The number one question I am asked when I tell people I live a so called ‘zero’ waste lifestyle is…
“That’s awesome…but how do I even start?”
Rethinking your lifestyle is no easy thing to do, but I strongly believe zero waste has taught me to rethink my life for the better. I’ve compiled my recommended first simple swaps of items to help you get started with your journey — hope you enjoy this short video with some facts and tips below!
One. Fountain pen
The US tosses 1.6 billion pens a year. While it’s easy to buy a large pack of lower quality pens that can be disposed of after a few weeks of use, it’s not much more difficult to invest $60 in a fountain pen and some ink which will last for much longer, and is also more fun to write with. Be sure to find a fountain pen with a converter as well, which allows you to refill your pen.
Two. Safety razor
2 billion razors are disposed of each year, the most of any bath product. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to switch to a safety razor though — a high quality razor and a stand (though definitely optional) is all you truly need, and the blades are replaceable, even more affordable, and recyclable.
Three. Compostable sponge
Cleaning tools and liquids have all sorts of strange ingredients, but finding more natural scrubbers isn’t all too difficult.
Four. Reusable bottle
Making bottles to meet America’s demand for bottled water uses more than 17 million barrels of oil annually — ditch the one time use plastic bottle and aim for an reusable, plastic free one. Having a water bottle on hand always reminds me to stay hydrated and drink enough water each day. Also note that an insulated bottle is great for hot beverages as well, if you like grabbing your coffee or tea to go.
Five. Reusable containers
Almost 50% of the $1.2 trillion that Americans spent for food went to food that was taken out from restaurants or delivered to their homes. With that in mind, I love to bring a lightweight container in my bag when I am eating out, so I can take home leftovers or things on the go. Otherwise, these stainless steel tiffins are also great for storing leftovers, whether in fridge or freezer.
6 million tons of plastic forks, spoons, and cutlery are tossed every year. It’s not too difficult to bring a fork and spoon with you from home, maybe wrapped in a reusable napkin to transport a bit more easily.
Seven. Cotton food bags
Americans typically throw away 100 billion plastic grocery bags a year. Ditch the disposable, and swap out to reusable cotton bags for your produce or bulk goods. Toss them in to the wash to clean them out after use.
Roughly one third of the food produced in the world for human consumption every year — approximately 1.3 billion tonnes — gets lost or wasted. A good chunk of our waste also comes from food packaging — I like to opt for glass jars or containers to buy from the bulk section, and the containers are great for preventing food spoilage.
Nine. Natural soap
There’s a whole range of soap makers from small businesses you can find on etsy, or bars you can find at stores such as Whole Foods and Sprout’s Farmers Market, which also come unpackaged. And of course, natural soaps are plastic-free, without all the harmful ingredients.
Ten. Bamboo toothbrush
1 billion toothbrushes are thrown out each year, which are often made from plastic. Bamboo toothbrushes are a fun way to go zero waste, and a simple way to rid your daily routine from some plastic. The one shown in the video is from MABLE, a local business in San Francisco, but I’ve also tried out brushes from ModestPlanet, which is another great option! Stay tuned for a giveaway with MABLE though, as that will be coming soon.
So with that, are you ready to make the switch? I hope these tips and facts were helpful, and also not too intimidating. One by one, and you’ll be on your way to reducing plenty of waste in no time.