Zero Waste living is NOT about perfection, it is about making better choices!
Transitioning to a new lifestyle can be overwhelming, so start SLOW! Make a couple of changes at a time, master them, and then find your next challenge. Set yourself up for success by taking it one step at a time rather than trying to change everything all at once.
If you are starting at home, then getting rid of your main trash bin in the kitchen is the best thing you can do. It forces you to adapt and become creative in your waste disposal choices. Zero Waste is not necessarily about recycling more; the most powerful choice you have is a refusal. Think of it not as: "I'm not allowed to have this any longer" but as "I choose not to have it because it will end up as waste".
Here are our easiest and straight forward tips to get started on your zero-waste project:
1. Do away with your large household trash bin and set up a designated recycling system, complete with a compost bin. Perhaps made out of used pallets ;)
2. When out shopping, refuse plastic bags. All grocery stores allow reusable cloth bags and many have paper bags available or upon request.
3. Refuse, refuse, refuse plastic straws! Use a metal or bamboo straw if you need one.
4. Make sure you get into the habit of bringing your grocery, produce, and meat containers with you. Chefs have a saying "mise en place" (everything in its place). The same can be applied to your shopping trips, have everything ready before you leave the house. In a pinch, you can use paper mushroom bags instead of plastic. Produce can be transported without any additional packaging, just toss it in your shopping bag.
5. At the butcher counter, two things will happen. Either you'll get a friendly and warm response "Sure we can use your container" (WIN) or you can request they wrap your meat in plain butcher's paper, and hold the plastic please - it's about better choices, not perfection, right?
6. When it comes to toiletries and bathroom supplies, try to source refillable options - like shampoo, conditioner, and lotions; consider purchasing a bamboo toothbrush, make your reusable makeup pads, and try to find toilet paper not wrapped in plastic.
7. Have your reusable day-to-day items readily available when you're out of the house. Utensils, napkins, reusable water bottles, and travel coffee mugs.
8. Buy in bulk (bring your clean containers). Remember you can buy as little as you need, bulk does not have to mean a month's supply at once.
9. Purchase used items whenever you can, it's way more budget-friendly. Buy quality items that will last.
10. Explore and play around with making your products at home. Not only is it fun but it's always cheaper in the long run, better for your health by miles and it's very rewarding for the soul.