The zero waste lifestyle is growing in popularity. Though it might seem new and innovative in some ways, it’s actually rather old-school. Plastics weren’t always as common as they are today.
Currently, the average person in Europe sends around 160 kilos of packaging to the landfill every year. That includes all packaging material, but plastic is the worst culprit of all.
Plastics are so ingrained into our current society that it can seem impossible to cut them out of your life completely. But making a change for the better doesn’t have to be difficult!
Taking things slowly and changing your habits over time will help you ease into a zero waste lifestyle without failure.
The term ‘zero waste’ might sound quite daunting. Especially the word zero may put you off. In our current society, producing zero waste is nearly impossible. So why not start by taking that pressure off?
You don’t have to aim for a waste free lifestyle. Rather focus on making little adjustments as you go, and slowly ease into it.
At the start of your journey towards a less wasteful lifestyle, take small and simple steps. Start off by bringing your own bags to the grocery store, and filling up a reusable water bottle before heading to work. There are so many simple ideas to get started!
There’s no need to rush. Every small decision you make for the better will feel like a small victory, and you won’t feel bad about the things that you didn’t manage yet.
Celebrate your victories
Now we’re talking about victories, make sure to celebrate each achievement, how small it may be. Every change for the better is worth a celebration!
Don’t get hung up on the things you didn’t do, or feel bad about the amount of plastic you put in your grocery basket. Focus on the things you did achieve!
Every day or every week, write down your successes. Create a little diary of the plastic you didn’t buy, of the things you did to make a change. It will feel great to see that list grow every time you look back at it!
Teamwork makes the dream work
Find a partner in crime! Not only is it much more fun to start a journey together, it also helps keep you and your friend motivated as you go.
You can compare notes, discuss the things you did and didn’t do, and together you’ll discover new ways to reduce your waste. Your buddy might think of a way to replace plastic cling film, and you might come up with a different solution they didn’t think of yet.
If you’re of a competitive nature, turn it into a little game. Do whatever makes your clock tick, it’ll work great with company! You can invite your neighbor, your husband, your grandmother or your sister. It really doesn’t matter who joins you – everyone can make a difference.
Allow some room for mistakes to happen
Whatever you do, don’t punish yourself for any mistakes that might occur along the way. They are bound to happen!
You might forget to tell your waiter that you don’t need a straw in your glass of coke. Don’t feel bad when the drink arrives, you’ll learn from the experience and remember to ask the employee to skip the single use plastics next time.
Everyone forgets to bring their reusables now and then. The fact that you’re aware, is a huge improvement in its own! It means that you’re focused on making responsible and considerate decisions, and that’s the goal exactly.
Don’t exclude your favorite snack
There’s no need limit yourself completely. If you crave something that comes in plastic, or other forms of non-recyclable packaging, just enjoy it.
You can try a zero waste recipe and make your favorite snack at home. If you’re up for it, you should definitely spend an hour experimenting in the kitchen and learn a new recipe.
Sometimes though, we all need a simple solution to satisfy our cravings! If one bag of chips in the weekend makes you happy, go for it! Keep buying vegan dairy substitutes if it allows you to live a healthier life. Don’t exclude a dark chocolate bar if that keeps you going during the exams.
You might reach a point in the future when you no longer want that bag of chips. You’ll come to dislike the excessive waste that our society produces too much. But, do not force into it when starting out. Remember that it’s not about growing your dislike. Instead, appreciate the the package free items you do find and indulge from time to time!
If you ever feel a lack of motivation to keep going, read some stories of other people that follow a zero waste lifestyle. Or talk to other people that you might know who have already started reducing their waste.
Remember to stay positive. A zero waste lifestyle is not something you’ll achieve overnight. It is a process that over time turns into a natural way of living. Before you know it, you won’t just be making changes yourself, but your change in living will inspire other people to reduce their waste as well!