Those of you who know me are well aware I’m a huge utilize of reducing, reusing, and recycling. Introducing these steps (in that order) into my life has been one of the easiest ways to help the world become a better place, and I feel I make a difference. This year, I have set a resolution to take every step I can to live a zero waste lifestyle. Before I continue, some may wonder…what is zero waste?
It is exactly what it seems…the lifestyle you live produces ZERO waste. I want you to take a minute and go through your typical day; think about the things you use, throw away, and recycle every day. Examples are:
Food packaging, especially to-go food containers, paper and plastic bags, paper towels, coffee cups, WATER BOTTLES, plastic wrap, tin foil, plastic
utensils, paper plates, face cottons, food waste, feminine products, and gift wrap are some of the most commonly used products in most households.
Not only are using these products wasteful, but they are usually completely avoidable, therefore unnecessary! The following is a list of what I’ve been able to reduce so far, and what switch I made to do so.
- Grabbing a paper towel each time you wash your hands? Air dry or use a organic cotton towel.
- Coffee cups are easily replaced with a permanent to-go cup or mug. Some placed even offer discounts for BYOM. Also, coffee grounds are compostable!
- Avoid eating out. I almost always bring my own organic homemade lunch and I cook dinner often, usually making extra for leftovers. When Nolan and I do go out for dates, we usually share food so there are no leftovers that require containers. What if you need one? Simply bring your own! If you plan on getting food to go, it’s absolutely fine to ask if the restaurant will put it in your container. It may take a little planning ahead, but when I can, I do.
- Meat seems to be hard to purchase without plastic or foam packaging. Purchasing local, grass fed meat is a great way to at least reduce your carbon footprint, and it’s way better to support local farmers of course! However, when shopping the grocery store try to buy from the fresh meat department. Bring your own containers and they will tare if, add your product, and voila! Avoided paper and plastic wrap.
- Plastic produce bags are dumb. So skip ’em. Cashiers don’t mind. However, say your grabbing bulk cherry tomatoes or green beans; use a cloth bag you’ve brought or tie them up in a kitchen rag.
Below are a few quick and easy swaps to make to start going zero-waste yourself!
- Food waste? Compost!
- Feminine hygiene? Divacup!
- Cotton rounds or cotton balls? Reusable organic cotton ones!
- Beer? Growlers!
- And of course, plastics. Full of toxins, no good for the environment when produced, and also easily avoidable. When possible, choose glass (such as mason jars) porcelain, or bamboo products for cleaning/decor/food storage/toothbrushes and the list goes on and on. I like these guys (I find them at TJMaxx often) but I also utilize mason jars to their fullest extent. (Coffee and water, storage and decor, etc..)
- Shopping local. Avoid packaging and shipping when at all possible.
- If you’re a nifty person, DIY where and when you can!
- Shopping in bulk by using mason jars.
That’s a summary of the first step: Reducing what you waste. The second is reusing! I do try very hard, but I do still end up with waste sometimes. But I tend to reuse anything, ANYTHING that seems useful. Jars, coffee sleeves, food containers, plastic bags, egg cartons and so on. This drastically cuts the portion of waste that ends up in the trash or the (final step!) recycle bin! A quick search on Pinterest will give you many ideas for recycled goods.
Join me in producing less waste! Every bit that doesn’t end up in a landfill makes a difference for us, our family’s, and the world around us. We only get one, so let’s treat her right. Tons more information is found here at
the Trash is for Tossers website. Lauren has been my inspiration and go-to source on how to live zero-waste. Of course there are many more resources, so research it a bit! I hope to be a zero-waste resource for you also as I continue on this path.
This year I will be updating you month-by-month on what I haven’t been able to reuse or recycle, in hopes to spread the inspiration and knowledge! It will also keep me accountable so I do my best to live minimally wasteful each day.
Namaste everyone! Happy Recycling!