If you follow me on social media, then you might have noticed that my family and I started getting serious about our zero-waste lifestyle. I spent months planning, strategizing, and thinking of ways that we could live while creating less waste. At first, it seemed pretty daunting, but like most things in life, the anticipation of going zero-waste was much worse than reality.
If you are looking for some ways to reduce your waste here are some tips to ease into a new lifestyle.Here are
Here are a few first strategies that you might ant to implement:
1)We dedicated to the 5 R’s by Bea Johnson who pioneered the zero-waste movement.
2)If it is natural and can’t be reused, then compost it. I was used to recycling paper, but one rule of zero-waste is to recycle as a last resort. Be careful of wax paper or coated paper. It does not compost and not all facilities can recycle them. Check here to see what your area can recycle. I have two composts. One outside that is for rot only. That one is the larger compost. The second is my kitchen composter (DIY post coming soon) that is for kitchen scraps that I don’t plan to save for making broth. See my bone broth recipe here.
3)We started fighting junk mail. It’s not easy, but start a file of junk mail offers that come to your home. After the first month, start calling these companies and ask to be removed from the list. Here is a great resource to help with this. While you are at it if you have not signed up for paperless statements yet then go ahead and do that. Eliminate as much paper from the mailbox as possible. You can cut out the plastic window from the sender and compost the original envelope. Reuse the return envelopes that come with any bills. Every little it helps with a zer-waste lifestyle.
4)I found local sources for food and items besides the store. Now I love Whole Food’s, but it isn’t the most sustainable place to get what you need. I found local farms, farmer’s markets, and even Facebook groups that make, sell and trade things. From elderberry syrup and soap to mama cloth and jewelry. I found someone who could make these locally while supporting small businesses.
5)Buying in bulk. Find out if there are stores in your area that allow you to buy your dry goods- rice, beans, coffee etc. in bulk. I use either canvas bags or glass jars. The store can pre-weigh the jars so that you are not charged extra. We buy our toilet paper in bulk from a restaurant supply store so that it is wrapped in paper. Liquid Castille soap is another bulk purchase. We use it to make dish soap, shampoo, and hand soap. Also, stop paying for your Costco membership. If you do need to shop at Costco then buy a gift card, they will let you in the store without paying for a monthly membership. Keep in mind though that most areas cannot recycle plastic cards so reload the same one. Needless to say, buy more with less packaging at the very least.
6)You only need four things to clean your entire home. Vinegar, baking soda, water, peroxide, and sometimes essential oils. Buy these in bulk too so that you get more product and less packaging. Look here for DIY recipes.
7)We make our own as much as possible. You can DIY make-up, shampoo, broth, sauces, seasoning mixes, nut butter, and milk, etc. Pinterest is full of tutorials and recipes. I’ll share my favorites soon.Reusable and compostable instead of disposable. I simply thought to myself, “What did people do before this was invented?” Try using cloth diapers and wipes, old rags and cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, glass jars for to-go cups, glass or stainless steel food storage containers or again, jars.
8)Reusable and compostable instead of disposable. I simply thought to myself, “What did people do before this was invented?” Try using cloth diapers and wipes, old rags and cloth napkins, handkerchiefs, glass jars for to-go cups, glass or stainless steel food storage containers or again, jars.
9)Ask the manager first. When I do need to buy something from the store like meat from the meat counter, I ask to speak with the manager first. That way the employees won’t fuss if you ask them to fill your half gallon mason jar with ground beef or chicken breast. Just tell them, “I spoke with (manager’s name) and s/he said it was ok.”
What you might want to have handy to get started…..
Reusable Grocery Bags. Don’t get stuck bringing home hundreds of plastic bags a year. Simply bring your own.
Glass Jars. These are half gallon jars so that I could put a good amount of food in them. I already had quart size all the way down to half pint size. Buy what you need.
Canvas Bags. These are great for buying bulk dry goods such as rice or beans. You can also make your own from old sheets or pillow cases.
Mesh Produce Bags. You may or may not need these, but they do come in handy.
Cloth Napkins. These are polyester–I’d much rather have cotton, but I was able to find these used so that was a plus. I like to find cloth napkins at thrift stores too.
Handkerchiefs. I bought 2 dozen so that I would have enough to put around the house in the same places you would have a tissue box.
Reusable Straws. You can either buy stainless steel or glass or go strawless.
Bulk Liquid Castille Soap. Buying more means less packaging per product. We use this to make so many things.
Natural Scouring pads. This does come with a small amount of coated paper packaging but the pads themselves are made from walnut shells and can be composted.
Natural Dish Brush. All but the small amount of metal on this brush can be composted when you are done with it.
Mama Cloth. If you don’t want to make your own or can’t find them locally, then these are a good option. Also, a menstrual cup could work for you.
Bottle Brush. If you have a baby, I recommend using glass bottles and a natural bottle brush that can be composted when you are done using it.
Do you do anything to reduce your waste? Do you have any tips to share? Leave me a comment, and let me know.