You might see a lot of zero-waste inspiration on social media, but the reality is that everyone’s journey is different. The most important part of this journey is to make it sustainable, not only for the planet but for yourself as an individual. There are always new, trendy practices that we see emerging online, but if you aren’t able to commit to those practices in the long run because it’s either too expensive or too hard for you to access such resources, then you won’t be able to sustain your zero-waste journey.
How to Approach Zero-Waste Living
Zero-waste as a living style can seem very unapproachable and intimidating for a lot of people. It may seem like you have to live with completely no waste and be like one of those people that only has a jar of waste collected throughout the year.
This is far from the truth, zero-waste living isn’t about being perfect, it’s about trying.
Another side of living a zero-waste lifestyle that can put people off the whole idea is the judgement of others, because even if you’re trying your hardest there will always be people to point out little things that you’re not doing perfectly. Same thing happened to me last year during July when I was taking part in the Plastic Free July movement and I happened to fly to Italy for an anniversary trip and I got told off by one of my friends for being a hypocrite.
Also, people might feel like they need to live by a set of rules to be living perfectly zero-waste and that’s something that can often be off putting.
I encourage lifestyle changes all the time because I strongly believe that a few conscious changes make a huge difference, but I also know that not every aspect of the movement works with everyone’s lifestyle and habits – and that’s okay. We need to remember to enjoy life. One single person can’t change the world overnight, but this shouldn’t discourage you from making changes, there’s room for everyone in this movement.
My Zero-Waste Journey
My personal journey in zero-waste living started when I moved into a new place with my partner and I thought that it’d be great to start with great intentions from the very first day.
I started by researching products for our kitchen, bathroom and general household that would be more sustainable than the usual choices.
My favourite project was the kitchen, because it’s an incredible amount of plastic waste one can generate by buying the convenient stuff. So, I decided to get bamboo washing up brushes and bottle brushes, metal straws, beeswax wraps, lots of kitchen cloths so we don’t buy any paper towel, a compost bin, refillable containers for washing up liquids and general cleaning liquids.
Check out my favourite zero-waste household essentials here.
I signed up for a zero-waste detergent subscription, called SMOL, which saved us so much plastic.
I also tried my best to swap our bathroom essentials to more eco-friendly versions, like bamboo cotton buds, reusable cotton pads, loofah sponges, metal razors, zero-waste make up, recyclable toothbrush heads, zero-waste natural deodorants.
The list could go on and on and this only for you to realise that these swaps are not hard, it just takes conscious effort to realise them.
Here are my tips for anyone thinking of joining the zero-waste journey:
Reuse stuff that you don’t necessarily need. If you don’t have a reusable water bottle, it’s about time to buy one. Carry that with you and refuse plastic bottles. I know zero-waste beauty and personal care can sound scary at first, but small steps will lead to great changes. Give it a try!
The biggest one here is food in packaging. Many supermarkets have their own marketplace where you can purchase loose vegetables and fruit, which we always take advantage of (it’s usually cheaper too). I’m also working on creating a capsule wardrobe with items that are timeless and good quality so I won’t have to keep buying new clothes.
Jars are the easiest way to reuse, and they are excellent for storing kitchen cupboard essentials like sugar, flour, nuts, dried fruit in. You don’t need to buy fancy containers, just reuse your jars!
Recycle everything that you can’t reduce or reuse. Make sure you check if the items you’re throwing away are actually recyclable.
Use your compost bin and later you’ll thank me when you’re planting your favourite vegetable in your little apartment garden.
For more posts from our green living series check out:
Guest Writer Bio: Dalma Dioszegi
Dalma Dioszegi is an aspiring eco warrior who lives in Leamington Spa, England. She began her zero waste journey a couple of years ago after watching the most eye opening show on Netflix, called ‘Rotten’. She decided to do everything she possibly can to make small changes in her everyday life to reduce her carbon footprint and work toward living a zero waste lifestyle. Follow her on her journey and learn tips and tricks her IG @dalmie.adventures