Seven strategies to jump-start a zero-waste lifestyle

As the negative impacts of human-driven climate change become more obvious in our day-to-day lives, humanity is experiencing a shift in consciousness that prioritizes sustainability and minimizing our carbon footprint.

However, breaking old habits in exchange for sustainable ones, such as joining the zero-waste movement, can be intimidating. Here are seven strategies that you can incorporate into your daily life to ease you into a more eco-conscious, zero-waste life!

Shop with reusable containers and bags: Most grocery stores will have cloth mesh bags for sale as alternatives to plastic bags. Grab a few of those and leave them in your car or purse so you are ready to load them up with groceries whenever you need to.

You can also take clean containers to the deli counter and fill them with cheese, meat, seafood, and prepared foods. Seek take-out and delivery services, like Zero Grocery and DeliverZero that wrap your meals in reusable materials. You can also start purchasing milk in reusable glass jars and buy eggs from a supplier that will re-use old cartons.

Make things from scratch: Although it’s a little more effort, DIY initiatives are one of the fastest ways to cut down on waste. Ditch the premade packaged condiments for something you make on your own. You can learn to whip up your own sauces, broth, pickles, jams, yogurt, bread, and so much more.

This practice can extend into personal products as well such as deodorant, body butter, and facial scrubs.

Buy items with the least packaging: Avoid “convenient” food packaging and opt for non-plastic packaging when you can. Buy in bulk to cut down on extra packaging, and try to purchase “naked” bars of soap, shampoo, body lotion, etc. More and more stores are offering liquid products such as soap, cleaning solutions, vinegar, and oils on tap, allowing you to reuse your own containers.

Wean yourself off disposable products: Research what reusable alternatives are available for things around your house like paper towels, wet wipes, plastic straws, and garbage liners. Pack lunches in reusable containers instead of going for juice boxes and packaged snacks. If you menstruate, say goodbye to disposable tampons and pads and try a menstrual cup instead.

Create a zero-waste kit to carry around: Be ready for anything by stocking a little bag with a water bottle, coffee cup, reusable shopping bag, cloth napkin, metal cutlery, metal straw, and an empty container for your restaurant left-overs.

Compost your food scraps: If there’s not already a composting system in place where you live, install a home composter and watch your food waste turn into healthy soil. You can really go for it by installing a solar composter, or you can keep it simple by putting a box of red wiggler worms on your back deck to consume food scraps.

Strive for progress, not perfection: Zero-waste living is a significant adjustment and requires a bit of planning and persistence, so don’t focus on perfection. Instead, assess what is available to you based on where you live, work with what you have, and be proud of the progress you’re making in reducing your waste.

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