It is difficult to be completely zero waste but you can lead a low waste life by making simple changes to your day to day life. You cannot decide to go completely zero waste all of a sudden – It is a journey. You keep learning new things every day which you incorporate in your life. Reduce consumption, reuse whatever you have and finally recycle what you cannot use anymore. Each one of us has different challenges depending on where we live, what facilities are available and what our needs are but what is important is we keep trying to reduce our waste and lead a more sustainable life.
Here are 5 simple things that you can do to start your zero waste journey today. Some of you may already be doing these!
Carry your bottle of water
It is the simplest thing that you can do. Every time you step out, even if its for just a little while, carry a bottle of water. There are so many plastic bottles that get binned every single minute, imagine how many that would be in a year! Stop buying water. You also would be saving some money there. I have a metal bottle which I have been using for years now.
Separate your waste
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle! Upcycle and reuse things. When they cannot be used any more, recycle them. A lot of packaging is recyclable, even plastic packaging! Start looking at the recycle sign on the packaging and keep it separate instead of tossing it in the bin. We have two bins – one for paper and the other one for cans, bottles and plastic. I rinse the cans and bottles so they are clean before putting it in these bins. I keep paper separate so it stays dry.
You don’t need to buy recycle bins, you could just use existing boxes or bags for the recyclable items.
Do some research and find a recycling centre in your area or town. You don’t have to make trips to the recycling centre everyday, go once a week or whenever you need to (bins / bags are full). We go once in two weeks.
Carry a tote bag or a foldable bag
Make sure to carry your own reusable bags when you go shopping. Also keep a couple of bags (foldable ones) in your bag which you carry everyday. This will help you to refuse a bag during those impromtu shopping trips. Empty your shopping when you get home and put it back in your purse / bag. Refuse a bag even when you go for some retail therapy. Although a lot of brands have started using paper bags it still is waste. If you do have a lot of paper bags at home, reuse them and then recycle them.
Use your own produce bags
This is an extension to the previous point. So a lot of us already carry our own bags – some of us are eco-friendly and some of us don’t want to pay for bags – whatever your reason is, it is a great step towards a zero waste lifestyle. But what we often forget is the plastic bags that we get our loose produce in. We grab those bags without thinking when we pick loose fruit and veg. And this counts for a lot of plastic waste too. So invest in some produce bags. I got mine from Amazon and from a local supermarket a couple of years ago but it would be even better if you buy them from a small business in your local area. If you are good at sewing, you could even make these. That would be perfect!
Buy loose produce
Ideally it would be great if we could all shop at farmers markets and farm shops but they are not always accessible for all of us. Most of us shop at supermarkets these days since its convenient to get all our groceries in one store. The problem with supermarkets is a lot of produce is packaged which is such a shame. Try to buy loose produce wherever you can and avoid the unnecessary packaging. You could also check a farm box delivery option in your area, A lot of these send you the groceries in cardboard boxes and the produce is often packaging free too. I personally love going to the fruit and veg. It feels great to pick the fruits and vegetables yourselves. And without any plastic!
Hope this was a useful post and good luck for your zero waste journey. Trust me it is very exciting and satisfying. If you have any questions let me know in the comments or ping me on Instagram ( @muktasdiaries) . I’ll be happy to help or point you in the right direction.