Five Easy Tips to Start Your Zero Waste Life

When you’re starting your zero waste life, the whole transition can be a little bit daunting. Don’t worry you’re not alone! It’s a huge life change that at mass scale can have an enormous global impact. But where do you start? The secret is simple: take your time and don’t be too hard on yourself. Think of it as training yourself to lead a new life. This won’t happen overnight. Let’s dig in.

Here are our 5 tips for starting your new zero-waste life.

Don’t Jump In With Two Feet

Wait, what? Aren't we supposed to go all in? Isn’t that why it’s called ‘Zero’ Waste and not ‘Less’ Waste? Being passionate is great, but if you try to cut out everything at once, chances are pretty good that you’ll give up before you even begin. Find quick wins in your everyday life that won’t feel so hard to eliminate or alter. Do you get takeout coffee or lunches? Keep a cup and cutlery in your bag to eliminate wasteful single-use trash. Better yet, make them at home and bring them with you. Find small things you can add every day, you’ll be surprised how easily you can ramp up.

Preparation Is Everything

Buying new things to waste fewer things may sound counterintuitive but you’ll need to make sure you’re able to easily swap wasteful habits for good ones. You absolutely don’t need to spend a lot of money to get zero-waste prepped and you may even have everything you need already in your home. Take a look at your day-to-day and where waste tends to pop-up. Use saran wrap or sandwich bags regularly? Swap them for eco-friendly wrap options. Grab groceries on your way home from work? Keep a canvas tote in your bag. Try to take inventory of your life and your needs and make sure you have a good replacement lined up.

Think In Bulk

One common habit that can be hard to break is buying only what we need at the moment, rather than planning for the future. Even though we know that buying larger quantities of things we use all the time is actually more cost-effective, most of us prefer to spend more in small quantities under the guise of ‘convenience’. If you can’t kick this habit you’ll get stuck in the convenience loop. And you know what convenience comes packaged in? You guessed it. Plastic! So find your local bulk shops, pack your reusable bags and stock up on things you know you use or eat all the time.

Look at Your Trash

Seriously. Look at it. Pull out your garbage and poke around in there. Are you surprised by what you find? We bet you might be. Are there easy to swap out items, like plastic bags? Food waste that could have been composted? Plastics that could have been recycled? What’s really in there? Take a look and you’ll have a really clear idea of where to start making some changes.

Make it Social

Try to bring friends and family into what you’re doing and set a good example. Don’t be preachy (no one likes that!) but show how effortless some small changes can really be, and encourage them to try reducing waste in their own lives. We tend to think of these life changes as depriving ourselves of something but if you can show that you’re actually thriving in your new lifestyle, you’ll have friends asking you how they can get on board before you know it!

What steps are you taking towards a zero-waste life?

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  • I’ve just started my zero waste journey, and basically started with the bare minimum – sorting recyclables. My husband and I used to fill a garbage bag almost daily, and now we have been using this one for 4 days! Small changes really make a big difference.

    Megan on
  • I’ve been composting for over 30 years. It’s easier than you think, especially if you love to garden. As long as you give it a turn every 2-3 days, it does not stink as some may believe. Your plants grow bigger and have a stronger resistance to destructive pests. Good insects aren’t poisoned with fertilizers which harm our precious water. Man made products have not done our earth any favors; so please people, do your part by reducing, reusing, recycling. Also, lobby large corporations to do their part. We will all be happier and healthier for it.

    Val Hill on

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