In the United States alone, each person creates nearly 5 pounds of waste on a daily basis. However, there are some individuals who strive to bring that total down to zero. They are part of what is known as the zero-waste movement, an initiative that is encouraging consumers to think about the waste that they produce and take the necessary steps to eradicate it from their lives. Read on to explore seven ways that you can embark on your own journey toward zero-waste living:
Avoid disposable kitchen products.
You can easily reduce your dependence on common disposable kitchen products by opting for a few eco-friendly alternatives. When it comes to kitchen waste, one of the chief culprits is food storage. If you currently use plastic containers to store your leftovers, then you should consider swapping them out for those made of stainless steel or glass, which will reduce the amount of plastic waste that you produce.
If you want to live waste-free, there are a number of other disposables that you should try to avoid. Try swapping plastic sandwich bags with reusable containers and dish sponges for a more eco-friendly lifestyle. You can also eliminate your dependence on aluminum foil by purchasing reusable fabrics and silicone sheets that you can use for food storage and cooking.
Keep cloth products at the ready.
You can take a major step toward zero-waste living by using cloth products instead of paper ones. For example, you can consider swapping paper napkins for cloth versions. You can even find organic ones if you want to be truly eco-friendly.
It is also important that you completely eliminate paper towels from your home. Instead, you should always use kitchen towels, rags, or handkerchiefs for all your cleaning and drying needs. Handkerchiefs are also essential for when you are on the go. Keep one in your pocket for those times when you need to dry your hands or blow your nose.
Refuse items that you don’t need.
Refusing what you know you don’t need is essential to eliminating all manner of waste from your life. The first step that you should take is to refuse any junk mail that your postal carrier brings by each week. The various publications and fliers that you receive are a drain on natural resources. To minimize the demand for these items, you should search for websites and programs that will allow you to opt out of receiving junk mail.
Similarly, you should always resist the temptation to bring home free items from your office or any events that you attend. Building up a collection of free pens will only create more waste in the end.
Bring reusables when shopping.
You can follow the trend of abandoning plastic bags by bringing reusable totes with you whenever you go shopping. Many consumers keep these sustainable grocery bags in their cars to ensure that they will always be on hand for trips to the supermarket. In order to eliminate plastic bag waste, you will need to bring additional totes on shopping trips. For produce, you should use bags made of cotton mesh or another lightweight fabric instead of reaching for the plastic equivalent.
Purchase items in bulk.
You can eliminate a reliance on pre-packaged items by purchasing them in bulk. Simply bring your own cloth bags or glass jars to use as storage when you pick out rice, flour, and other dry items that you need from the bulk bins at the grocery store. In addition, you should purchase important cleaning items such as laundry detergent and soap in bulk to avoid using too much plastic packaging.
Make common household items yourself.
Instead of purchasing household items with excessive packaging, you can minimize waste by making a number of them right at home. With a little research, you can find recipes that will teach you how to make everything from moisturizer to cosmetics. You can even forego toothpaste by creating your own tooth cleaning powder. Another common source of disposable packaging is food. You should consider making your own bread, cereal, and canned produce to reduce this type of waste.
Take charge of your wardrobe.
When it comes to your clothes, you can reduce your waste in a number of ways. On shopping trips, you should always choose pre-owned clothing whenever possible. Not only will this help reduce the need for tags and packaging, but it will minimize the carbon emissions that the clothing industry creates throughout the production and transportation of new products. When you need to buy new items, you should always choose clothing with the least amount of packaging. In addition, it is important to purchase high-quality products instead of cheaper versions. These items will last longer and eliminate the need to purchase multiples of the same type of clothing.
Repairing and reusing your old clothing is another excellent way to live waste-free. To make the most out of your wardrobe, you should work with a local tailor or learn to sew. This will enable you to hem, re-fit, and fix old clothes to keep them looking brand new for years to come. When garments become too frayed, you can cut them up and use them as rags around the house. Otherwise, you should always donate any clothes that you no longer want or need instead of tossing them into the trash.