Beginners Guide: To Low Waste-Living
The zero-waste movement is getting a lot of attention these days. And we like seeing this trend heat up faster than the rising global temperature. Of course, the climate crisis is no joke and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the stats and facts that hit our news feed. Now whether or not we all agree on climate change, one thing is certain: Humans create too much waste.
Plastic is everywhere and once you begin to see it, it’s impossible to not see it. Thankfully, there are practical ways we can all take steps toward living low-waste. Starting with . . .
Noticing the waste around us is a good start, but let’s dig a little deeper. Ask yourself some questions. Such as . . .
“What would we do if we had to keep all of our garbage?”
A single question can inspire the creativity needed to pull you into intentional living. It looks different for everyone and that’s what’s so fun about the zero-waste movement. So many brilliant minds have asked themselves tough questions and used their creativity to inspire fresh perspectives on ways to live your best low-waste life.
When living with intention and choosing where to put our money, we are actively using our power as consumers. Finding a personal reason for going low-waste sets a foundation to build strategies on.
When you find your intention, set some goals in place. Here are a few ideas . . .
- consciously observe your garbage can (might be a little gross, but it’s a good motivator)
- buy plastic-free produce
- start composting
- make your own nut milk
- ask for meat wrapped in compostable butcher paper at your local butcher shop
- take five-minute showers
- add the R’s to your routine: rethink, reduce, reuse, recycle, rot
It’s important not to overwhelm yourself. Take steps and watch yourself grow. It’s helpful to put a list of goals somewhere you can see it everyday (like on your fridge or mirror).
Eco-hack: Shop with jars! Most places with bulk sections will let you bring in jars to fill. Just make sure you get the jars weighed before you fill them and keep track of the bin numbers of the goods you bought. Not only does this eliminate plastic packaging, it saves you money and you can display your cute jars in your kitchen.
Invest in quality products.
There’s no need to go out and replace everything you own with brand new, eco-friendly products. Instead, use what you already own and replace it with awesome quality when needed.
Some practical products to start off with:
- sturdy, reusable shopping bags
- a reusable water bottle
- a travel mug
- a bamboo tooth brush
- shampoo and conditioner bars
- some stainless-steel containers for take-out or leftovers
Even if you start with just one of these, you eliminate a lot of waste.
Bring things with you.
It can take some time to get into the rhythm of remembering to grab your grocery bags or bring your travel mug for your flat white, but once you find that rhythm, you are set!
Eco-hack: Throw a set of utensils from home in your bag. This way, you can say no to single-use plastic utensils everywhere you go. Keep a stainless steel straw in there too!
Take it easy on yourself.
Going low-waste doesn’t happen overnight. Buying quality, plastic-free items of all sorts is more expensive. It’s important to not go broke in the process of going waste-free. Embrace the process and take baby steps. Make goals and keep track of your journey. Seeing your growth along the way will encourage you—and others—to keep taking steps. Every little bit helps. Let yourself breathe and relax. Love yourself while you love the earth.
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero-waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”—Anne-Marie Bonneau: Zero-Waste Chef
What are some of your favourite ways to be waste-free? Join in on the conversation in the comment section below!
Written By Jade Paxton for FRANC