The zero-waste movement has the ability to be incredibly impactful. And while I don’t believe that any one person can be entirely zero waste or create no waste at all, I do think we can run into trouble when people just jump headfirst in without really knowing what they’re doing. That isn’t to say you have to be perfect or an expert before you can start reducing waste, but there is a lot of misinformation and misconception surrounding this area right now.
Especially because the zero-waste movement has become a sort of “trend” over the past couple of years which is kind of the opposite of what the movement stands for.
This post will outline the basic zero-waste for beginners steps to help you make informed decisions and reduce your waste in a way that is practical for you. The worst that happens is when people jump right in and get so overwhelmed that they think this lifestyle can’t work for them and so they give up.
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Zero Waste for Beginners:
1. Get Inspired and Informed
Switching to a low waste lifestyle should excite and empower you. Head to Pinterest, Youtube, and Instagram to get inspired by those living a zero-waste lifestyle. But remember not to see where they are and compare it to where you are. Don’t see what they have and want it. Use them for inspiration on what you could attain. Use them to get you excited about reducing your waste.
For information and resources, here are my favourite low waste living blogs:
- alittlerosedust.com (mine, of course 😉
My favourite low waste living youtube channels:
Use these resources for inspiration and information. Don’t look at these people who have been living this way for years and think you have to be exactly like them or it doesn’t count.
2. Take count of what you have
A mistake I see lots of people make (and that I, unfortunately, made) is the idea that in order to reduce waste we have to throw out all of our plastic and single-use items and purchase all of the eco-friendly items.
The most sustainable item is the one you already own. Yes, even if it’s single-use. Take a look around your house and take count of the single-use items you have and have been using and the items you repurchase over and over again.
Then use up those items like ziploc bags and plastic wrap. Then when you’ve used up all of those items, purchase the reusable version instead like reusable silicone stasher bags and reusable wax wraps.
Also, take note of things you don’t really use and things you probably won’t repurchase. Maybe even things you could live without. It’s also wasteful to purchase sustainable products that you don’t need.
3. Make swaps
When you’ve used up your single-use items, make the sustainable swaps that are going to be beneficial for you and suit your lifestyle! If you never get drinks to go, don’t invest in a reusable coffee mug. If you constantly spill things in the kitchen, swap your paper towels for reusable rags, and so on.
Be practical with your swaps. You don’t need all the reusable items to reduce your waste.
4. Shop consciously
Living a more zero waste lifestyle isn’t just about making sustainable swaps or reducing your plastic intake. It’s also about shopping consciously. Over-consumption is one of the biggest threats to our planet. The more we shop, the more demand is created. The more demand, the more resources used.
Start shopping out of necessity instead of want. Buy things that you actually need and not that are just on sale. When we start shopping consciously we can create a chain of change.
And simply when you consume less, you produce less waste.
5. Create new habits
All lifestyle changes start with habits. Once you nail down a habit, it becomes second nature and just apart of your everyday routine.
To really live a “zero-waste” lifestyle you’ll need to create some new habits. Like buying veggies in bulk instead of in plastic, like composting veggie scraps instead of tossing them out, or unplugging electronics when they’re not in use, etc, etc.
These are just examples of some of the habits you might adopt as you start living a more zero waste life. Whatever they may be, make these habits ones that will be easy to incorporate into your life and last long term for you.
Not everyone will have a garden to compost in or a city compost system, so find and create habits that will work well with your situation.
6. Keep learning
Zero waste living isn’t an exact science or destination. it’s a journey you’ll be on for a very long time. And that’s a good thing. There’s always room for improvement, for growth, for learning. Please, never stop learning. That’s when the fun ends. Always do your best to learn more and do better.
But it’s also important to know that you’ll never be perfect and that’s ok. Maybe you’ll mess up or maybe something that’s deemed the “ultimate zero-waste lifestyle” won’t work for you. Don’t be so hard on yourself. We don’t need 1 person doing zero waste perfectly, we need hundreds doing it imperfectly.
And there you have it! My best zero waste for beginners tips. I hope this helps get you inspired to start your journey. Please don’t forget to share this post and follow me on Instagram for daily low waste living inspiration!