Trying to go zero waste cold turkey is daunting, overwhelming, and a little stressful. It was for me at least. That’s why I started my journey with small, digestible steps, like eliminating single-use cups. Focusing on one item, or a similar group of items, at a time makes low waste changes stepwise and manageable. Eliminate one thing, and move onto another. That’s the premise of Stop Trashing It – start by eliminating one single-use item at a time and see the difference you can make!
Here are a few more of my tips:
These tips may seem insignificant, but they have really helped me in my low waste journey. There will be ‘single-use slip-ups’ from time to time, but try to be easy on yourself. After all, we don’t need a few people doing zero waste perfectly, we need billions of people doing zero waste imperfectly. Which is why transitioning to ‘low waste lifestyle’ is more positively affirming language, and is more realistic.
So many hygiene and cleaning products come in plastic packaging. Here are a few ways I’ve gotten around this:
With the power of the internet, there is usually a DIY out there to help get around some plastic product packaging. All it takes is a bit of conscious thought and the ability to find the materials needed. While sourcing materials may be easier in certain communities, it’s worthwhile trying to do it yourself, adapting recipes as needed. For more DIY tips, and other good news stories, check out one of my favorite blogs, Our Positive Planet!
Most people love new things. They’re exciting and bring joy for some. What’s not to love about new things? Well, if you’re like me, it’s likely the environmental implications from our carbon footprint. But I am solutions focused and sometimes need new things. So, I started asking myself “Do I want or do I need this?” Chances are it’s the former and that shuts the potential purchase down right off the bat. In the case that I do need something ‘new’ I try to find it second hand.
There are tons of buy and sell apps that work great – In Canada, I use Kijiji. Facebook market place has also become a huge hit. With second hand shopping on the rise, thrift stores are also becoming more and more readily available, in real life and online! I have committed to no longer buying new-new clothing from big box stores, and opting to ‘new to me’ clothing from thrift stores. Organizing a clothing swap with friends or at a community centre is another great way to refresh your wardrobe sustainably. I also try to repair and fix things before replacing them. Sometimes easier said than done if I need to learn a new skill – like sewing or carpentry, but it can be fun too! Finding creative ways to increase the longevity of your things feels good. Like these t-shirt bags!
These techniques are not only helping reduce your waste but can also help your wallet too.
Grocery stores can be a bit of a nightmare for me. All the plastic packaging and imported goods makes me feel uneasy, then I start thinking about the resources it takes to produce all the food and ouuf, that’s when I get overwhelmed. Especially if food goes to waste! While you can compost food scraps and stuff that’s gone bad, there are a few tricks to make your food go farther. Here are some of mine:
Some super easy tips to help waste less and eat more!