To live a zero-waste lifestyle doesn’t need to be complicated. You don’t need to read a thick manual from cover to cover to switch to a zero-waste lifestyle. All you need is awareness and commitment to what you want to achieve. Start with small steps to build those into sustainable habits.
Here are easy and simple tips that you can do to achieve the perfect zero-waste lifestyle.
1. Switch off and unplug.
In this day and age of modern technology, electrical energy is essential in our everyday lives, whether at home, in the office, or even during transportation. Now, did you know that there is such a thing as energy waste?
Energy waste comes from the inefficient use of electricity, resulting in carbon and methane release in our atmosphere which affects our environment.
To achieve a zero-waste lifestyle, start by switching off lights that are not in use. If it’s daytime, maximize light from a natural resource- the sun!
Next, unplug appliances, gadgets, and other electronic items that are not in use. A television on standby mode still consumes electricity. A washing machine that is plugged but is not in use still uses energy. Your still-plugged fully charged phone? Yes, it also still consumes electricity.
2. Turn off the tap.
Water is another resource that we use in our daily lives. However, many of us tend to easily take our water resources for granted. It’s important to remember that even though the earth is about 71% water, 97% is saltwater, with the remaining 3% as fresh water.
This means that the water supply we use and drink is not limited, and we should be mindful not to put it to waste. The simple step you can do to practice zero-waste is simply to turn off the tap when it’s not in use.
Did you know that just by turning off the tap while brushing your teeth, you save about 8 gallons of water? So, the next time you also do the dishes and the laundry, make sure not to leave your faucet running.
Additionally, fix any leaks that you may have at home to eliminate unnecessary water waste. Conserving water helps preserve the environment and ensures that our future generations will still access this resource. Another plan is to finally ditch bathroom essentials that come with single-use plastics, instead of support products that are multi-purpose, refillable and plastic-free.
3. Refuse single-use.
One of the major sources causes of pollution is single-use items such as plastic bags, straws, spoons, forks, bottles, and so much more. Plastic waste has always been a huge issue. It ends up in our oceans and forests, harming our wildlife and their habitat. It also negatively impacts us humans and the environment.
To avoid producing waste, simply refuse single-use or disposable items. For instance, if you have take-out food, inform the restaurant that you will be skipping the cutlery. Instead of having your groceries packed in plastic bags, just bring your own reusable grocery bag.
This simple act of saying no to disposable items contribute to a bigger positive impact. It will help alleviate the stress in our landfills, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, preserve our wildlife, and reduce toxic pollutants in the air that we breathe.
4. Reuse what you can.
Do you really need to buy a new dress? There might be one that you haven’t used lying around your closet. Now you might be asking, what does zero-waste have anything to do with shopping for new items? Zero-waste is also about shifting consumer patterns.
The fashion industry, particularly fast fashion, is not exactly sustainable. Producing clothing uses up a lot of water resources and contributes to 10% of human-caused carbon emissions, which is detrimental to our environment. It also pollutes our environment with non-biodegradable materials that also harm wildlife. By reusing clothes that you can still wear, you help protect the environment.
Aside from clothes, you can give new life to other old or used items. You can also opt to reuse them for different purposes instead of throwing them out right away. For example, instead of adding a piece of furniture to our landfills, such as a stool, consider turning it into a new project. Redecorate, repair it, or give it a new purpose by turning it into a bedside table.
5. Switch to eco-friendly alternatives.
Last but not the least, achieve the perfect zero-waste lifestyle by switching to eco-friendly items. Start by swapping out the “biggest offenders”. Look at the items in your kitchen, dining area, bedroom, living room, office, and bathroom. Which of those items is the most waste-generating?
For instance, instead of using flimsy disposable paper towels every time to clean up spills in the kitchen, switch to cloth napkins that you already have in your home or natural cloth napkins made of linen.
For skincare, sustainable cotton rounds can replace 1750 pieces of single-use cotton pads. It’s easy to clean, and it comes with a plant-based case that you can easily add to your makeup bag.
The good news is that sustainable brands such as EcoRoots, LastObject, and Oak Organic offer an eco-friendly alternative to almost every item we use that makes the shift to a zero-waste lifestyle easier. Just start with simple steps, be consistent, and know that you are making a positive impact on the planet and on everyone and everything in it.