A Beginners Guide to The Zero Waste Movement

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Cutting down on straws and water bottles are just a few stepping stones that are working towards reducing waste and creating a more sustainable lifestyle you can feel good about. Though vital to working toward what zero waste stands for, straws and bottles are not the only efforts we can make as consumers to live more sustainably. Here are a few ways the zero-waste movement guides you to do more.

What does zero waste mean?

Zero Waste is not exactly a process you can wake up and confidently implement by the end of the day. The goal is to reuse products to the best of your ability and reduce waste by being conscious of what you are doing as a consumer. The name “zero” is a bit deceptive—the term was intended towards something that’s a systemic problem, so if something does happen to get trashed, don’t beat yourself up.  It’s a gradual process that takes time, and ultimately, can be incredibly satisfying knowing that the outcome benefits both the environment and your personal well-being (not to mention no longer having to drag hefty amounts of trash out semi-regularly).

The point isn’t perfection, rather, a long-term goal to better yourself to the best of your ability. It’s a huge goal to tackle, so breaking down the process into smaller goals will be much easier.

Top four easy changes

Plastic water bottles, bags, straws, and coffee cups are some of the top linear products that get one use only and are consumed all too often. These products can easily be replaced by other material and are a great place to begin your zero-waste journey. Use reusable grocery bags, travel mugs, paper or aluminum straws … the options are endless. If you can tackle these four simple switches, you can tackle getting rid of some of the trickier consumer products.

Take a step further

When you are ready to start ridding your home of old plastic products, the best place to begin is with food. Cutting boards, cups, plates, containers—our kitchens are riddled with plastic products that end up being reused and reheated, ultimately releasing harmful chemicals. Start by replacing these products with glass and ceramic for a much safer and sustainable switch for your body and the environment.

Questions to ask yourself

A big part of the movement is to make the shift towards being more conscious of what you are using and how you are using it. Some questions you can ask yourself before you buy or use plastic products (or any linear materials) are:

  • Will it be multi-purposeful?
  • Will it enrich your life?
  • Is it a necessity?

Keep in mind, the Zero Waste Movement is not about perfection, rather, a long-term goal to do better for yourself and the environment!