The zero waste lifestyle has been making waves in mainstream over the past few years. But this movement is about much more than fitting your trash into a mason jar — zero waste living is an opportunity to reevaluate your true wants and needs, discover a reason to make, grow, and bring your own, and slash your carbon footprint. It’s about connecting the dots between what you consume and what you waste.
Check out these four tips that will make living lighter feel insanely easy. And remember: zero waste isn’t about producing no trash ever (that would be pretty difficult to do within our linear economy!) It’s about finding fresh ways to waste less and do more!
BRING YOUR OWN
Treat yourself to an insulated stainless steel bottle, perfect for picking up coffee at your favorite cafe and toting cold water during hiking treks. Bring your own reusable bags to the grocery store, cutlery to a picnic, and container for boxing up leftovers after a meal, too. You’ll be shocked to see just how much you save when you simply bring what you need.
REFUSE & REUSE
Next time you order a drink, ask for no straw. That might not seem like a tall order, but the US uses 500 million plastic straws a day. That’s an insane waste of resources. So (1) refuse, and if possible (2) reuse (a stainless steel straw that’s easy to tuck into your day bag!)
Sometimes, slashing your trash is a simple switch. Biodegradable Bee’s Wrap, for example, is an awesome alternative to disposable plastic wrap. You can also try Swedish dishcloths in place of paper towels or a cloth kerchief instead of Kleenex.
Check out your fridge or scope your bathroom cabinet. Make note of anything you have in a package (such as nut milk and moisturizers) that you could sub with a homemade version. Then gather together with friends for a DIY party—you can split the cost of ingredients—to make homemade and reusable packaged versions of the staples that you use the most.
Zero waste might sound intimidating. But if you frame it as an invitation, it’s a way of life that can open up so many doorways to wasting less while doing more.
The Ecology Center is a non-profit eco-education center that shares creative solutions for thriving on Planet Earth. Our holistic approach to change-making is rooted in our core belief that we are a part of nature — intimately interconnected to one another and our shared environment.