7 Tips for Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle
Uncertainty seems to be the only thing that is certain in 2022. With new variants of the COVID-19 virus emerging every year, it seems impossible to make business or personal plans for the future. Through dire warnings about climate change and environmental pollution into the mix, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and out of control.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the average person produces 4.4 pounds (2kg) of waste daily, meaning around 1600 pounds (730kg) of rubbish annually. This shows us how producing less waste can make a big difference to the environment. That’s why more people are trying to live a zero-waste lifestyle, to avoid their rubbish from ending up in landfill or polluting the natural environment.
However, completely eliminating waste from our lives is almost impossible. Therefore, the goal of a zero-waste lifestyle is to reduce the consumption of plastic and other materials that have negative impacts on the environment as much as possible and educate others to do the same. Here are 7 easy tips for starting to live a zero-waste lifestyle.
- Check Your Recycling Bins
Start by checking your bins to see what you are throwing away and what impact they have on the environment. Instead of tossing each piece of waste into the bin, see if you can send it to a recycling center or compost it.
You’ll likely be surprised to see how many items in your bin are easily recyclable. You can easily compost food scraps at home by using composting bins. If your bin is filled with paper towels and tissues, think about using cloths instead. Likewise, buy food items that come in recyclable packaging. A small change can make a big difference to your lifestyle – and the planet – in the long run.
Go through your stuff and work out what you need. You can sell items you don’t need on Craigslist or donate them to the needy. Decluttering your house leaves you with only the essential household items you need, freeing up your space and keeping your place clean.
Additionally, when you can clearly see what items you own and what you need, you’re less likely to buy things that you don’t need. People who have a habit of decluttering frequently tend to be cautious customers. They don’t buy random things they don’t need without checking the materials they are made of, their lifespan, and their impact on the environment.
- Cut Down Your Plastic Use
Plastic waste is devastating to the environment and is central to the world’s growing waste problem. It contributes to a large volume of trash to landfill, pollutes our land, and chokes our waterways and oceans. The biggest problem with plastic is that it takes hundreds of years to break down, can’t be composted, and in many cases can’t be recycled.
Single-use plastic is a huge issue – too many people use plastic water bottles, plastic bags, plates, and cutlery and throw it away after use. Likewise, plastic packaging and items such as toothpaste tubes, shampoo bottles, and toothbrushes end up in landfill where they stay for decades or wash into the ocean. Eliminate single-use plastics by using reusable bottles, containers, and bags, and swap out products that come in plastic packaging with zero-waste alternatives.
- Go Local
One great way to buy products without plastic packaging is to buy fruit, vegetables, and other food from local suppliers who sell loose goods. It can be difficult to stop buying packaged items from supermarkets altogether, but the least you can do is buy more from local suppliers or carry your own bags.
Check the packaging of the food or other items to see what materials they are made of. Instead of buying stacks of vegetables in thermal boxes, you can use reusable bags.
- Buy only What You Need
Food waste is also a huge issue, so make an effort to only buy what you need. If possible, go shopping more often a purchase smaller amounts of produce, especially perishable items. Plan ahead and keep your shopping lists updated. Planning regular trips to the shops is much better than buying in bulk and throwing things away.
All too often, people throw away items that can easily be reused and recycled. Before throwing stuff in the trash can, see if you can reuse it. For example, cardboard boxes for moving can be reused in creative ways. You can use them to store your kid’s toys, books, and collectibles. Similarly, the clothes, footwear, and other accessories you no longer need do not have to go into landfills. You can donate them to the charity or resell them online if they are in good condition.
- Go Digital
We live in 2022 and nearly everything has gone digital. If you haven’t embraced this change, now is the time to go digital. Ditch the paper files and stationery and turn to digital options instead.
Getting rid of stuff is not easy, so why not avoid buying products that are hard to dispose of in the first place? Buy eco-friendly items and focus on the 3R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle – and you’ll be on-track to living a zero-waste lifestyle!