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How to do: Zero Waste Living

Here are some wonderful tips and tricks on how to adopt a zero waste lifestyle – hassle free!

But before I get into it, I’d like to address the fact that while individual environmentally-conscious decisions are important, without serious reductions in waste by global corporations, climate disasters cannot be prevented. As The Earth Stewardess reminded us all on Eco_Tok, a mere three companies account for over 10% of the world’s pollution: Chevron, Shell and Exxon.

This means that no individual should fall into the cracks of guilt for not attaining a permanent state of eco-perfectionism. Nor should people who care about going zero waste give up. If anything, this impenetrable fact should inject even more resilience into our movements and decisions.

In an economy that relies on a system of supply and demand, we are the corporation’s consumers. We decide where our money goes, and where it does not, and I hope this blog helps you to make even more environmentally-conscious decisions which add to your lifestyle, rather than take away from the planet.

  1. Know your purpose

This seems obvious, but zero waste living isn’t always the easiest pursuit, and at some points you might need something to reference that will guarantee your motivation sustains.

The reason ‘why’ could be anything. Money reasons, health reasons, or environmental reasons… your reasons are your own and are personal to you, and whatever they are, they will help solidify your resolve to carry on.

  1. Repurpose in imaginative ways

Receipts, sweet wrappers, or long-disregarded beer caps may all seem meaningless, but little things like these can help us remember the moments of our lives. I for one, keep little scraps to stick in a scrapbook, and making a collage each month has become a cathartic ritual. It takes me back to all the dinner dates, good times with friends, or even just what groceries I bought one random night. It can make you appreciate the moments that would otherwise pass by unnoticed, threatening to render our pasts as shapeless, and many of its details unidentifiable.

The packaging of a lot of the items we buy is also perfectly re-usable. Old glass water bottles make cute vases, and even old dessert pots can make ideal jewellery holders. My personal favourite are the GU pudding glass pots, which are the perfect size for rings and bracelets.

  1. Reuse in practical ways

With approximately 58% of Black Friday sales happening online in 2020, now is the time to be re-using mail bags and cardboard boxes for presents you give, or post, this Christmas. The options to reuse, reduce and repurpose should always be considered before you decide to recycle. So, this year, instead of simply throwing that used Amazon cardboard box into the recycling bin, think about the benefits of re-using it to prevent the cost of recycling it.

  1. Reduce in measured ways

Here, I’m primarily talking about food waste, which I’m sure we all know affects climate change. Start by shopping smart. Try to only buy what you need. You’ll find you can even do this easily in mainstream supermarkets.

  • Buy from the meat and fish counters, and buy loose fruit and vegetables, this means you’ll only be buying the right amount for you
  • Stick to your list, this will stop you making impulse purchases that are bad for your health and wallet
  • Make frequent trips to food shops if you can, this prevents bulk-buying and the inevitable waste that brings

However, if you do find you have ingredients spare – don’t fret! You can use them towards yummy food waste reducing recipes.

  1. Surround yourself with encouragement

Finally, it’s important to surround yourself with good influences. If you find yourself lapsing, or finding it too difficult, you’ll need someone to echo your original reason ‘why’ you decided to go zero waste back to you, or to read the words that give you the motivation you need to carry on.

We recommend following social media accounts that keep inspiring you with innovative new ways to be zero waste and sustainable. This could be Sustainable Elle, with her comforting reminders, or Kathryn Kellogg and her impressive track record.

Whatever parts you choose to take away, or messages you find inspire you, know that the change you are making has permanence, and it will make a difference.

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