Six Steps to Start Zero-Waste
“Zero-Waste” was not as trendy five years ago as it is today, there where few Pinterest boards full of perfect kitchen counters with strategically laid hemp bags, no Zero-Waste shops, and certainly no easily found instruction manual. While the Zero-Waste movement has long been in the making, with its origins in the 70’s it seems as though the last few years it has become repackaged in a way where it is no longer “tree- hugging hippies”, but successful well-polished individuals. Yet with access to endless information readily available at our fingertips, via the internet, the common question remains the same: Where do I start?
Step 1: Ask YourSelf Why You Want To Go Zero-Waste
People chose this lifestyle with different goals in mind, figure out what draws you to live this way, here are just a few reasons:
- Concerned about our natural resources
- Concerned about human rights and don't want to support modern day slavery in large consumer industries
- Some strive to be mindful of what they buy
- Others want to reduce their carbon footprint.
- It forces some to live a more healthy lifestyle
- While others are trying to be frugal
Whatever your reasoning may be, it can be more motivating to stick with, and simpler to explain to others when you know WHY you are doing something. For example “I don't use plastic bags because when they end up in the ocean, sea turtles mistake them for jellyfish, eat them, and die.” or “I don't buy fast fashion because I don't want to support child labor, it pollutes our landfills, and it wastes our most important natural resource; water. (the fun fact it takes 50 gallons of water to make one t-shirt).
Step 2: Do your research
Learn as much as you can! I found that the more I learn about and understand plastic, environmental issues, and what others are doing, the more pumped and inspired I am to not use and support these things. Have conversations, even with people that have opposing viewpoints, you may find this shocking but it's okay to disagree and it is actually good to debate - it forces you to do research and build up your reason why you believe what you believe.
Step 3: Start with one thing at a time
As overwhelming as Zero-Waste can be, just start with one aspect of your life. For me, it was using a reusable water bottle every day. After that became a routine I moved on to using reusable cloth shopping bags, which transitioned into giving up plastic sandwich bags and so on and so forth. The point is, take it in baby steps it is a learning journey and you are less likely to burn out and give up if you just make one swap at a time.
Step 4: Know that you will have setbacks and that is okay
Sometimes things happen, you ask your waiter for no straw and they put one in your drink, you absolutely need something and you can't find an alternative or secondhand. Such is life, people aren't perfect, and the system makes it challenging to be completely “Zero-Waste”. Whatever you do, no matter how many mistakes you make, don't quit!
Step 5: Get yourself a ZippNada travel kit!
Don't know what to get to start? We got ya covered, this kit was made with you in mind! The travel kit has all the essentials you need to be zero-waste on the go in a simple, compact bag you can keep in your car, or easily take with you. We made it affordable, convenient, and customizable to fit your unique lifestyle.
Step 6: Spread the word
I spread this knowledge to anyone and everyone who will listen. I share things I find on social media, I give speeches, I write about it, it is my passion after all. One time while eating dinner at a restaurant I was asked how I think that by just me not using plastic straws makes a damn difference when millions of people use them every day, to which I responded “If you think of how many straws just one person uses in a lifetime, just removing those adds up over time, in addition, if I can inspire or spark a conversation with others and that sticks with just one other person there is another who can spread information. Eventually, it will make a big difference.
Lastly, the most important thing is to be patient with yourself and the rest will follow, join or start a community that will help guide you along and share your journey with others along the way! I leave you with this final thought by George Bernard Shaw, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.”Good luck my friends.