7 Ways to Start Living a Zero Waste Lifestyle
HUGGING THE PLANET
Plastic is by no means fantastic. As the health of the environment is climbing to the top of everyone’s minds, you may be wondering how to go about living a zero waste lifestyle. While a completely zero waste lifestyle is something to strive for, it does require a good amount of preparation, planning, and playing around with making all of your own personal care products. However, there are some smaller and easier steps you can take to start living a lower-impact life today.
Preserving Mother Earth can start with some simple swaps, ranging from making over your morning coffee routine to sipping out of a stainless steel straw. Keep reading to find out the top 8 ways you can become more eco-conscious—trust us, it’ll be easier than you think!
1. Bring reusable bags everywhere
This is one of the easiest swaps you can make, since reusable bags and totes are sold in a plethora of stores now. They also come in plenty of designs and styles. Stash a few in the trunk of your car so you’re ready for that spontaneous trip to the grocery store to pick up almond milk and Cheerios or whatever you’re into. Not only do reusable totes carry their weight in watermelons, but they can save you 5 cents in some states and cities.
You can also buy reusable produce bags, like these EcoBags, which easily replace the thin plastic bags you use to wrap up your apples. Or, carry your produce naked in your cart. Maybe not apples, but avocados don’t need a bag. You’re not going to eat the skin (or scales?) of one of those petrified dragon eggs. Plus, you do wash your produce when you get home, right? RIGHT?
2. Swap your paper towels for cloth rags
Although paper towels are ubiquitous in kitchens all across America, they don’t need to be! We don’t need to swipe up every drip, dribble, and spill with yet another paper towel. Each one is a little piece of a tree, after all! Try washable and reusable cloth rags, like these durable ones that are even dishwasher-safe. You might even find that you prefer them! Restaurants use cloth rags for a reason; they just get the job done.
3. Makeover your tooth-brushing routine
Ever thought about how many toothpaste tubes you’ve used over the years? While making your own toothpaste might seem a little too granola for some of you, it’s actually easier than you’d think! All you’ll need for the most basic recipe is baking soda, coconut oil, and a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil to get that minty fresh feeling.
However, if you’re not one for measuring and concocting, you could try a tooth powder, which comes in an eco-friendly, tubeless container. While you’re at it, try swapping out your plastic toothbrush for a sustainably sourced bamboo one. We like this one! It doesn’t vibrate and clean your teeth for you, but you’ll manage.
4. Sip your smoothie out of a stainless steel straw
Straws are big on the environment’s no-no list this year. We all now know the story of how plastic straws are harming our aquatic wildlife, and many states have made the jump to ban providing them in restaurants (way to go!). Stainless steel straws are good for at-home sipping (definitely get yourself a straw cleaner while you’re at it - those last smoothie sips can get stuck in there), while these fold-up straws are good to bring on the go. It may seem strange at first to BYO straw, but you’ll get used to it! The turtles say thank you.
5. Buy your dried goods in bulk
Do you tend to skip over the bins full of nuts and flour in the bulk section of your health food store? You may be missing out on some of the best-priced items in the store! Bulk buying means you get to skip the additional plastic wrapping or containers. All you need to do is bring your own glass container and get a tare weight from the cashier before you load up. This extra step means that you don’t pay for the weight of your container while getting the best price on pistachios sans plastic.
6. Invest in reusable Ziploc bags, water bottles, and mugs
While there is a little bit of an upfront cost for these items, they will save you cash in the long run. When you don’t constantly have to re-up your supply of Ziplocs for your kid’s daily ration of Goldfish, you’ll end up saving money over the years, while saving the environment at the same time.
Instead of the random Tupperware or plastic bag that you stash half of an onion in, try a Food Hugger to keep the ends of your fruits and veggies fresh and contained. These silicone cuties come in different sizes that can hug everything from your leftover lemon to your cut cucumber.
Ditching the single-use plastic in favor of their reusable counterparts can be a huge environment-saver. Try bringing in a covered Mason jar glass to replace your daily plastic cold brew cup and avoiding the Styrofoam take-out containers.
7. Minimize food waste
Did you know that almost one-third of all food that is produced ends up getting wasted? Not only does wasting food waste your family money, but the impacts on the environment are wide-reaching as well.
Try making a weekly meal plan and only buying what you need for those meals. Don’t buy that head of romaine again unless you know you’re going to eat it this week! No one likes having to throw away wilted veggies that you had every intention of eating. Another tip? Learn more here about what “best by” and “sell by” dates really mean, so you don’t end up prematurely tossing your tomato sauce. Lastly, you can try your hand at countertop composting to repurpose your kitchen scraps. You don’t need a big backyard to be able to compost!
While living a completely zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t happen overnight, there are plenty of little steps you can take that will make you greener day by day. Whatever you do, we’re proud of you!
Did you know?
It can take just ONE plastic bottle 1,000 YEARS to degrade in a landfill!