Are you someone who loves to recycle? Do you want to throw away less trash or create less waste in general? You may want to think about transitioning to a zero waste lifestyle.
A few months ago, I was at a bookstore when I saw a book about zero waste living. I thought, "what's that?" I picked up the book and in a matter of minutes, I had decided to give it a try. I was incredibly passionate about recycling and living sustainably, so I thought this could be my next step.
What does it mean to be zero waste? When you live a zero waste lifestyle, it essentially means that you aim to reduce trash to the smallest amount possible. In addition to recycling, it also targets consumption by minimizing the number of products owned and purchased.
How do you start?
It may seem incredibly difficult to start a transition to a lifestyle that may appear "extreme," but it's really not that hard. It's all about breaking bad habits.
To start, consider purchasing the book Zero Waste Home by Bea Johnson. This book is a great way to introduce yourself to zero waste living. It provides lists of things to get rid of, habits to stop, and ways to slowly transition your home to zero waste.
After you've fully informed yourself on zero waste living, you may decide to start decluttering. Here are some easy ways to get started.
1. Switch to plastic-free shampoo.
The average plastic bottle takes 450 years to decompose, meaning that most of them will sit in landfills long after we're all gone. But don't worry, there are easy ways to reduce your plastic consumption. One way is to switch to plastic-free shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. There are tons of options out there for all hair and skin types, and most of them are even cheaper than your typical shampoo.
2. Use plastic-free face wash.
Most of us purchase our facial cleanser in plastic bottles with pumps, but there are plastic-free options which are cheaper and more effective, like this charcoal face wash from Lush, which targets combination skin and uses mostly natural ingredients.
3. Stop using plastic grocery bags.
Plastic grocery bags are one of the largest sources of plastic waste in landfills. You can pick up reusable bags at Walmart or Kroger for about 10 cents, and even cheaper online.
4. Get rid of your plastic silverware/paper plates.
Replace your plastic silverware with real silverware. Yes, you have to wash more, but you're keeping a lot of plastic out of landfills and it keeps you from owning more plates and silverware than you actually need.
5. Stop eating out/shopping for unnecessary items.
Obviously, you don't have to completely stop eating out and going to the mall, but you should consider seriously pulling back. Try to only eat out once a week, and then gradually decrease that number. Try to only buy new clothes when you have a special event, or try shopping at resale stores. Your wallet, body, and closet will thank you!
It may seem scary to think about all the changes you need to make to start your zero waste lifestyle, but I promise it isn't that hard. By cutting eating out, purchasing excess clothing, and the cost of buying things like paper plates, napkins, and towels, and plastic silverware, I've saved enough money to replace many items in my home to support my transition to zero waste living, and had some cash left over. Becoming zero waste doesn't happen overnight, and there's no rush. You'll definitely slip up along your journey, but it's completely worth it if you have a passion for our planet.