to minimize/eliminate what is sent to the landfills.
Get Creative & Try DIY
Zero waste should be attainable regardless of income. You don’t have to go out and replace items with pricey sustainable alternatives. Get creative in your home. Switching from plastic wrap – use a plate to cover the bowl. Instead of paper towels cut up an old t-shirt. Rather than buying tupperware reuse your jars.
Try DIY! Health and beauty products can be pricey. Make your own, it’s fun and the best zero waste option, plus you’ll know exactly what’s in it.
Connect with other Zero Wasters
Everyone needs community. Connect with other zero wasters for support and inspiration. Here are a few of our favorites.