Living a zero-waste lifestyle is all about being conscious about the way our eating and spending habits affect our planet. Admittedly, the whole idea of living a 100 percent waste-free lifestyle may seem intimidating because our modern world has never made it a priority, or even something that can be viable or feasible. The world that we live in encourages—if not demands—that we consume simply for the sake of drinking, with little to no regard to how it affects our planet.
The good thing is that we can shed these wrongful notions about zero-waste living, and we can make that transition slowly but surely, especially now that we live in a climate emergency. Switching to a zero-waste lifestyle won’t happen overnight, but slow and steady wins the race.
Here is a beginner’s guide for those who want to do better for the world and their wallets:
Say no to plastic packaging
Invest in some high-quality and durable stainless-steel or glass containers that you can bring with you to work, especially if you’re thinking about buying food outside. If getting your containers feels like an inconvenience, look into restaurants that no longer utilize single-use plastics.
Repair, don’t replace
We live in a time when gadgets and devices are made with long-lasting materials, which means these 21st-century smartphones, computers, laptops, and tablets were built to last a long time. Consider going to a cell phone repair shop if you find your phone acting up, instead of being too quick to get rid of it and buying a new one.
Our phones negatively impact our environment from being produced in a factory to gobbling up electricity and precious materials before their final stage in a landfill—not to mention the humanitarian crisis they help cause in places like the Congo—so if we do our part in keeping the devices that we have for as long as possible, we help fight for our planet and the health and safety of workers in developing nations.
Minimize food waste
We need to lessen our food waste because doing so helps decrease our carbon footprint and lowers methane emissions from landfills. It helps us conserve our various resources and energy, prevents the air pollution associated with the production, manufacturing, delivering, and selling of food, and decreases the amount of food waste we haul in landfills. If everyone did their part in minimizing their food waste, we might make an impact big enough to help curb the effects of the climate crisis.
If you want to start minimizing your food waste on a day-to-day basis, here are some simple steps you can take:
- Start meal planning. This will help you buy only the ingredients you need and help lower your risk for impulse buys.
- Opt for a more sustainable and healthier diet. While preparing healthy meals might be a challenge in a world that demands we move fast, we can find simple recipes that we can whip up even for fifteen minutes a day.
- Here’s a sad piece of trivia: Stores often throw away bruised or oddly-shaped vegetables and fruits just because they don’t meet some random cosmetic standards. Don’t hesitate to buy fruits and vegetables that look “ugly.” when you opt for these pieces, don’t worry; they’re healthy and taste the same. You can even use the more mature fruits for juices, smoothies, and healthy desserts.
- Shop in your local farmers’ market instead of the bigger supermarkets or grocery stores. Not only would you be supporting small businesses, which they deserve, but you would also be empowering farmers—which can be vital to feeding the world and healing the planet.
- Learn recipes that make use of leftovers.
If it feels like making significant diet changes is too extreme, take it one day at a time. Slowly eliminate junk food and fast food and incorporate healthier alternatives. You don’t need to do everything all at once—schedule your change in diet so that you and your family don’t get too overwhelmed.
This may be hard, especially since we live in a system that encourages mindless shopping and consumption, but you need to train your mind not to purchase things you don’t need. Please take a moment to think about it before you make a purchase.
People may argue that individual choices may not necessarily make a significant impact on the planet’s health, but every bit helps. If you have a desire in your heart to make this change, go for it and don’t let other people dissuade you from doing it.