Switching to Zero Waste

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Everywhere you look there are people who advocate for a zero waste lifestyle. Each person has their own personal reasons for making the switch to using less. Filling our life with less plastic can seem so daunting. I look around and so many things are made with that stuff! It is overwhelming. 

If you want to take some baby steps toward living with less then keep reading!

Like most habits or lifestyles, nothing is going to “stick” if you do not have a strong conviction behind what you are doing. Put simply, it is important to find your why. 

  • Do you see trash in one of your favorite rivers?
  • Are you tired of seeing animals ingest lethal plastic?
  • Is the process of obtaining materials and the process of making plastic appuling to you?
  • Do you want to save species from extinction?

The list is literally endless and personal to you! It is so important to find your “why,” otherwise you will find switching and sticking so hard. 

My why has to do with my belief in biocentrism. Humans are not the center of the world and I don’t think we should act that way. I believe we should do our part to care for the other species living with us on this rock. I also believe as a Christian that we are asked by God to take care of the creation we are loaned. 

Another super important thing to do is look at the things you use. Keep a record of the trash you create a day. You might be surprised at how much waste passes through your hands. By knowing what kinds of things you use most you can pinpoint the places you can try to find waste-free alternatives. 

You might find it hard to do all the things at once and make meaningful switches for all your plastic products. By assessing your trash you can prioritize a little bit. Maybe you notice you throw out lots of plastic bags from the grocery store. Your next step can be to get a canvas bag to bring to the store with you. You can put your focus on that one thing until it is a habit before moving to all those coffee cups you drink each day.

If you are anything like me then you want to make every switch imaginable right away! When I first began thinking of transitioning to zero waste I went straight to the internet to look up every zero waste product I could think of. The thing is, I didn’t need all those things right away. 

It is ok to use all your non-reusable products before you go buy a sustainable one. Buying products and throwing them out unused is just as wasteful as throwing them out used. When you have used that last plastic snack bag and hopefully found somewhere to recycle it, then go find yourself an alternative!

The beauty about zero waste is that you probably already have most of the things you need to live a zero waste life! Clean out and use jars you have on hand. Bring a reusable water bottle with you wherever you go. Even tupperware is a great option to reduce waste in your life. Waste is something that ends up in a landfill at the end of its life. So you can use what you have, recycle what you can, find somewhere to compost your scraps, and give things you don’t want anymore to family and friends. 
The thing about transitioning to zero waste is just that, a transition! It will take time to filter through your life and make the switches you can. One thing I have learned is that it does not help to compare yourself to others who have been doing this for a long time. You will always get discouraged looking at your pile of plastic compared to others who can fit all their trash for the last four years in a single mason jar. (For real, this is a thing! Check out Lauren Singer’s zero waste journey in this video.) By all means, be inspired by others but don’t be discouraged. You can do it! Let’s do it together!

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