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Zero Waste For Beginners: How To Live With Less Waste

It’s a journey. All that matters is that you become aware and more conscious of the environment. I am not totally zero waste yet but the first step is awareness and after that you’ll start to reduce waste little by little.





5 R’s of Waste Management:


REFUSE what you don’t need

REDUCE what you need

REUSE by using what you have

RECYCLE what you can

ROT the rest


Refuse

Think before accepting any clutter into your home. Turn down flyers, freebies, junk mail, party favours and any other items that will most likely go into the trash.


Reduce

Reduce the amount of paper you bring into your home by switching to paperless. Do this with your mail, bills, notes and books.


Reuse

Instead of using plastic bags and creating more demand for them, use reusable cloth bags, cotton string bags or use the traditional woven market basket.





I always avoid buying pre-packaged goods in grocery stores; I prefer loosely displayed items in grocery stores or farmer’s market.You could also bring your own jars to the grocery stores to avoid bringing home any unnecessary plastic containers. I personally love when grocery stores sell things in bulk so that it’s easy to do zero waste shopping.





Instead of using one-time disposable plastic straw, you can refuse the straw completely or bring your own reusable glass, steel or bamboo straws.


Instead of using plastic cling wrap in your kitchen to preserve your food and your leftovers, switch to using sustainable and reusable beeswax wrap.


Instead of buying disposable plastic water bottles, opt for a reusable water bottle. Glass and steel are probably best for your water bottle.


Avoid using disposable utensils, instead bring utensils from home or bring portable steel or bamboo utensils. I learned this lesson from my mom, she is notoriously known for her bulky purse containing all the utensils that we may need if we had the chance to eat at restaurants. We would always joke that the only missing item from her purse is the rice cooker.





For coffee lovers, choose pour over coffee like Chemex instead of using Keurig and coffee makers. For tea lovers, choose loose leaf tea in reusable tea bags. Always buy organic and fair trade coffee. You can also grow your own herbs and dry them to put in your reusable tea bags or you can source them from farmer's markets.


You will make a huge impact just by switching from your plastic toothbrush for a sustainable bamboo toothbrush. Think of all the plastic toothbrushes that you use in one lifetime, and imagine avoiding that waste completely just by switching to something biodegradable and compostable.





Disposable period products also create so much waste; instead try using a menstrual cup. Menstrual cups are made of medical grade silicone.


Recycle

Avoid fast fashion. Opt for second hand clothing. Recycle all fabric even the ripped or stained ones, I use them as kitchen towels instead of buying paper towels. Recycle scrap paper for taking notes, car tires for plant pots and wood crates into storage containers, shelves, side table or bench.




Rot

Rot food wastes into composted soil or as a food for a local farm. I always have a compost bin on my kitchen countertop for food scraps and vegetable peels.






Join me in this journey to thoughtful consumption.









Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.

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