Help The Planet With These Zero Waste Lifestyle Ideas

by Zara Mohammed, Lifestyle Columnist

Published in Lifestyle on 19th July, 2018

The zero waste movement is not about being a perfect human being, nor is it a competition or popularity contest. In today's modern society it would be a real challenge to achieve a 100% zero waste lifestyle. Instead zero waste life is more about making better choices so that you can lead a more mindful and intentional life, and feel good about helping to save the planet. It is only when we form a deeper connection to the environment we live in that we can truly feel connected to ourselves, and our neighbours, and feel good about our place in the world.

planet with these zero waste fifestyle

Here are some simple lifestyle ideas that you can start to implement today to help save the planet and lead a more meaningful zero waste life.

Change the Way You Consume

It's difficult to have total control over your waste contribution when the things you need on a daily basis seem to only come packaged in excess plastic packaging. But it is possible to have more control simply by assessing your choices.

Before you go out to purchase something, ask yourself three things:

1. Do I need it - Could I live without it, or make do with something I already have. Will it replace something I already have and provide me with more value and use, helping me to waste less in the long term?

2. Do I need it right now? Could I wait a while and perhaps use up some of the other things I own first, or borrow from someone I know?

3. Is this the most functional thing for me right now? Can I find an alternative that is better value for money and will provide me with more use in other ways?

Try to focus on buying and owning less, because less is always more in the long run, and we don't need as much as we think we do in order to survive and live happy, healthy and comfortable lives.

less is more

Eliminate Disposables

Focus on owning things that you can reuse. Anything you absolutely must buy that is disposable, just make sure that it is biodegradable and can be recycled.

Here are some basic things you can replace with reusable items:

  • Canvas shopping totes instead of plastic bags
  • Glass or metal water bottles instead of plastic bottles
  • Tupper wear food containers instead of sandwich bags or foil
  • Loose produce cloth bags instead of plastic supermarket bags
  • Earth friendly sponges
  • Reusable rags instead of paper towels
  • Menstrual cup instead of tampons and sanitary towels

Go Digital

Technology can help your mission to achieve a zero waste lifestyle. Having less physical clutter in your life will free up a lot of mental space so that you can focus on the things that really matter to you. Here are a few ideas to help you think about how you can use technology to help you save the planet:

go digital
  • Notify your bank and tell them you don't need paper statements anymore, you can view them all online anyway.
  • Take notes on your phone, tablet or laptop instead of wasting paper.
  • Use an e reader to download new books you want to read instead of buying physical books.
  • Pay with your phone and cards in order to keep records of your purchases online, and stop accepting paper receipts.
  • Download music and films instead of buying CDs and DVDs.

Look for Natural Alternatives

A quick Google search will bring up all sorts of alternative ideas for cleaning products and personal hygiene products, all of which don't contain harsh chemicals that are bad for you and the planet. You may also be able to reduce your plastic bottle waste by purchasing fewer products, and ones that have multifunctional uses. Do a Google search to find out what the multifunctional uses the following natural products have:

  • White Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Essential Oils
  • Coconut Oil
  • Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs

Learn New Skills & Start Fixing Instead of Replacing!

When something breaks or when something goes wrong, do you really need to call an expert or professional? Do you really need to go out and buy something new? Youtube has an explanation, solution and visual instructions for pretty much anything you can think of! Why not use your own initiative and at the same time learn new skills in order to fix something, instead of replacing it or having to pay for someone else to drive out and fix it for you?

When the moths have been at your favourite wool jumpers, you don't have to throw them out and buy new ones. They are still going to keep you warm after all. Learn how to embroider and you can sew pretty patterns and designs to disguise the little holes, and give your jumpers a brand new quirky look!

Often when something goes wrong with a phone, a laptop, a memory card or other piece of technology or software it can be scary, because the unknown is always scary. But have some faith in yourself and turn to Youtube to see if you can find a solution yourself before hiring a professional or spending a lot of money to replace something that may not be broken.

start fixing instead of replacing

Superglue is your friend! I don't know how many people think they have to throw out a good pair of shoes just because the sole has come away. It's a good idea if you have bought an expensive pair of shoes, to inspect the soles regularly and have them replaced before they wear down completely, so that you can avoid having to fork out for a new pair too soon.

Money is something that we waste a lot of because we live in a society that has lead us to believe that we aren't capable of doing certain things ourselves, like trimming our own hair in between bigger haircuts, or fixing a leak at the back of the toilet that merely required a bolt to be tightened. Learning how to do things yourself will give you an immense sense of personal satisfaction and achievement, not to mention save a lot of money and reduce waste.

The zero waste lifestyle is about so much more than cutting back on what you throw out. It is a mind-set that will train you to make the most out everything in your life. The saying "There's more to life" couldn't be more meaningful in today's consumerist society. So be the change that is going to make the difference to your planet, and to your own experience of life.

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