For the past few months I’ve been really interested in zero waste but for a while I didn’t think zero waste was possible, at least for me. See, when people think of zero waste, they think of the infamous trash jar but here’s the thing.. You don’t have to have a trash jar, you will never be perfect, and will never create absolutely no waste. Zero waste is more so about reducing the waste that you do make and always striving for better.
If you’re wanting to go zero waste, you in no way have to jump straight into it and never use plastic again. Instead you should think more about how much waste you’re creating and slowly try to decrease how much single-use plastic you use. Even by simply reducing your single-use items, you’ll be reducing your contribution to landfills.
I know some people view zero waste as daunting due to the fact that most zero wasters bulk shop but you don’t have to only shop in the bulk section. I try and shop mostly in bulk and at the farmers market but when I can’t, I do shop at Costco and buy bulk items there. When shopping at places like Costco, opt for items you know have reusable or at least recyclable packaging. Since we aren’t able to recycle, I take my recyclables to my health food store and recycle them there.
Most zero wasters, myself included, compost but I know that’s not an option for some people! Instead you could talk to your local farmers at the farmers market and see if they’d want your food scraps. Most would greatly appreciate it, plus it allows you to get to know those in your community.
Zero waste is all about trial and error and learning from your mistakes so don’t feel bad if you mess up in the beginning.
A few zero waste swaps I’ve found really helpful are:
REUSABLE WATER BOTTLE
Instead of buying a new plastic water bottle whenever you’re thirsty, try investing in a reusable water bottle. Not only is it easier but it’s far cheaper than buying bottled water constantly. I use this water bottle.
When out to eat, tell your server you don’t want a straw. I can’t lie, when I first started considering zero waste I forgot to do this constantly but over time I got better at it! Plastic straws are probably the most wasteful thing, second to plastic toothbrushes, because they are only used for an hour or so and are then just thrown away. I use stainless steel and glass straws.
Plastic utensils have been possibly the easiest thing for me to wean out, mostly because of how convenient it is to bring your own utensils. I prefer my bamboo utensils but when I first went zero waste I used just regular utensils I had sitting at home.
As I’ve mentioned above, plastic toothbrushes are the most wasteful thing you could buy. Plastic toothbrushes that were owned over a decade ago still haven’t decomposed, causing them to be absolutely terrible for the environment. I use bamboo toothbrushes instead as they’re compostable and cheaper!
In my seed cycling post I explained how I had frequent periods with frequent periods, which in turn means a lot of tampons and pads. Tampons are incredibly wasteful and not to mention terrible for your body so I recently switched to a Diva Cup! I cannot tell you how much I love it. It can be quite intimidating at first but it’s so much easier and much more convenient than tampons, not to mention cheaper.
I recently started using a safety razor after using disposable razors for years and the shave is so much better! It takes me longer to shave but it’s far worth it considering it’s cheaper and better for the environment.
I don’t have children but I have an aunt who has four kids and she actually used cloth diapers! With four kids, I thought she was absolutely nuts at the time but she swears by them! She said they were so much softer and since they’re just cloth, they don’t irritate and cause rashes. They’re also made without chemicals and bleach so they’re much better for your babies health! She swears by these.
REUSABLE GROCERY & PRODUCE BAGS
I’ve gotten most of my cloth grocery bags from Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and they’ve held up for quite a while! Using reusable grocery bags is such an easy way to reduce your plastic waste so I definitely recommend it. As for reusable produce bags, I really like these from Thrive Market! I use them for my produce and even my bulk items.
As for to-go containers I either use glass containers, mason jars, or these silicone lunch containers! I personally love mason jars as they’re so easy to just take with you on the go, though I know I’ll be getting a lot of use out of the lunch containers once my classes start up again.
MAKE YOUR OWN FOOD
When I first went vegan, I ate a lot of Gardein products and Chipotle, just due to the sheer fact that I didn’t know what to cook. Now that I’m more familiar with it, I love making my own food rather than eating out because I know what’s going into my body!
I hope these tips helped and as always thank you so much for reading!