The idea of zero waste living is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. Most people don't know where to start, and that can keep them from making small, sustainable changes. Fortunately, there are ways for every beginner to make big differences for the planet. Here are some great places to begin.
Replace Food Containers
You don't need plastic food containers to pack a lunch. You also don't need plastic water bottles to stay hydrated. Replace these items with reusable options that will last and are easy to take anywhere you go.
Stainless steel food containers for lunch are a great option because they are easy to pack and won't break. You can use them for a long period of time without worrying about the toxic chemicals that are often in plastic containers.
A reusable water container will allow you to ditch single-use plastic bottles. Most are large enough to hold enough liquid for a long workout or a day at the office. They can also be refilled easily without any plastic waste.
Bring Your Bags
Make sure to stock your kitchen and car with reusable bags for trips to the store. This will keep you from needing plastic bags that usually can't be recycled and are horrible for the planet.
Don't stop with bags for your groceries. Make sure you get smaller bags for items like produce. You can also use these for products you scoop out of bins that usually go in plastic. Have these bags available at all times and you will eliminate a huge amount of plastic from your life.
Reconsider Take Out
Ordering food to go is a nice treat for you, but it's bad for the planet. Consider how often you order take-out and then count how many plastic items are used to pack and deliver your food. You will be surprised how fast it adds up.
Be intentional about ordering take-out, and follow some basic rules when you do. Ask the person taking your order to leave out disposable silverware or condiments in plastic containers that you won't use. Invest in reusable straws so you won't need a straw if you order a drink. If you can, find places to order from that invest in sustainable products when possible.
Replace Hygiene Supplies
Your bathroom is likely a minefield of plastic products. Disposable razors, plastic shampoo bottles, and plastic toothbrushes are just the beginning. Take inventory of your bathroom and keep a list of everything that is plastic. That will give you a list to use as you start replacing each item.
Instead of disposable razors, invest in a zero waster razor that is metal. Use toothbrushes made of bamboo instead of plastic, and throw them in the compost bin when it's time to get a new one. Bar soap and shampoo bars can take the place of plastic bottles, and you can even find toothpaste bites that dissolve in your mouth and eliminate the need for toothpaste containers. You can also use glass containers and dissolvable tablets for hand soap.
Start With the First R
Most of us know to recycle, but how many of us actually try to reduce our consumption? That's the first R in reduce, reuse, recycle, and it's the most important. Be aware of what you are buying and of the impact your purchase will have on the environment. When you do need something, try to find the most sustainable item from a responsible merchant.
Reducing how much we consume will help lessen our impact on the planet, and this is an important step when it comes to living a zero waste life.
The possibilities for zero waste living are endless, but this beginner's guide is a meaningful place to start.
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