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 own 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). Same can be applied to your shopping trips, have everything ready before you leave the house. In a pinch, you can use the paper mushroom bags instead of plastic. Produce can be transported without any additional packaging, just toss 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 butchers paper, hold the plastic please - it's about better choices, not perfection right!
6. When it comes to toiletries and bathroom supplies, try to source out refillable options - like shampoo, conditioner, and lotions; consider purchasing a bamboo toothbrush, make your own 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, napkin, reusable water bottle and travel coffee mug.
8. Buy in bulk (bring your own clean containers). Remember you can buy as little as you need, bulk does not have to mean a months 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 own products at home. Not only is it fun but it's always cheaper in the long run, better for you health by miles and it's very rewarding for the soul.