Have you ever heard of zero waste?
Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t. But have you’ve never looked into it? No problem: that’s what we’re here for!
Zero waste is a way of living more consciously, with the aim of helping the environment. It is a way of living that requires us to rethink and profoundly transform the way we act as citizens and consumers. It imposes choices that may initially seem drastic but which can lead to a personal well-being and satisfaction that makes the efforts worthwhile!
Living according to the zero waste approach means going beyond the production and recycling of waste (which – unfortunately – cannot always be done). In fact, living a zero waste life means trying to live without producing waste, addressing the root of the problem.
In this article, we will try to provide some tips on how to start living a zero waste life so that you and your children (and, of course, the whole planet) can benefit from it right away.
Zero waste: a guide to getting started
Here is a short guide with some tips and behaviours to help you understand and start living a zero-waste life (and your family).
However, before you start, remember that not producing waste at all is extremely challenging. Because of this, starting right away can be very frustrating. So, start by following two or three of the tips below, then work your way up, one step at a time.
Disposable? No thanks!
Focus on eliminating disposable items from your life. Avoid purchasing and using all those tools that turn into waste after a single use!
To tackle this step with greater awareness, try keeping track of the waste your family produces in a week. As you will notice, there are plenty of disposable items that you can dispose of to make way for more environmentally friendly solutions.
- Plastic silverware: it can be replaced with classic metal sets
- Paper napkins: our planet will prefer cloth napkins
- Plastic water bottles (um… a metal water bottle is much better).
If you don’t need it, don’t want it!
Take a census of all, all, all your items. And, then, start eliminating what you don’t really need. Strive to identify what is really essential, what you really need.
You probably already have it!
OK, so what do you really need in order to start a zero waste life?
Most likely, you don’t need to buy new items to adhere to a zero waste lifestyle! Look around: you probably already have everything you need at home.
To help you change your perspective, here are some ideas:
- Empty glass jars are great for storing loose dry foods, homemade biscuits, and leftover food. You can also use them for composting while travelling or as an improvised water bottle during an emergency.
- An old T-shirt can be cut up to make tissues or rags for cleaning the house.
If you are missing something, buy it second-hand!
It could happen that you are missing something to become a “zero waste” person. The world of second-hand items is full of things that others no longer need, but that you might find useful!
The basic idea behind this is that if an item already exists, there is no need to waste energy and resources creating another one. Additionally, by choosing a used product you will avoid making it go to waste. And let’s not forget about the economic benefits of buying second hand items — it doing so could save you a lot of money!
If you can’t buy it, you can always make it!
A fun and creative way to get what you need is by making it at home, and it can also be a fun DIY activity to do with kids!
With a bit of experience and a bit of poking around online, you will discover that you can make your own toiletries, make-up, food, everyday items, furniture and toys for your children.
This is the idea that behind Adventerra Games has always had in mind, especially when creating itsto create our own environmental games and rules that allow for each game to be used in many ways. Learning through fun!
No more plastic (yes, you may have heard this before)
In recent years there has been a lot of emphasis on this concept, but it’s always good to say it again: reducing objects, packaging, plastic bags, and plastic containers enormously helps the environment a lot.
Because not all plastic can be easily recycled, and because very often plastic waste does not even reach the composting centres, much of it ends up directly in groundwater, sea, and fish… and then it goes into our bodies!
Limiting plastic use is a way to help the planet and make our future healthier!
To buy (if you don’t already have them)
Have you checked around the house and discovered that you might need to buy some items to help you kick.start your path to a zero waste lifestyle?
In that case, here are a few items that might be just right for you. But remember: only buy them if they are absolutely necessary!
Reusable water bottles
A water bottle (or anything that can function as a reusable water bottle) is perhaps the first item chosen to adopt fromneeded by anyone who decides to embark on a “zero waste” life.
The Guardian reported that in 2017, over one million plastic bottles per minute were purchased worldwide. If we don’t do something to change this, that high number could increase by a further 20% by 2021!
BYOJ (glass jars)
BYOJ is an acronym for “Bring Your Own Jar”. The advice here is to always carry a jar with you, in which you can store food, drinks, candy, or other things.…
The glass jar allows you to get rid of plastic containers and bags. The cool part is that it is very unlikely that you’ll actually have to buy one, because you probably already have one at home! Otherwise, just buy some jam or mayonnaise mustard and, when you’ve finished it, you’ll have your own jar ready to be reused!
Fabric bags and duffels
Cloth bags are essential for storing, transporting and buying food in bulk. Did you know that you can make your own by sewing old shirts or sheets?
Remember, always make your bags in proportion to the size of your pantry! This way, when used for shopping, you will always have control over the amount quantity of products you buy!
Using cloth bags helps to remove plastic and paper bags from commerce.
Handkerchiefs, but only cloth ones!
In the old days, paper tissues and handkerchiefs didn’t exist! And nor did tissues! Every man and woman always carried a handkerchief with them.
Let’s follow their example and start doing the same again.
They are very easy to make and always come in handy in case of a cold!
Why choose the ‘zero waste’ path?
The reason for choosing a zero waste lifestyle should be pretty clear by now. We do it for us, for our children, and for the sake of the planet that we want to bequeath to future generations.
Megean Weldon, author of “Zero Waste Nerd” explains that a “zero waste” life is about much more than trying to reduce our own trash:
“It’s about changing our perspective. It’s about changing the way we think about consumption and the way we value the things we bring into our lives.”
How about you? Do you feel ready to take that first step?