Updated: Jan 14
Going from a mad-man shopaholic to a zero-waste pioneer can feel next to impossible. And while it definitely won't happen overnight, there are a bunch of easy changes you can make to reduce your waste and make an impact.
Side note: "zero-waste", fit your entire year of trash into a mason jar should not be your goal!
Living sustainably means making sustainable habits that you can realistically stick to. So yeah, shoot for the zero-waste stars, but land amongst the eco-minded people.
1. Use what you have
Before you launch into a shopping spree at Package Free Shop, use up what you already have. Your current toothpaste might be packaged in plastic, but you've already bought it. if you replace it before you've used it all up, you're just wasting what you already have. Instead, try to slowly replace items as necessary with their more eco-conscious alternatives.
2. Bring Tupperware with you when you eat out
If you know your eyes are always bigger than your stomach, keep some spare Tupperware in your car or bag. Now rather than asking your waiter for a plastic or styrofoam takeaway container, you can just easily pack it up on your own. Waste eliminated!!
3. Always have utensils on you
A lot of times, snack stops are impulsive. And there is nothing worse than ordering your food and having your only option be plastic silverware wrapped in plastic wrap. Keep a few sets around and always have one on you when you go out.
In 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency estimated that only about 4.1% of wasted food was composted. Composting is an essential part of being environmentally sustainable. Food waste sent to landfills produces methane. Build up of methane in the atmosphere can trap heat causing Earth to warm, which has and will continue to instigate many climate issues. If you set up a composting system in your home, you can directly reduce methane emissions and your soil will be better off!
5. Reduce your meat intake
Factory farming causes an abundance of methane, deforestation, and the contamination of soil and water. Veganism is great, but not necessary. If you just have a few vegetarian meals a week, you will be doing your part.
6. Shop local
Swap your Saturday shopping spree for a local farmers market. Shopping local reduces the carbon emissions from shipping, waste from packaging, and gives you the freedom to support businesses that share your values.
7. Thrift shop
Fast fashion is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions. 85 percent of clothing ends up in landfills rather than being recycled or donated. The majority of fibers in clothing are non-biodegradable plastic fibers that washout as microfibers, polluting oceans. Thrift shopping is a great alternative to shopping at big brand stores.
8. Download a browser that supports environmental causes
This is a great way to help the planet without even thinking about it. All you have to do is download Ecosia: https://www.ecosia.org and every search you make will contribute to planting a tree.
9. Invest in a reusable water bottle
The cost may feel hefty at first, but investing in a quality water bottle that you love is essential. Bringing it with will eliminate your need to ever accept a plastic water bottle again.
10. Become an aware consumer
It's all too easy to turn a blind eye today and pay no mind to the values of the companies we are supporting. Take a step back and reevaluate the brands you love. Look into what they do and don't do for the environment. What are their ethical values? Start supporting companies that prioritize the same things that you do. You might just find it makes you love shopping even more.
Just by reading this article you are making a difference.
Educating yourself and becoming aware are the stepping stones to a sustainable future.
Don't be afraid of all that you should change, be excited that there are so many things you can!