There are a lot of what’s and why’s to going zero waste, and a lot of those what’s and why’s have been covered in this blog. 📝Many more will continue to be! But what about the how? If we know all about the impacts of our waste, if we know what things impact the world the most, how do we take action?
In other words, we may need some tips for taking action, to continue our 📈momentum, or even to simply get started. So let’s go over some tips that have helped our team, and our community. And we hope they will help you too!
The quick list:
- Update and add to our scripts📄
- Observe our trash
- Pretend like recycling doesn’t exist (when buying stuff)
- Recognize there is no such thing as complete zero waste
- Take steps instead of completely giving something up (if that works better for you)
- And here are some ideas on things to give up, or replace
Update/add to your scripts
Scripts? What are we all actors now? Maybe not, but all of us do have scripts that we tend to 💬say daily or once in a while. Some of them require practice because we are unfamiliar with them (like going into an interview) and others we can do without even thinking, like ordering a cup of coffee.☕️
The time is now, for us to add to our scripts. When we order food at a restaurant, a drink at the bar, or our cup of coffee at a cafe, let’s get in the habit of sprinkling some sustainability in there.
Typically coffee shops will put our coffee into a to-go cup if we don’t say otherwise. So, we should add to our script “for-here” or “in a for-here cup please.” Likewise, if we don’t specify our type of milk or creamer, we will get 🥛dairy. If you are trying to consume less animal products, then try saying for example: an “oat milk latte” instead.
Like a cafe, restaurants and bars will usually serve a drink with a straw. In this case, we’ll have to add “no straw” or “without a straw please” at the end of what we’re ordering. Again, for dietary things, we’ll have to say things like “no cheese” or “no meat” if we are trying to eat more plants.
This can apply to:
- Saying no to grocery bags
- Asking to not print a receipt
- Asking for no napkins, lids, single use cutlery, etc.
This sounds like a more simple zero waste tip, but without us consciously rehearsing and taking mental notes of these things, we are liable to forget them.
Keep an eye on your trash
This one also seems like a rather simple one. But probably not one we are used to. Taking out the trash and throwing things away can be as unconscious of a task as flushing the toilet or brushing and flossing our 🦷teeth. All things have an impact on the planet, which we may not think about because we simply just do them.
Being 💭mindful and attentive about our trash could change the world. Our world. But more specifically, we want to be more mindful about what goes into our trash. How much of it is food? Paper? Plastic? And what is the source of these types of trash? Do these things have to be trash or can they be composted or even prevented all together?
We live busy and oftentimes stressful lives, so who wants to stress over some trash? We certainly don’t. 😟The goal is to become more aware of our actions like these, not to stress over them or beat ourselves up over them. If we are feeling guilty, the good thing is that we can change. But if we don’t have the energy to do so right now, maybe it’s best to focus on other changes. That’s okay. Great even!
Pretend like recycling doesn’t exist
We’ve talked about how one of the problems with recycling is its ability to create a false sense of good, which can lead us to buy more packaging and single use things thinking it will be recycled.
We’ve also talked about how little actually gets recycled, which even further falsifies the relief we feel from recycling all of our packing and single use products.
When we are purchasing packaged goods, are given the option to use single use things, or are even considering a product that may be recycled at the end of its life, we should pretend like recycling does not exist. We must pretend like everything we buy will not be recycled. Because chances are...it will not be. Reduce comes first for a reason, and we should always consider this when going about our days.
Recognize there is no such thing as complete zero waste
How dare we say that none of us will ever be perfect! At first, it sounds like a bad thing that we will never be fully zero waste, that we will never have no impact on the planet. But when we think about it, it’s actually quite relieving. Liberating even.😌
There is no such thing as zero waste. We will always create waste in some way, even if we lived in a cave.
But life has never been about the destination has it? It’s always been about the journey. And the journey that a zero waste destination (or direction) provides for us, is a pretty great one. 🌏Don’t beat yourself up about the waste that you generate. We don’t have to be perfect, let’s just strive for better than we were before.
Take steps if that works better for you
Becoming CEO overnight, winning the lottery, losing 100 pounds at the snap of a finger, quitting processed sugar and never giving in. All these things are admirable, but they usually don’t happen this way. Making changes and progress takes time.
Some of us may be able to quit something completely and keep it going forever. But a lot of us probably need to take things one step at a time. That’s okay to do, especially with zero waste. The planet prefers us to take small steps over the long term as opposed to massive leaps that we cannot maintain.
Maybe cut back on some packaged foods per week, or ease into not using straws, to go cups, or other 🚮single use things. Trying out a “bring-your-own-day” may allow you to see what things are like, without having to dive head first into it all at once.
And in case you don’t want to give things up, or don’t know what to give up, here are some options of things to give up entirely. Most if not all of these products have sustainable, zero waste, and reusable alternatives available.
Some things to give up completely, or switch to a reusable version:
- Water bottles
- Tissues (check out LastTissue of course!)
- To-go cups
- Straws (check out FinalStraw!)
- Grocery bags
- Cotton swabs (LastSwab of course!)
- Makeup (see blog post)
- Makeup rounds (LastRound)
- Packaged food
We hope that you enjoyed these deeper and more thought provoking tips than what you’re used to. There are a lot of pretty common zero waste tips out there that you’ve probably seen. But we don’t want to offer common. We want to offer you value and something new.
What other specifics do you want to know more about? We’d be happy to help! Until next time. 💚