There are many ways that you may choose to live more sustainably. One way, which may seem intimidating to a lot of people, is to strive to live a “zero waste” life. Zero waste means that you eliminate all unnecessary packaging, embrace reusable wherever possible, and in general, do everything you can to stop contributing to landfills,
Trying to eliminate all waste seems like a potentially impossible task, but it can be done. I found this woman’s story of beginning her zero-waste adventure pretty fascinating.
Check it out below to learn how she got started, what her challenges were, and how she has implemented lots of sustainable zero waste habits into her daily life.
Zero waste audit
The biggest lifestyle change I started with was being aware of every purchase I made and what I currently had in my house…. I went through my house and took a physical or mental inventory of everything that would potentially end up in the landfill.
After I had a rough idea of everything I had in my house, I kept track of my trash for a week. I wanted to know what I was throwing into the landfill on a regular basis. For me, it was mostly Starbucks cups, plastic from anything I bought at the supermarket, and food scraps.
Food scraps were the easiest to address with this solution – compost! …Seeing as I have no garden and don’t plan on getting one any time soon, I didn’t know what I would do with the compost after I was done with it.
I luckily found a local Nashville company that picks up your food scraps once a week for a small monthly fee…. They provided an eight-gallon paint bucket that I put all my food scraps in and keep outside to avoid any smell or ants inside the house…. So quick and easy and it diminished my trash by at least half….
The grocery store plastic and trash was my next hurdle. How in the world was I going to be able to eat real food, no offense kale salad with no dressing, without creating any trash?
Before going zero waste, most of my meals were brought to life by a microwave. I was extremely nervous to have to make meals from scratch, myself. YouTube was a great source of information on beginning steps of how to shop zero waste….
At this point in my journey I am creating no food waste, thanks to my compost bucket, and bringing in no trash from the grocery store. To say my trash can was light would be an understatement. The main obstacle left was impulse purchases, like my beloved Starbucks. I now always have a mason jar on my person, so if I do drive by Starbucks and accidentally end up in the drive-thru, and accidentally order an overpriced yet delicious matcha latte, I still don’t create any trash.
After about a month or so of living this beginner zero waste lifestyle, I started to realize my next hurdle – the bathroom.
Yes, a lot of products’ packaging are recyclable – but also extremely avoidable.
Plastics can only be shredded, melted down, and recycled so many times before they too end up in landfill. Instead of recycling bathroom products, I wanted to eliminate them…. To achieve a package free bathroom I ventured over to Lush. They were very accommodating and explained that they as a store also try and practice zero waste….
Right now I currently use a shampoo bar, a conditioner bar, a facewash bar, toothy tabs instead of toothpaste, and some deep conditioner in a little pot you can give back to the store for store credit. This also made me realize how many products I didn’t need.
Why do I need a deep conditioner, hairspray, frizz control, detangler, and a heat protectant? I don’t. You don’t. So much unnecessary trash….
Mind your month
Although this whole process seems like 5,000 steps and way too much effort, it’s really not.
This all didn’t happen in a second, and to this day I still replace one single use item in my house with a reusable item each month. If every week you switch something about your life to be sustainable, you’ll be living zero waste in no time.
Just remember that zero waste isn’t about creating any trash, don’t feel guilty if you have trash. Just know that you’re making a difference by slowly changing your habits and being aware of your impact on our landfills. I too, have caved and bought a Reeses. It happens to the best of us.