Canvas bags? Check.
Mason Jars? Check.
Bamboo toothbrush? Check.
The list could go on and on. But just because we own all of these items, it doesn’t mean we are living a zero waste lifestyle. Unfortunately, with the increased interest in the zero-waste lifestyle came business opportunities for big companies that could take advantage of the situation: making canvas bags with their logos on it, creating super cute glass jars so all of your bulk-bought goodies can be matching and aesthetically pleasing, or by simply marketing something to make it look more “eco-friendly” when in reality it might not be. You might follow an account that shows their perfectly aesthetic spice rack, or their adorable little to-go containers and beautiful water bottles and you think to yourself “do I really need all of these things to achieve this lifestyle?” The answer is absolutely not.
Living the so-called “zero-waste” lifestyle shouldn’t be something that empties your wallet and breaks the bank. Ultimately, the goal is to actually spend less on things you don’t need and create less waste from the products you use everyday. This might mean investing in a new blender or some fancy gadget that can make you almond milk, if that is something you genuinely feel would be making a difference in the waste you create as an individual or as a family. But when you first decide to start this journey, the whole point is to use what you already have at home! No need to go out and buy anything, just take a look around your house. Here are just a few things that you might have at home that can be used with a new purpose:
- Plastic produce bags: these can be reused next time you go to the store
- Glass jars: from pickles, mayo, pasta sauces, etc. A jar with a lid is always useful when it comes to living a more waste-free life since they can be used to store all kinds of things! Take them with you to the bulk store, drink out of them, use them for leftovers, the possibilities are endless!
- Old toothbrushes: these can be used to clean hard to reach places. They can also be used to clean up a pair of dirty shoes!
- Used clothes: if that shirt has really reached the end of its lifecycle and it can’t even be donated, cut it up into rags that you can use to clean mirrors, windows, and dust with!
These are just a few ways you can prevent waste from entering the landfills or recycling centers. Another super important thing to remember is to never throw away something that can still be used! Just because you want to switch from bottled shampoo to bar shampoo doesn’t mean you should go into your bathroom and throw the bottled ones away! Use up everything you can before trying these great alternatives. The whole point of this lifestyle is to create less waste, and by utilizing the things we already have around the house and giving them new life we can prevent extra waste from being added to the heaps of trash.
Don’t be intimidated by these famous accounts showing their perfect zero-waste life. Instead, focus on ways you can make a difference in your own life and remember, every step counts, always!