Interested in trying a zero-waste lifestyle but not sure how to start? Living zero waste means doing whatever you can to avoid sending things to the landfill. It is an adjustment, but one way to make it a little easier is to start small and swap out things that won’t be a huge inconvenience. Here are some ideas.
You’re probably familiar with this concept of buying a standard-size product, then buying bulk sizes going forward to refill the original container. You avoid buying and throwing away the smaller size each time.
This is especially relevant for cleaning products since many come in plastic containers, and plastic pollution is a major environmental concern. Liquid hand soap and dish soap are commonly sold in bulk refill sizes. Or buy your own glass containers like pump or spray bottles to refill.
Some bars and supermarkets sell growlers (glass jugs) that you can refill with beer or kombucha from the tap. There’s even refillable dental floss!
Swap out disposables in favor of reusable items. Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying a disposable plastic one, or cloth tote bags instead of store-provided plastic bags. Bring your own glass mason jars to buy bulk dry goods like rice. Take a travel mug to buy coffee instead of using disposable cups (sometimes you’ll get a discount).
natural or recyclable materials
Try using products made of wood, canvas, bamboo, or glass. You can find cooking utensils, cutlery, and even toothbrushes made of bamboo instead of plastic. There are scrub brushes made with wood and natural fiber bristles. Copper or natural sea sponges can replace artificial ones.
Store leftovers in glass or stainless steel containers. You can swap plastic sandwich bags for washable, sealable silicone ones. Metal or paper drinking straws can replace plastic.
package- and plastic-free
Another way to reduce packaging waste is to buy package-free goods. Farmers markets and bulk-food stores are good places; just bring your own reusable bags and containers.
You can buy solid shampoo, conditioner, and deodorant bars that are stored in a metal tin or container made of compostable materials, an alternative to the typical plastic bottles.
These are a few ways to ease into zero waste. It may involve some up-front investment, but oftentimes you’ll save money in the long run — and make a big dent in your trash!