The “zero waste” movement aims to reduce the creation of waste and to live more sustainably for the future of our planet.
Single-use items are a huge culprit of pollution. As the name describes, these items are used once and discarded. They make their way to the landfill or our oceans, and they wreak havoc on our planet. Sometimes these items are needed (like in hospitals) but often these items are not necessary.
Thankfully, there are ways we can combat this culture of waste. Reduce what we use, reuse what we can, repair what’s broken, and recycle or rot (compost) the rest.
A big part of producing less waste is to opt for reusable options when possible. We’ve put together a small list of items that will help you take your first steps towards zero waste.
Of course, if you have similar products at home, it is better to use what you have before purchasing something new.
- Reusable shopping bag: Stick one in your purse or keep a bunch in your car. Make sure it’s easy to grab when you need it – you’ll probably need it more than you realize.
- Water tumbler: Avoid all those plastic water bottles with this simple switch. Make sure to fill it up whenever you leave the house. It will help you drink more water and reduce plastic waste – it’s a win-win.
- Produce bags: While these might seem awkward to use at first, every grocery store accepts them at the checkout. Keep them in your reusable grocery bags so you never forget them.
- Coffee travel mug or tea infuser bottle: Get discounts at cafés for bringing your own mug or save money by making your coffee or tea at home. Either way, you’re helping reduce waste because most coffee cups are destined for the garbage (even when they pretend to be eco-friendly material).
- Bento lunch box: Pack a lunch or take some snacks with you. Ditch the saran wrap and the Ziploc baggies with this cute food organizer.
- Reusable sandwich bags or stasher bags: There’s a reusable version of pretty much everything. Skip the one-time-use baggies and opt for these snack bags instead.
- Metal straw: If you’re an avid straw user, make sure to bring your own. Get a kit with a carrying case and a specialized cleaning brush to make it even easier.
- Soap dispenser: Instead of purchasing one-time-use soaps, start purchasing hand soap in bulk. This also applies to dish soap!
- Bamboo toothbrush: Sadly, your toothbrush end up in a landfill. Change your plastic one for a bamboo toothbrush and it can end up in the compost, instead. Just make sure to remove the bristles first.
You don’t need to be perfect at being “zero waste” to make a difference. Every time you reuse an item, you’re stopping something from entering the stream of garbage. Start with one changed item and add reusable products when you feel comfortable. Every little bit helps!