We are all aware (hopefully) of current environmental issues. In a few words: plastic pollution, the Great Pacific garbage patch, excess meat consumption, fashion industry pollution, consumerism, waste overflow. If you’re not familiar with any of them, it would not be a bad idea to research a bit and check them out. :)
You’re doing well if you’re buying less plastic, separating garbage into their different categories, and giving preference to bio-food-products. The next step towards an environmentally friendly future is – A Zero Waste lifestyle. Today, I want to share my personal experience with Zero Waste lifestyle and offer some tips on incorporating it into your routine.
First of all, what is the Zero Waste lifestyle? Why do we need to adopt it? The simple answer to this is - we aim to send nothing to a landfill. We reduce what we need, reuse as much as we can, send little to be recycled, and compost what we cannot. We need to redefine the current system in order to save the environment, to save ourselves really.
Here are a few small steps to start with:
○ Choose reusable products
It is hard to always give preference to reusable products when you have a busy lifestyle working, studying, or even combining both. Many times, I tend to also grab a cup of coffee to-go and a sandwich wrapped into several layers of plastic. Or those days, when we forget my water bottle at home and buy a plastic one, and then another one, and another one. These purchases are completely useless. Furthermore, by adding more reusable products to your lifestyle, you will become healthier and more aesthetically pleasing.
So, next time when you leave your house to kick off a busy day, put a lunch-box, a water bottle, and a ceramic coffee cup into your bag. And, this goes without saying, always bring a cotton or a string bag with you for the unexpected purchases. :)
Here some of the beautiful reusable and eco-friendly water bottles:
And, some awesome lunch boxes:
○ Work on your thoughts
Sometimes, impatience and the race after trends lead us to unnecessary purchases. We buy a t-shirt, thinking, ah, it’s just 5 euros, if I don’t wear it, it’s not a big loss. However, for our environment, every thrown away garment or a can of soda brings damage. And, let’s not even go into who a fashion company is paying to make a 5 euros t-shirt. Exploitation right. I’m in the process of rethinking my attitude towards purchases, both fashion or grocery purchases. I try to give preference to more sustainable brands, or bio-products. Indeed, they are more expensive, but the clothing will last for years, will look better, and will build a beautiful base for your wardrobe, without damaging the environment and thousands of the industry workers.
○ Sharing is caring
Many of us tend to buy things we are going to use only once, thinking that we might need it again in the future. Think drills, weird pancake makers, a big bag of spinach - while we only need it for one dish. And there are dozens of similar examples for each one of them. A good solution is to ask your friends/colleagues/neighbors whether you can borrow something that they have. It can be a book, a pack of watercolors, or even a pinch of baking powder. In this way, we will not only save our money and time, but also the environment, by not buying useless stuff, which is very likely to be thrown away.
Slightly coming back to this aspect, as it is one of the most important ones in my view. Next time you go grocery shopping, pay attention to the packaging of each product you’re purchasing. In most cases, you will notice that some layers of plastics are completely unnecessary, while others could be easily reduced by 20-30%. There are a few effective tips for each supermarket journey: don’t wrap veggies and fruits into plastic or different plastic bags; give preference to bio-products, as their packaging might also be environmentally friendly; buy portions you are able to finish; think carefully about your shopping list, in order to not make thoughtless purchases; don’t go shopping when hungry; and of course, always bring your own bag.
I love string bags, and maybe you will love these ones too:
I know, I know. I also love the freshly printed books and crispy magazines with high-quality images. However, a proper investment into high-quality devices is the investment into our future. Nowadays, devices can substitute multiple things: books, magazines, kitchenware, cigarettes, tickets, house cleaning equipment, and many others. And, the technology is advancing almost daily, so it’s not a bad idea to become an early adopter.
○ Existent waste management
At the point in time, where you will be willing to incorporate the zero waste philosophy into your life, you will probably have plenty of waste behind your back. So, here is what you can do with it. Dry foods and cereals you can bring to related charity organizations. Old clothing can be either recycled, sent to charities or exchanged at a swap-party with your friends (trust me, it works!). Electronic devices and furniture can be sold, or one of your friends always loved your couch? Magazines, books, and newspapers can also be recycled, or sent to charity bookstores or libraries. Basically, you have options to recycle, give away, or sell. Easy as that.:)
Initially, incorporating this philosophy into your life will seem hard. However, by adding small habits, one-by-one, you have high chances of becoming more conscious and environmentally friendly. At the end of the day, our environment is one of the most important things for our survival.