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Going Zero-Waste: Tips on How to Start

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Whenever the topic zero waste comes up, the first thing that comes to mind is photos of people holding trash-filled mason jars.

For most of us, the amount of that trash matches our daily waste. But the mason jars in these photos are actually filled with one year’s worth of garbage.

That basically sums up a zero-waste lifestyle.

It’s about embracing a waste-free lifestyle with less consumption and more sustainable choices. If you want to do your part in helping the environment, going zero-waste is definitely a good start.

In this post, we’ll share with you some tips for getting started on a zero-waste lifestyle.

Find Your Motivation

Whatever lifestyle you’re starting, it’s always best to refer to your “why.” Why are you going zero-waste? And why bother at all?

Is it to gain a bit more financial freedom? Or help reduce plastic waste in the oceans?

Going zero-waste can’t be done overnight. It takes time, especially as you make the transition.

So whenever you get discouraged, keep your “why” or your inspiration in mind to get back on track quickly.

Think Before Making a Purchase

Living without waste means not producing trash in the first place. And you can do this by avoiding new purchases.

Before you buy anything, think carefully about whether you really need it. If you decide to make a purchase, you have to explore your sustainable options.

Get secondhand clothes from a thrift shop rather than buying designer clothes. Or shop in a farmer’s market instead of buying pre-packaged vegetables.

Replace Disposables With Reusables

Open your trash bin and see what kind of garbage takes up most of the space. We’ll take a wild guess here: it’s mostly filled with takeout containers and single-use packaging.

When you think about the disposables you… well, dispose of, it’s easy to understand how important it is to switch to reusables.

So forget about store-bought plastic water bottles– always bring a reusable water bottle with you. Or, instead of placing groceries in plastic or paper bags, store them in a reusable shopping bag.

Learn to Do It the DIY Way

Speaking of takeouts and groceries, here’s another way you can cut down on waste: cook at home. Or try making things the DIY way.

No more ordering takeouts packed in plastic and styrofoam. Make home-cooked meals so that the only waste you’ll produce is a small pile of compostable vegetable scraps.

Apart from cooking, you might want to craft some household products yourself, like toothpaste, shampoo bars, and body butter. That way, you can steer clear of disposable packaging–while taking up a fun new hobby.

Recycle Organic Waste

Another fun hobby you can enjoy in a zero-waste lifestyle? Gardening with DIY compost.

From coffee grounds to leftovers, there are lots of organic materials you can recycle. Plus, you don’t need a backyard to create your own compost pile. You can find different compost methods perfect for apartment living, like bokashi and vermicomposting.

When you start composting, you’ll not only have a lighter trash bag–you’ll also have nutrient-rich soil for your houseplants.

Join Your Community

Any major transition can be difficult when you’re alone. So to make your zero-waste journey more manageable, you’ll have to find like-minded people.

Explain to your friends and family the joy of zero-waste living and ask them to join in the fun. Or search for local zero-waste groups and join their events.

It can also be as simple as supporting local businesses with sustainably made or grown products.

Again, going zero-waste can’t be done overnight. But when more and more people try to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, we can significantly reduce our impact on the environment.

Oxford at Tech Ridge Apartments in Austin, TX

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