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Let’s start with the basic facts, going zero waste is not easy. Especially if you live in any kind of urban or suburban environment where single-use plastic items are next to impossible not to consume.

Think about it, every trip to the supermarket results in you bringing home plastic bags, plastic containers, and plastic packaging, some of which is non-recyclable, making it extremely difficult to cut single-use plastics out of your life.

Then you look at detergents, cleaning supplies and the like, and another problem presents itself. Many of the products will claim to be “eco-friendly,” but much of their friendliness is nothing more than greenwashing. Many products in this category will contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, that can kill insects, plankton, and harm marine life.

How to go zero waste?

Let’s start with the basic facts, going zero waste is not easy. Especially if you live in any kind of urban or suburban environment where single-use plastic items are next to impossible not to consume.

Think about it, every trip to the supermarket results in you bringing home plastic bags, plastic containers, and plastic packaging, some of which is non-recyclable, making it extremely difficult to cut single-use plastics out of your life.

Then you look at detergents, cleaning supplies and the like, and another problem presents itself. Many of the products will claim to be “eco-friendly,” but much of their friendliness is nothing more than greenwashing. Many products in this category will contain chemicals that are harmful to the environment, that can kill insects, plankton, and harm marine life.

To go zero waste we have to make considerable life changes, from the way we shop, to the way we wash our home, clean our clothes, and really just go about our daily lives, and to go from living a modern life, to living zero waste is a considerable change. As with anything, progression is the way to go. Make incremental changes over time, apply them to your day to day, and when they become routine, make another gradual change. This way we can ease into a more sustainable existence, versus, a shock approach that may be overwhelming for us to maintain.

How to decrease your use of plastic?

Singe use plastics are a horrible blight on today’s ecosystem, they pile up, wind up in the oceans, get broken down into microscopic particles that are then consumed by fish, and eventually wind up in our food chain. No good. Eliminating as many single-use plastics as possible from our lives is pretty easy, and is a significant first step in going zero waste. Some of the things to consider are.

Don’t use plastic bags. If your supermarket, pharmacy or anyone else gives you a plastic bag, refuse it. Instead, carry a lightweight bag with you that’s easily foldable that can fit into a purse or a pocket.

Don’t put your fruit and veggies into cellophane bags. The plastic bags you get at the supermarket are nothing short of terrible. If you have a cart, just place your fruits and veggies directly in the cart without bagging them. If you’re dead set on a bag, there are numerous reusable varieties you can get

Don’t use plastic straws. Plastic straws are horrible for the environment, and do you really need to suck your beverage through a straw?

Focus on one, then make it a routine in your day today. If you manage to stop using cellophane bags for all your fruits and veggies, great, next move to plastic supermarket bags, and so on.

Do this, and you’ve taken the first step to go zero waste. Pat yourself on the back.

Moving to less and less waste.

Once you get into the groove of not using plastic bags, you’ll soon start seeing plastic everywhere, it is in packaging, utensils, water bottles – basically wherever you look.

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Getting to a place where you’re not buying plastic packaging is considerably more stringent. Many things just only come in plastic, and as consumers, there’s little choice here, and we’re in a position of do not buy, versus make your own or grow your own. Both of these options are on the advanced side of things, and while it may be fun to make your own shampoo at home, it will be hard to do it, with every product.

Recycle What You Can and Start Composting

As next steps though, look at your house and see where you’re producing waste. At home start dividing your garbage up into recyclables, food waste, and trash, see if your town has a composting program, and if not, start one yourself, or start composting – compost is excellent, because you’re creating super nutrient-rich topsoil, that can be put in your garden or given to neighbors and friends.

Different jurisdictions have different rules about recycling, in NYC, for example, you can recycle plastic and paper together, whereas outside of the city you need to separate it and put it in a bin to be collected on a specific day. Look at your town or municipality’s sanitation website for info.

An excellent way to start composting is to get a small pale that lives underneath your sink, line it with a biodegradable bag, and put all your compostable materials in there. Once it’s full, move it to a second pale, that you keep outside. If your municipality picks up wood waste, awesome, if they don’t, get and you have space, get a composter, and start making black gold.

If you manage to integrate these habits into your day today, you’ll be well on your way to starting a zero-waste, or at least a limited waste lifestyle.

And because our environment is out most previous resource, share this article, and for tips on how to go and stay green subscribe to our newsletter.

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