There’s no wiggle room to the number zero — no cheat day, no just this once. Which is probably why the idea of going zero waste sounds so intimidating. After all, you may wonder if you can really live waste-free — and if so, how much will you need to sacrifice? The good news? Zero waste is more than doable. The even better news? You won’t have to compromise on quality of life. Quite the opposite. How? Here is a simple, five-step plan toward going zero waste.
Step 1: Reuse — buy reusable products
Replacing single-use items with reusable products is an easy way to create a zero-waste home. Next time you go grocery shopping, bring your own bags — ideally paper or a more durable reusable shopping bag. Switching from paper napkins to textile options like washable cloth napkins will reduce your waste production and add an element of style to the dinner table at the same time. Even hygiene products like Q-tips or makeup remover pads come in reusable options — and they work just as well as their single-use counterparts.
Step 2: Reduce — embrace the less-is-more lifestyle
Food, clothes, toys, gadgets: whatever you buy, ask yourself if you really need this. And by that, we mean: need need it. Not want need it. Do you truly have to buy that T-shirt, tech gadget, or accessory? Yes? Go get it. Just make sure you’ll keep and use it for a long time. No? Enjoy the freeing feeling of resisting the buying urge — and saving money at the same time. Now, you might feel inclined to clear your home of all the clutter that doesn’t bring you joy, Marie-Kondo-style. But instead of throwing things out (and thus producing more waste), proceed to our third step.
Step 3: Recycle — give a second life to all your stuff
What makes waste waste? It’s all a matter of perspective! What doesn’t bring you joy might make others ecstatic. From PET to glass, from used clothing to broken electronics – there’s a second life in almost everything we own. Follow the local recycling guidelines to ensure your PET-bottle or battery doesn’t end up as a landfill. For mostly intact items like clothing or toys, consider a donation. In recent years, big fashion brands have started to accept used clothing — and turn it in tomorrow’s fashion. Most electronic products can be dropped off for recycling at designated retailers. Even food waste is a thing of the past: most edibles can be turned into compost, thus nurturing plants and bugs.
Step 4: Refuse — find a zero waste shop nearby
Obviously, zero-waste shops are the ideal companions on your journey towards zero waste. Not only will they connect you to like-minded people, but they will likely offer classes and tips to hone your zero-waste skills. What if you don’t have a zero-waste shop near you? No worries. When you rethink what you buy and where you buy it, you’ll go a long way towards zero waste. Other tips?
Buy recycled products: Make sure to buy products from recycled material wherever possible. Paper, tissue, textiles, even plastic and wood can be reclaimed and turned into a brand-new product.
Support waste-conscious brands: To go full-circle, you should also make sure to support sustainable brands that are waste-conscious in whatever they are doing.
Beware of the packaging: The best, most organic, and fairest product can slay your zero-waste efforts when it comes in single-use plastic wrapping.
Pro tip: To keep your personal waste balance in check, you could leave such packaging with the retailer — with the additional benefit of promoting waste awareness.
Step 5: Don’t give up
You’re on the way towards a zero-waste home. You reduce, reuse, recycle, and refuse — and that makes us proud. But you know what? You might not reach zero waste. At least not right away. And that’s OK. Because every contribution counts, every step matters. Have you tried SaltyLama’s eco-friendly laundry strips yet? They work like magic — and once they’re done, they’re gone. For good. See for yourself.