A Simple Guide to Help You Transition to a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

The idea of a zero-waste lifestyle has become increasingly popular in recent years. It entails aiming to generate no more waste to save the planet. How does this work? Well, all the trash that humans generate ends up in landfills. These huge dumpsites are incredibly harmful to the environment. On the one hand, they contaminate the soil. On the other hand, they significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions. That, in turn, contributes to global warming. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to reverse the damage already caused. Nevertheless, we can try to minimize future damage by following zero-waste trends and incorporating them into our lives. Here’s a simple guide to help you transition to a zero-waste lifestyle.

Protester promoting the transition to a zero waste lifestyle

1. Inspecting your waste

That might sound a bit gross, but you need to inspect your trash to identify your waste habits. That enables you to determine where most of your waste comes from. For example, if you mainly generate food waste, then it’s time to make a change in this department. Specifically, you should find ways to shop smart and not buy too much. A good solution here would be to plan your meals for the entire week and buy only the ingredients you need to prepare them.

2. Make compost

A great way to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle is to make compost. Composting is a natural process through which you recycle food waste and other organic materials and turn it into a nutrient-rich fertilizer. Firstly, this enables you to minimize and eliminate food waste. Secondly, it’s a great way to eliminate other types of waste, such as sawdust, wood chips, grass trimmings, and even small pieces of paper and cardboard.

compost box and some food waste on a table

Composting is a great way to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle

3. Buy less processed foods

Apart from shopping smart to avoid food waste, you should also aim to buy less processed foods. That is beneficial not only for your health but the environment as well. Specifically, it helps you generate less plastic waste. This is because most processed foods come in plastic packaging, while fresh food doesn’t.

Of course, grocery stores usually provide plastic bags for these products. But you can easily avoid using them by bringing reusable grocery bags and containers. At the same time, if you need to buy processed foods, look for those that come in glass or aluminum containers. As opposed to plastic, these materials are entirely recyclable.

To generate less plastic waste you should buy more fresh food and use reusable bags and containers when shopping

4. Always recycle

Recycling is the process of turning waste into reusable materials and products. As a result, recycling saves energy and natural resources,  reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and shrinks landfills. One way to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle is to correctly sort your trash and use recycling bins. However, you should do some research first. Because if you don’t do it right, you’ll make it much harder for recycling facilities to do their job.

Four recycle bins of different colors

To transition to a zero-waste lifestyle, you should always recycle.

5. Avoid single-use items

Single-use items generate a tremendous amount of waste and pollute the environment. Thus, you should do your best to avoid or minimize their use. These items include everything from paper towels and tissues to plastic bottles. You might view these as essentials, but you can easily replace them with reusable items. For example, you can use washable kitchen towels and handkerchiefs. And you can opt for a thermos or sports bottle instead of a single-use water bottle. That is not only eco-friendly but will also help you save money.

6. Reuse packing materials

Most of the household items you buy come in cardboard boxes. Your first instinct is to throw them away to eliminate the clutter. Nevertheless, you should resist this urge because old packing materials can be beneficial. For instance, let’s say you want to go green in your storage unit. In this case, reusing packing materials is one of the most efficient ways to make them sustainable; specifically, you can use old cardboard boxes to organize your belongings instead of investing in plastic containers.

7. Buy second-hand and donate

Whether you need to update your wardrobe or redecorate your home, you should consider shopping in a thrift store. You’ll find everything from clothes to furniture at a meager cost here. That is not only good for your finances but also the environment. More precisely, it reduces waste by reusing old items and materials. As for the items you want to get rid of, you can either sell or donate them to avoid generating waste. That mostly depends on their current condition and value.

8. Go digital

Everything you receive by mail generates paper waste. That includes utility bills, various invoices, newspapers, magazines, etc. So, it’s time to go digital if you want to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle. You only have to contact your providers and tell them you wish to receive all correspondence via email. The same goes for newspapers and magazines that are now available online.

9. Look for a zero-waste community

The zero-waste movement is becoming more and more popular by the day. As a result, you’ll find zero-waste communities all around the globe. These groups can provide you with precious information and valuable suggestions to make the transition easier. Therefore, you should look for and join a local or online zero-waste community.

In conclusion

Given how harmful landfills are to the environment, reducing waste should become a priority worldwide because landfills are harmful to the environment. Unfortunately, as individuals, we don’t have the power to change international environmental laws. However, we can help protect the environment by changing our lifestyle. Going zero waste is a great solution, but it can be hard to achieve. So, use this simple guide to help you transition to a zero-waste lifestyle and go from there. Once you get used to it, you’ll realize it’s not that hard.

About Salman Zafar

Salman Zafar is the CEO of BioEnergy Consult, and an international consultant, advisor and trainer with expertise in waste management, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, environment protection and resource conservation. His geographical areas of focus include Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Salman has successfully accomplished a wide range of projects in the areas of biogas technology, biomass energy, waste-to-energy, recycling and waste management. Salman has participated in numerous national and international conferences all over the world. He is a prolific environmental journalist, and has authored more than 300 articles in reputed journals, magazines and websites. In addition, he is proactively engaged in creating mass awareness on renewable energy, waste management and environmental sustainability through his blogs and portals. Salman can be reached at salman@bioenergyconsult.com or salman@cleantechloops.com.
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2 Responses to A Simple Guide to Help You Transition to a Zero-Waste Lifestyle

  1. Pingback: 3 Eco-Friendly Lifestyle Choices That Won’t Alter Your Life

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