How To Start A Zero-Waste Lifestyle
Reduce the waste in your home and help Mother Earth in your own little way
If you pass the time scrolling through your social media, you've probably come across viral videos and posts about the devastating effects of single-use plastics on the environment. With many switching to a zero-waste lifestyle, maybe you've considered trying it out too. However, after doing some research, you might see the task as too daunting.
The truth is, it is daunting. Groceries and suppliers don’t give us much of a choice in packaging. Fruits and vegetables are pre-packed, meats are placed in plastic bags, condiments and other ingredients are in plastic bottles or sachets, and non-food items are all encased in plastic. How do we make the switch when all our necessities are only available in single-use plastic containers? Don’t stress. There are easy ways you can begin your journey towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Here’s how:
1. Bring your own containers and eco bags when shopping.
The biggest plastic source in any household is from our supermarket hauls. If you do your own shopping, you’ll easily notice the substantial amount of plastic you’re bringing into your home. The biggest change you can do is ditch the plastic altogether and bring your own containers. Not only can you bring your own grocery bag but you can also get mesh bags for your vegetables and fruits, a bin for your rice, jars for your other grains and dried goods (beans, monggo, etc.), and reusable containers for your meats. You can also opt for reusable silicone freezer bags for easy storage. Sure, there are a ton of other groceries you won’t be able to buy package-free but at least you started somewhere. And if your supermarket doesn’t offer fresh produce out of the package, you can always try our next tip.
2. Visit the wet market.
Wet markets, although not as convenient as a grocery store, are our local version of the farmer's market in other countries. This means, everything you see is fresh, straight from the source so it didn't go through a production line for packaging. What’s great about shopping at wet markets is that you really get to pick and choose your produce. Not only that, depending on the market you’re visiting, you can get a lot of food items out of the package other than meats, fruits, and vegetables. You can get eggs out of the plastic trays, salt and pepper out of the sachet or plastic bags, flour, sugar, frozen food, dried fish, and plenty more.
3. Do the swap.
There are a lot of other items in our homes that we can swap out to reduce more plastic. One great example is our coffee pods. If you have a coffee machine, you can ditch the single-use pods and get reusable pods that you can fill with coffee grounds of your choosing. You can also swap out your bottles of shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. There are many brands (both international and local) that offer shampoo, conditioner, and soap bars out of the container. There are even local brands that offer jars of toothpaste that you can refill.
4. You can always D-I-Y.
With a little research, you’re sure to find a ton of recipes for homemade detergent, soap, shampoo, and toothpaste, to name a few. If you really want to live sustainably, making your own home cleaning and hygiene products is a good place to start. Not only do you reduce your plastic usage in the long run, but you can also select ingredients that will make these products sustainable as well. All-natural detergents and soaps also help ensure nasty chemicals don’t drain out into the ocean.
5. Recycle, recycle, recycle.
With only a few clicks on your computer, you can find sources to recycling hubs all over the country. Just gather different types of plastics and donate them there. Either that or you can find retailers that are also doing their part in reducing waste and recycle through them. Completely wiping out plastics in our homes will be an almost impossible feat, but at least we can be responsible for where our trash goes. You can turn your small amounts of plastics into eco bricks, reuse plastic bottles in your home, or use tin cans as planters. There are plenty ways you can reuse and recycle—simply take the time to research.
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