The Beginner's Guide to Low Waste Living,   - ZEERO

The Beginner's Guide to Low Waste Living

12 things we can all do to reduce waste

Have you started thinking about your every day habits and how those small habits have a huge impact on the earth? If the answer is, "yes", you're not alone! Plenty of people are waking up to the joy of living with mindfulness, which includes acknowledging how we all contribute to the problems of climate change and unmanageable waste. The good news is that low waste living is within reach. Check out these ten simple ways to start on the path toward low waste living. 

1. Replace plastic bags

Replacing those plastic single-use grocery bags with a recycled reusable bag can save up to 170 bags per year.

2. Reusable straws

You've likely seen the effects of disposable straws on our oceans around the world and the animals that accidentally consume them. Replace those plastic straws with reusable stainless steel straws, or better yet, ditch the straw altogether and sip straight from the cup.

3. Cloth napkins

Often associated with fancy holiday dinners, the cloth napkin is making a comeback in a big way as people begin to re-think the amount of waste we produce from single use paper napkins. For your next dinner, swap those disposable napkins for 100% cotton napkins and toss them into the wash afterward. You can feel good about this small change and you can save up to 7,300 paper towels at the same time.

4. Replace loofahs with wash cloths

Loofahs are often made from plastics and non eco-friendly materials. They also build up bacteria after a few uses, which means you'll need to replace them regularly, contributing to unnecessary waste. We recommend sisal loofahs or switching to cotton wash cloths that you can toss into the laundry after each use.

5. Replace dryer sheets with dryer balls

Dryer balls serve two purposes. First, they eliminate the need to replace dryer sheets. Also, they reduce the amount of chemical detergents you're exposing yourself to with traditional dryer sheets.

6. Replace toxic household cleaners with DIY cleaners

Similar to dryer balls, you can make some easy DIY household cleaners that are non-toxic and safe for all of your high-touch surfaces. You can also take the extra step to use glass bottles or containers for storing your household cleaners, which is biodegradable and reusable.

7. Replace shampoo bottles with solid shampoo bars

This is a big favorite of our team at RitualElement. We are big proponents of reviewing our every day skincare and beauty habits in search of sustainable alternatives that are healthy for our bodies and for the earth. You can make an easy switch from plastic shampoo bottles to solid shampoo and conditioner bars that come with zero waste packaging and are biodegradable.

8. Replace water bottles with reusable water canisters

Opting for a stainless steel water container means you'll be eliminating up to 167 plastic water bottles from the dumps every year. That's a huge impact to mother earth. 

9. Go for bamboo toothbrushes

One bamboo toothbrush can eliminate up to four plastic toothbrushes from the dumps. They're equally comfortable and safe to use.

10. Carry your own utensils

An often overlooked opportunity to reducing waste are those on-the-go utensils we grab as we're running out of a restaurant with our takeout orders. It's easy to grab plastic utensils from the office cafeteria, as well. Skip those single use utensils and opt for carrying your own utensils and wash them after each use. 

11. Eat less meat

Even if you aren’t vegetarian, making small changes to your eating habits can reduce you personal greenhouse gas emissions. Meat consumption and farm animals contribute to the release of greenhouse gases. According to the Environmental Defense Fund, if every American had just one meat-free meal each week, it would be the equivalent of removing over 5 million cars off our roads each year. 

12. Vote with your dollars

Think of every dollar you spend on shopping as a vote for the company to which you’re paying for goods or services. Spending money at large, resource-heavy or high-waste corporations that engage in poor labor practices or over production of goods is a vote in favor of their business practices. The more consumers shift spend away from those companies, the more pressure they have to change their climate-changing ways. Shop local whenever possible and shop used to reduce over-production of new goods. Not to mention, it’s better for your pocketbook!

Living sustainably doesn't require radical change. Start small. Bring awareness to your consumption habits and choose alternatives that reduce single-use plastics, introduce biodegradable materials, and shop local. Over time a million small changes lead to real-world impacts.

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