The Complete Guide to Zero Waste

It’s time to change the way we think about trash. More and more people are starting to take note of their footprints on this earth in order to make it a better place for generations to come. The idea is that if you give zero waste a chance, then you can start making your planet and yourself much happier!

This article will outline what Zero Waste really is, how it began as an idea, why it’s important, and several easy ways for you to get started today. It’s never too late when it comes to being mindful of our surroundings! Let’s go ahead and get started with the basics…

What is Zero Waste?

Zero Waste is the idea that we should only produce enough waste to fill the bin. It’s an idea most of us aren’t able to attain, but if you’re anything like others, you’ll get closer than you would have thought possible.

So what does Zero Wasters actually do with all their junk? Well, they upcycle or repurpose it. You can give away your clothes, sell what you can and donate the rest to charity or a shelter. Make sure you’re giving it to people that will find a creative use for it so no one falls into the same trap as before of buying new stuff when old things would do just fine.

Why is Zero Waste Important?

The amount of waste we produce as a population is not sustainable. We’re currently producing over 1 billion tons of rubbish per year and this number is only going to grow. This could even lead to the downfall of our civilization.

Zero Waste is an alternative approach that focuses on redesigning products so that they are made to last forever, or at least for a very long time. This means we buy fewer things, use them longer and make sure everything we produce is biodegradable.

The idea of Zero Waste encompasses the three pillars that are required in any sustainable system: Reduction, Reuse & Recycling. We need to avoid producing things in the first place, reduction, so that we can lengthen how long they last, reuse, and make sure they don’t have any negative effects on the environment when disposed of recycling.

5 Principles of Zero Waste

1. Reduce

This means we buy only what we need. We opt for products that have a minimal amount of packaging and avoid items that have been over-packaged or are non-essential. This also means using reusable items like canvas bags instead of new plastic bags, mugs instead of cups from coffee chains, and plates you’ll wash after the meal instead of plastic disposable cutlery.

2. Reuse

This means we reuse items until they are worn beyond repair or until they can no longer be used for their initial purpose. This means using the same water bottle, mug, and utensils every day instead of buying new ones daily and repairing things that have broken in order to extend their life.

3. Recycle

This means we make sure what cannot be reused is processed with minimal harm to the environment. This means taking your plastic and paper to a recycling bin instead of throwing it in the garbage where it will sit in the landfill for who knows how long.

4. Rot or Compost

This is not part of Zero Waste itself, but it’s a great way to reduce the trash you produce. You can feed organic waste back into your garden to make compost which is great for growing plants and flowers.

5. Share & Barter

This means hiring things or borrowing items from friends and neighbors instead of buying new ones each time you require them. This also means sharing tools and equipment like lawnmowers with your neighbors to reduce the amount of stuff you require in your home.

How to Start a Zero Waste Lifestyle

We’ve all been there before, standing in front of our overflowing cupboards wondering what to do with the mess. A great way to approach a Zero Waste lifestyle is by thinking about what you have and repurposing it into new things or art.

This could mean transforming old t-shirts into bags or your excess spices into beauty products. The possibilities are endless and what you make is entirely up to your own imagination.

What’s the Biggest Challenge?

If you’ve just started a Zero Waste lifestyle then it’s likely that one of the biggest challenges will be continuous consumption.

We’ve been convinced since birth that we need new items every few weeks in order for our lives to function properly, but this is hardly the case. We’ve been conditioned to believe we need consumption so that our economy can grow and people can have jobs, but this is not sustainable.

If everyone in the world stopped consuming things for a year it would likely not have any negative effects since companies like Apple produce products with an 18-month life expectancy. Imagine if we stopped wasting goods and started reusing the ones we have?

This would allow us to focus on things that truly matter, like creating a better world for future generations. Living sustainably is not about doing without or going without – it’s about thinking before we purchase something new and making sure what we do use is made using environmentally friendly methods.

Make a conscious decision to live more sustainably and you’ll be amazed at how much better your life actually is. The only downside to living this way is that it’s very addictive

Misconceptions about Zero Waste

There are many misconceptions about Zero Waste lifestyles, so it’s important to clarify some of them.

1. Being zero waste means you will be without or lose things you like.

This is not true. You can still have your favorite brands and buy new things if you want to – no one is forcing you to stop purchasing anything. The whole point of Zero Waste is that you will never produce landfills again and it actually means you’ll save more money in the long run.

2. There’s no way I could live without plastic!

Plastic is bad for the environment and can take hundreds of years to decompose, but we’ve been conditioned to believe it is a necessary evil. There are plenty of alternatives to plastic that can be used for storing food such as glass, metal, and beeswax wrap.

3. Zero Waste is just another trend that won’t last.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. A Zero Waste lifestyle has been practiced by humans for hundreds of years, but we’ve forgotten how to do it. It’s important that more people adopt this lifestyle in order to reduce the amount of waste we produce as a society.

4. I’m too lazy for Zero Waste.

Although being zero waste is much easier than you may think, you will need to make some changes if you want to succeed. These changes are easy and even fun to make, so there’s no need to stress.

5. I can’t afford to live zero waste.

Although it takes a little while to adjust your lifestyle to become more sustainable, you’ll notice the difference in your bank balance within months. This is because you will stop spending money on items that end up in landfills and instead spend it on one-off purchases of sustainable items.

