As both Aquarian and empath, I have a natural inclination to want to save the world. I’ve been spending a lot of my life figuring out ways to help people, and that was always the way I exercised this drive. But lately, I’ve been learning more and more about the zero waste movement and I have to be honest: I’m am completely enthralled.
Here’s what pushed me over the edge: my partner and I have been working on converting a work trailer into tiny living quarters. Our first order of business was to completely rip out the inside shelving and walls, and we had to get rid of it at the city dump.
I had never been to the dump before, so you can imagine that I could only find it visually appalling. The smell was nothing to rave about either. I don’t know what your city does with it’s garbage, but here in Calgary it goes to the landfill, where it is stacked in a big old pile, and buried.
Seeing it in real life had me astounded at how much of our lives is just disposable… literally. And more than anything, it got me thinking – what can I do to reduce my waste, and my impact on the environment?
For me, going zero waste is all about doing everything I can to reduce my footprint. Zero is always a goal, but lets face it – I’m a beginner. If you want tips from an expert, you might have to find those somewhere else.
Because today, I’m sharing my newbie tips on how to go zero waste. These small changes have helped me a lot over the last couple of weeks, and I hope that they will inspire you to make small, earth-friendly changes too!
1. Invest in a Reusable Water Bottle – This might be by far the most obvious tip, but it is also the most underutilized in my opinion. This is something easy everyone can do because reusable water bottles are easy to find and relatively inexpensive. Skip the plastic – look for durable, long lasting stainless steel or glass bottles. There are some very expensive brands out there, but you absolutely don’t have to break the bank on this one! I got my stainless steel water bottle on sale at a sporting goods store for $20. The best part: it keeps my water cold all day!
2. Check Your Compost – When my city first began their municipal composting program, it was a huge success. Within the first year Calgarian’s diverted 53 million kilograms of organic material from the landfill, and it has since been turned into compost.
But food scraps aren’t the only items that can make it into the compost bin! Some items like specific types of coffee cups, coffee filters, and used paper towels can also be composted. Check the rules in your municipality regarding compost – or if you don’t have a program run by your city try composting on your own!
3. Remember your Reusable Bags – We all have them, but none of us use them. I know! I’m guilty too. I’ve found that the trick to making the most out of reusable bags is to keep them easily accessible – stash them in your car, in your purse, in your gym bag – put them wherever it’s convenient to access them when you get to the store. Aside from that, just practice. I still slip up on this one, but every time I go to pick up a few things and I remember my bag, it feels really good.
4. Shop Consignment – Having worked in a consignment store for several years, this tip is near and dear to my heart! What better way to express your love for the earth than treating yourself to a new outfit? Not only are you giving a home to clothes that might otherwise be thrown away, but you also save tons of cash. You can reduce, reuse, recycle, and look good while doing it.
5. Get a To-Go Coffee Mug – It’s nice to have a reusable water bottle, but if you’re a coffee lover like me this tip will be absolutely more useful for you. Not only are reusable coffee mugs great for keeping your coffee warmer for longer, but some of them are also totally stylish. Some coffee shops even discount your price (slightly – but every penny counts right?) to use a reusable mug!
As a newbie waste reducer, these 5 tips are what I have found to be the easiest way to reduce my waste. I’m not perfect – I still practice every day, and I still make mistakes!
I know I have a great journey of learning ahead of me. As I learn more tips and tricks along the way, I promise to share them with you (part two: ameteur to expert?).
What do you think about reducing your waste? Are these tips practical for you? Which do you think would be the most difficult and why? Feel free to share in the comments below!