5 Easy Ways to Start Your Journey to Zero Waste
Stepping into the world of zero waste can seem daunting at first. It really isn’t as scary as it looks, I promise. I am going to show you 5 super simple and easy ways you can start your own zero waste life today.
I want you to always remember this – “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” – Anne Marie Bonneau
The key to imperfect zero waste is to make a series of small changes, one at a time and keep doing it. Eventually these will become habits and will give you the confidence to start to tackle the big changes.
It won’t happen overnight or even next week but if you start making these little changes, one at a time, you will eventually get to where you are trying to go. Sometimes taking the first step is the hardest but I’m here to help guide you on your way. You might even be doing some of them already and that’s wonderful.
1. Switch to a reusable cup and bottle.
Please don’t rush out and buy new fancy cups and bottles right away. Chances are, you probably already have a three or four tucked away in the back of your cupboard. Remember those free coffee cups from events or your old gym bottle, yeah? Go get them out, give them a good wash and start using them.
Just having reusable cups is not enough, you need to make it a habit of always taking a drink with you wherever you go and I mean wherever you go. The supermarket, the park, popping to town, meeting friends, always take a drink with you. I tend to get thirsty at unexpected times and it can be all too easy to grab a bottle of water or fizzy pop and at least £1 a go, it can get expensive. Taking your own drink is not only good for our planet it is good for your wallet too.
My husband and I have got into the habit of checking if we have everything we need before we leave the house. You will normally hear one of us shouting “Have we got phones? Keys? Drinks?” amongst other toddler bits and pieces. To help you remember you could stick a note on your door or fridge.
2. Say no to single-use plastics.
Saying no to single use products is one of the easiest zero waste things you can do. Mainly because all you have to do is say no! No to straws, no to bags, no to almost anything you would only use once. Easy peesy.
Sometimes, however, it is best to be prepared if it is something you might use often. I like to keep a small cutlery pouch in my bag. Always having cutlery with me means I can refuse a plastic spoon or fork while picking up an impromptu take away while out and about.
3. Take your own bags.
This one has probably already been on your radar for a long time now but do you make it a habit? It can be so easy to forget to grab your bags as you rush out of the door for the supermarket. I know, I’ve done it 100 times when you are trying to get everyone ready and running through your mental shopping list. To make things easier we keep a stash of bags in the car or by the door. We’ve also added “have we got bags?” to our checklist.
Taking your own shopping bags is not just for the supermarket. I always keep at least one tote in my bag, especially if we are nipping to the corner shop, the library, charity shop or even the park, sometimes you just need another bag. If you are looking to make your own tote bags then you can find my tutorial here.
4. Make your own packed lunch.
Making your own packed lunch is another easy way to reduce your waste. Packed lunches are not only for kids, they are for us grown-ups too. Just like buying drinks, grab and go lunches can get really expensive and full of so much wasteful plastic. Chances are you have plenty of lunch bags, plastic tubs and take away dishes filling up one of your cupboards. Why not dust them off and give them a new lease of life.
Lunches don’t have to be “Instagram ready” every single day, hey even once a month is too much for me, but a few extra minutes to make a simple sandwich and a couple of pieces of fruit is fantastic. Another great tip for packed lunches is taking leftovers. This one is my favourites because there’s nothing better than having a great meal then taking those leftovers to work the next day. Yum! Literally anything goes, curry, Bolognese, stir fry, soup etc, the list is endless. Make sure to pop your cool leftovers in a reusable tub and store in the fridge overnight. Please don’t put hot food in the fridge.
5. Stop making unnecessary purchases.
This one sounds big, and it can be if you shop often or for pleasure but we are talking little baby steps here. Being a more mindful consumer is better for everyone, better for you, me, mother earth, Everyone! Next time find yourself in a shop or you are about to hit the proceed to check out button, ask yourself these 5 simple but important questions:
Do I really need this?
Do I already have one of these?
Do I love this?
Could I borrow this?
Do I have space for this in my home?
We are all guilty of buying more than we need from time to time. The world is full of humans who are over consuming everything. Whether that is buying food we won’t eat, going crazy in the sales or buying something we know we have bought before but we can’t remember where we have stored it. Over consuming is something our household is still working on regularly; we still slip up but we are trying every day. This habit can take a little longer to set in but you only need to take it one purchase at a time.
Congratulations. You are now on your way to reducing your waste. Yay!
I hope you found these tips useful. To find out what inspired me jump into the zero-waste world check out My imperfect zero waste life
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