6. Zero Waste is too difficult.

There are around seven million people in the UK alone who have made a conscious decision to live more sustainably and this number continues to grow. If they can do it then you can too – it’s as simple as that!

7. I don’t have time to be Zero Waste.

If you listen to adverts on the TV then they will tell you that you don’t have time in your busy schedule for anything other than going out shopping and spending money. We’re always sold more goods we don’t need, which costs us a lot of time and money. But, if you think about how much more time you could have if you weren’t shopping all the time then it’s definitely worth changing.

8. Zero Waste is not for me.

If everyone on the planet made just one change to their lifestyle (such as stopping using single-use plastic items) then there would be a huge positive impact. The whole point of Zero Waste is that it’s not just about you, it’s about all of us and the planet we live on.

9. I don’t care if my waste harms the environment.

If you don’t care about harming the environment then think about the people around you – your family, friends, children, or grandchildren. No one wants their kids to grow up in a world that’s polluted and at risk of being destroyed. Making small changes now will prevent this from happening and benefit future generations.

10. I’m too old to change my lifestyle.

You’re never too old or too young to adopt a Zero Waste lifestyle, it’s as simple as that. When we see people older than us doing it, we don’t think it’s possible so we give up. This is because an older person has more things that they have accumulated over the years and will need to sort through. But you’ll surprise yourself at how much easier this becomes once you get started.

11. I’ve tried going Zero Waste before and it didn’t work for me.

There’s not really a way of telling if you won’t succeed with something unless you try. The best way to find out is to start following some tips on how you can reduce your waste and slowly adjust your lifestyle. This will give you the best chance for success.

12. I live with my parents, children, partner and they won’t let me.

If you’re living with other people then you need to sit down and have a discussion about the benefits of going to Zero Waste. You can also suggest making small changes together, such as swapping one item at a time so you don’t overwhelm anyone.

13. I’m too embarrassed to live Zero Waste.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed about switching your lifestyle and there’s no need to explain or justify it. You’ll be amazed by how many other people are also living a more sustainable life and loving every minute of it!

If you want to talk about it then most towns have a local group you can join.

The Zero Waste Checklist

Are you ready to live a more sustainable lifestyle?

Then it’s time to check off each task as you complete them and see how your life changes from living Zero Waste.

1. Start with a goal and write down your reasons for doing this. After, stick it on the fridge for everyone to see!

2. Avoid plastic at all costs. Get rid of anything that’s made of plastic and start being more sustainable today.

3. Sort your waste correctly, so nothing goes to landfill. Make sure all your waste is either recycled or composted – then you’re doing it right.

4. Use a reusable water bottle and coffee cup. You’ll save money and be kinder to the environment.

5. Stop using single-use items such as plastic straws. Make them yourself at home or buy some reusable ones instead.

6. Say no to freebies, flyers, and paper handouts. Your name isn’t down for anything you don’t want to tell people that!

7. Start making swaps. Swap your plastic toothbrush for bamboo or recycled options.

8. Make a conscious effort to reuse. Carry on using all the reusable items you already have and start using them again.

9. Stop going shopping unless you need to. This is actually surprisingly easy as you’ll stop seeing these items as essential!

10. Buy ethically. Get rid of your single-use products and invest in some sustainable, ethically made items instead.

11. Make things at home yourself. This is a great way to cut down on cost and waste, plus you’ll be surprised how easy it can be! 

12. Try fully Zero Wasting for a month. You’ll be surprised at how quickly you adapt and what you can do without!

13. Reuse and recycle everything possible. Turn your rubbish into something new or share it with others who could benefit from using it.

So, is Zero Waste Possible?

Yes! Absolutely everyone can do it – it’s not just for the perfect human beings who already live zero waste. It’s about finding what works for you and making changes to your lifestyle. Once you’ve completed these tasks, you’ll be living in a more sustainable way and reducing landfill waste.

Now that you know all there is to know about Zero Waste, you should feel inspired and motivated to start living more sustainably! So, why not make one of these changes today and see how you get on.

And remember, that we can all help change the world simply by making a few sustainable swaps in our lives. It’s up to us to care about the planet and want it to be here for the next generation, so act now before it’s too late.

Final Thoughts

To summarize all of this, a zero-waste lifestyle is totally achievable as long as you stick to it and complete each task one at a time. The whole point of Zero Waste is to reduce landfills and make changes to your life that benefit future generations, so do what’s best for them and not yourself.

When you’ve completed all of the tasks in this guide, you’ll be living a greener way of life and reducing your waste drastically. Environmentally speaking, we can all help by making sustainable swaps like using reusable coffee cups or carrying a reusable water bottle with us wherever we go.

Being more environmentally friendly is something we should all try to do, no matter how small an effort it is. And you’ll be surprised at just how easy living a more sustainable lifestyle truly is! As simple as that. When we see people older than us doing it, we don’t think it’s possible so we give up.

This is because we’ve formed the habit of buying bottled water and throwing all our garbage in the bin without thinking twice. That’s not sustainable at all. But when we start thinking like that, it becomes normal.

I truly believe that every single one of us has what it takes. Yes, even you! Just think about how you’ll feel once you stop wasting food or start carrying around a reusable water bottle everywhere you go.

It’s time to stop thinking about what we’ll gain and more about what we stand to lose by not caring. Because once the planet is destroyed, there’s nothing left of it. We need to change that way of thinking right now – and you can do it too!

You can do anything you put your mind to, so start doing it now. Think positively and never give up!

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