Here’s to a New Year and a New Era of Sustainability.
I am far from being perfect, but every day I learn something new about how I can be more conscious when it comes to the environment. This year I have some goals to help reduce my impact and inspire all of you to do the same.
Attaining a zero waste lifestyle seems nearly impossible given the ways people live their lives today. I aim to get as close to that goal as I possibly can, which is why my goal for 2020 is to attain a minimal waste lifestyle.
What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste is aiming to purchase products that eliminate waste going wherever that waste might go into the world. Product lifecycle today is short and way too short and harmful for us and the planet. This movement encourages the redesign and reuse of products to prevent them from heading straight to landfills, oceans, and incinerators.
Zero waster’s are redefining the system. Most businesses live off of a linear model. Products are made by producers. Then they come to us, the consumers, and after we use them, they are sent to be burnt/ put in some hole in the ground never to be seen again. This process enables us to imitate the natural circle of life. In a zero waste lifestyle we can reduce what we need, reuse what we have, recycle the little left, and compost what we can’t.
My Eco-Tips To Attaining A Less Wasteful Lifestyle
Wasting less is a choice. There are tons of simple choices we can make in our lives that help us in wasting less products. Plastic consumption needs to go. But for now, it’s here to stay and being used at an alarming rate in all areas of our lives. It can seem hard to avoid plastic because it is in everything from beauty products, to food, to bike helmets.
Next trip to the grocery store, take notice to the different variety of goods wrapped in plastic. Most fruits and vegetables are not wrapped in plastic so choose to go fresh and unpackaged. If you want to make Guacamole instead of buying a dip with tons of who-knows-what wrapped in plastic, then make your own! You can, most likely, buy all the necessary ingredients without the need for any packaging at all. Recipes of all kinds shapes and sizes are readily available on Pinterest, instagram, and all over social media. Something I am going to start sharing with all of you this coming year are all my earth friendly recipes! If you go into the aisle where all the nut butters are, there are probably 5-10 different options for peanut butter alone. That aisle is a great way to judge all of the possible packaged ways to get your PB while also realizing the plastic packaging problem.
Pay attention to packaging in general. Be mindful of what kinds of materials your products are wrapped in. I’m learning to make my own oils, but for now I buy products that are safe for my body and the earth. These are all plastic-free products that I figured I would share. After I use up all of these, I will keep the containers and re-use them rather than throwing them away.
Eat less take-out and cook at home! In addition to packaging when buying your groceries, there is packaging from food you get to-go. Styrofoam and plastic are the evil culprits involved in take-out food. They are used and wasted very quickly, and cause harmful chemicals and pollutants to be released into the environment. I know, its the 21st century… Everyone’s got something to do, and somewhere to be. Meal prepping is a great way to save some time during the busy weeks, while also avoiding take out food! Most of the time, when I choose take out food, it’s because I’m tired and starving and meal prepping has saved me from that quick, sushi booty call. However, if you ARE getting take out, try to wash and re-use your containers giving them a longer life.
One of the best things you can do is prepare. Making the choice to waste less helps when you have the right tools. Now when I go anywhere, I bring along this set of bamboo silverware that I can use in case I am going to eat take-out somewhere. If you are interested in buying some, they aren’t expensive and aren’t a hassle to carry around. I got mine from a local shop in my home town, but just like everything else it’s on amazon!
Get some Ball Jars. Honestly, Ball Jars are a life saver. They are so versatile and provide an insta-worthy aesthetic for anything you might need. They aren’t expensive either! They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, but my favorite is the simple, wide-mouth 16 oz glass jar. I pack them on so many occasions. I use ball jars to keep my spices, nuts, and seeds stored from the grocery store. I use them when I get smoothies or coffee from any location, whether that be from a place as big as Jamba Juice and Starbucks, or as small as local juice bars and cafés. They aren’t harmful for the environment because they are made out of glass. Plus, they save you money! There are all sorts of Bring-Your-Own-Cup discounts in stores to incentivize consumers to be more conscious about the products they are using.
Buy a refillable water bottle. Ball Jars are great, yes, but if you aren’t into that, then at least save yourself some money and stop buying plastic water bottles! The Guardian reported that one million plastic bottles are bought worldwide every. single. minute. If consumers don’t decrease their use, then that number will increase by 20% by 2021. Lucky for us, HydroFlasks are in and Brita just made their own filtering water bottle. Choose to invest in a water bottle, and remember to bring it with you. Remembering to bring it with you can be the hardest part sometimes, but it saves you from purchasing plastic water bottles.
Opt for a bamboo toothbrush. This switch is easy, you barely even notice the difference. I have been using them for about two years and not once have I ever gotten a splinter, they are completely safe! Conventional toothbrushes are made of harmful plastics, and last forever. Lucky for us, bamboo toothbrushes are available everywhere in big time pharmacies like CVS and Walgreens, or places online like Amazon. This alternative is cheaper, if not the same price as plastic competitors. People don’t like to change because it inconveniences them, but this switch is as simple as picking up any other toothbrush, except it benefits the earth you live on.
Simply say no to the little things. Little things add up, you might feel like you just used one plastic bag, but so did another 14 million or more people that day. Say no to plastic bags at stores and bring your own. Say no to free plastic pens at conventions and events. Say no to a cup of coffee if you didn’t bring your own cup. No matter how small, it’s crucial to always ask whether or not you really NEED something.
We need to accept the fact that we will produce some waste, and that we are not perfect. This lifestyle is a challenge and a really good challenge. Doing one small thing goes a really long way. When it comes to 2020, we all need to make better choices for our planet. Choose to dine in at the restaurant rather than take it to go. Choose not to get the vanilla latte if you didn’t bring a re-usable cup. Choose to carry your items out of the store with your hands if you didn’t bring a bag. Choose to pick the Kombucha from a glass bottle, rather than a plastic one. Choose to to make better choices. We all need to be more conscious of what we’re wasting. So I challenge you, for one week to keep a simple note in your phone of how many bottles, or bags you are throwing out. For just one week, keep track of wasted products and share your results with me! Doing this will help you catch a small glimpse of what happens everywhere and everyday on a massive scale.
Like, Share, Repost & Happy New Year!!