Sometimes people ask us how to best get started with zero waste, specifically eliminating waste from their private lives. We don’t talk so much about all the stuff you can do at home since there are quite a few people covering this topic already. Moreover, both Evelina and I are perhaps even more passionate about large-scale change, e.g. what can be accomplished through entrepreneurship, policies and activism. (Of course, zero waste lifestyle ventures of all kinds, can also incorporate those three as well!).
But the other day, when we did a Love Zero Waste Live, we decided to make an exception and talk about the actions most people can do to incorporate zero waste in their lives. Below you find the list. We’ve updated it slightly since our conversation.
Before you do anything else, though, revisit REFUSE of the 12R of zero waste and listen to the episode turning off the tap. Simply refuse to purchase stuff you don’t need. Perhaps not as instantly gratifying as purchasing stuff. But nevertheless, an essential act in our consumption hungry, take make waste mayhem society.
Refusing to buy stuff is immensely important to break up old patterns on an individual as well as societal level. Not to mention the game-changer it is for businesses when consumers refuse to buy their products and they need to adjust their business models.
Anyyyway! So here it goes 1, 2, 3… here’s the list!
1️⃣ Eat up what’s on your plate! Make sure to eat the stuff in your fridge, rather than throwing it away. Bring a container to the restaurant, so you’re able to take a doggy bag. It also saves you money to make good use of all them delicious calories you’ve purchased.
2️⃣ Bring your own water bottle! No need to buy a new one, just use one you or a friend might already have.
3️⃣ Bring your own bag! Single-use plastic bags are super easy to replace with the plastic bags or a tote bag you most likely already have at home.
4️⃣ Bring your own reusable cup for take-away coffee or tea! Any cup will do, doesn’t need to be a fancy thermos. (Check with your local barista, what COVID-19 guidelines they need to abide by!)
5️⃣ Take care of your clothes! Wash them right, close zippers and unbutton buttons, avoid putting them in the dryer and learn to mend holes.
6️⃣ Swap to soap, shampoo and conditioner bars! If you want to start with some zero waste products: soap, shampoo and conditioner bars are easy to purchase and use.
7️⃣ Go for dry lentils and beans! Next time you’re buying lentils or beans, check if you can get the dry rather than the tinned ones. That saves a ton of water and eases the transportation footprint. Cook according to the instructions on the package.
8️⃣ Switch to a menstrual cup! It might take some practice to get used to, but it’s totally worth it. Also, it saves you money!
9️⃣ Buy second hand! If you need to make a purchase, go for second hand. There are plenty of apps and websites, where you can find anything from books to bikes, to clothes and laptops. Of course, there’s always also the option of swapping stuff with others.
🔟 Get an ear spoon! Yes, it’s a thing. Google it. If you really want to clean your ears… some people might say that you shouldn’t! Get an ear spoon to replace the cotton buds. (If you’re wondering how this ended up on the list, listen to this episode of Love Zero Waste.)
What else would fit on this get-started-with-a-zero-waste-lifestyle list? We're really curious about your ideas and experiences. Comment below!
x Malin & Evelina