As the population grows, so do the piles of waste around the globe. According to plastic recycling statistics, only 19% of plastic waste is recovered, and households are responsible for almost half of plastic waste out there.
Big businesses are developing plans to get rid of single-use plastic, and many people worldwide devote time to learning how to start zero waste living. However, sticking to sustainable living can be tricky, especially if you love shopping.
What Is Zero Waste Living?
Zero waste living revolves around reducing the amount of environmentally harmful material you throw away. Those who genuinely live zero waste life focus on reusing packaging materials and avoid purchasing items that are packed in such a way that’s harmful to the environment once used. If you feel like this life is for you, here’s what you can change in your lifestyle.
Change Your Consumer Habits
The idea of consuming less can be frightening, but once you think about it, your viewpoint might change. Chances are, you’re buying things you don’t need. Next time you’re at the store, focus on purchasing only what you truly don’t have in your home.
Before you head out, make a list of specific items you need. This is how you’ll only purchase what you miss in your pantry, plus save more money.
Eliminate Single-Use Packaging
If you’re used to purchasing packed items and throwing the plastic away, there are things you can do to minimize single-use plastic in your home. For starters, take a look at your trash can. Then, notice what types of packaging materials you’re throwing away the most.
If you’re constantly tossing plastic bags, it’s time to purchase a tote bag or reusable grocery bag. If you notice a bunch of plastic containers, try to replace them with glass ones. Many stores support zero waste and can refill your glass containers with pretty much anything.
Donate Unused Items
If you have something that you won’t be using anymore, don’t throw it away—donate instead. This is especially important when it comes to clothes. Modern fabrics often have plastic in them, which means that throwing them away will still damage the environment.
You can donate to charity and animal shelters or even online. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t donate everything. If you have torn or stained clothes, shoes in poor condition, or broken items, consider recycling them instead.
Even though we live in a digital era, there’s still too much paper in circulation. While paper on its own is not that damaging to the environment, it’s still made out of trees and brings up another set of issues when it comes to sustainability.
Luckily, you can use your email to communicate with most institutions. Use it with your friends and colleagues and take notes on your laptop to minimize the use of paper around you. Also, instead of using a memory stick, turn to store your data on the cloud.
Shop at Zero Waste Businesses
If you’re worried about where you can purchase zero waste products, know that there are so many stores online that want your support. They sell various products, so you’ll find shampoo bars, mascaras, and many other necessary items. These products are recyclable, organic, and compostable.
Another great way of supporting a zero waste lifestyle is to shop locally. Local stores are likely to use less plastic for packaging. By shopping locally, you also support the local economy.
Go for Natural Items
Since the idea of zero waste living is to reduce your trash production, consider turning toward natural materials. They are long-lasting, and you also won’t have to throw them away more often.
Use wooden or metal kitchen utensils instead of plastic ones. For example, replace your plastic toothbrush with a bamboo brush. Use potpourris instead of canned aerosols, and think about other items you can replace in your home.
Chances are, many items in your trash can are organic matter. Luckily, these organic matters can be turned into fertilizer and used for your plants. Another benefit is that composting at home reduces the amount of organic matter in landfills and minimizes waste management costs.
Composting can be done indoors or outdoors and depends on where you live, the amount of your organic waste, and the time of the composting process. For example, cold composting can last for several years, but it takes less effort, while hot composting requires more management but is faster.
It may seem impossible to live a waste-free life. This is because everything you consume leaves some waste behind, but there are still things you can do to reduce it. For example, purchase reusable shopping bags, donate unused items, and switch from plastic to natural materials.
You can also support zero waste businesses, manage your documents digitally, and change your consumer habits to reduce the amount of waste you leave behind.