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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.