Zero Waste Living is a never-ending process that even Lauren Singer hasn’t yet perfected. The goal of the lifestyle is to eliminate all personal disposal of trash and anything else that might add to landfills and ocean pollution. Sound impossible? Don’t get discouraged yet.
It takes a long time for anyone to transition to Zero Waste or even “less waste,” so this article lays out a few ways to get started on this long process. It’s important not to make lifestyle changes too drastically, as they’re much harder to stick with than taking incremental steps.
1. Establish Your “Why”
This is an incredibly important step that shouldn’t be overlooked. As you face challenges on the zero waste journey, it’s key to have a motivating “why” that keeps you on track. Make it more personal than being environmentally conscious – connect your actions to your favorite hiking spot, favorite beach, or your children’s future. If your “why” reminds you that decreasing your waste means saving those memories, it will be more powerful.
2. Assess Your Waste
Before getting started, take inventory of what you’re actually throwing away. Does most of it come from food? Plastic bottles? Clothing tags? Make-up containers?
Once you’ve assessed the biggest trash culprits, you’ll know what actions to take first. Invest in a steel water bottle, shop at thrift stores, or check out zero-waste beauty shops.
4. Replace Items As They Run Out
Instead of converting all your goods to more sustainable options at once, take it slow. When you run out of shampoo, find a bar brand that you like. When your Ziploc bag box is empty, transition to reusable containers. This way, your wallet won’t feel stretched by a big initial shopping spree.
5. Research How to Properly Recycle Old Items, Donate, Sell or Up-Cycle Them
Remember the goal of zero waste? Don’t throw anything away. Find a way to recycle, compost, gift, or donate everything you can.
6. Remember: It’s A Process!
Be forgiving with yourself, and don’t give up! Zero Waste Living takes time, and everyone’s journey is different. Be sure to reach out to your Brightly community for tips and tricks along the way!