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April 12, 2021 0 Comments

How to Build Solid Zero-Waste Habits in 2021?

The New Year offers an opportunity to start anew. It’s when we decide on what goals we would like to achieve, the changes we want to make, the aspects in our life we want to improve. That is why many people come up with New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, only 8 percent stick with it throughout the year. 

With the zero-waste movement catching on, people have also been adding sustainable and green resolutions to the list. Which if you ask us, is a great win for the environment and for the future. 

But how do you exactly make your sustainable and zero-waste resolutions into solid habits that's incorporated in your life? The tips we'll share with you today will help you with that.

Tips to Building Zero-Waste Habits 

1. Audit your waste

woman carrying recycling bin and contents

As they say, you won't know where you're headed if you don't know where you're coming from. This is an important step to help you plan your zero waste habits. It will guide you on which areas you need to work on and even prioritize. 

You can start with a simple trash audit. All you need to do is your week's trash bag, a pen, a clipboard, and gloves and mask for protection. Go over your trash one by one. Write each type of trash on the clipboard and tally how many times each type appeared. This gives you a visual representation of the actual kinds and amount of trash you produce. 

2. Pick a battle you want to fight 

vegan word spelled with vegetables

The planet’s waste problem is huge. And it is easy to feel overwhelmed and hopeless about it. 

But know this. Our efforts, no matter how small, are steps taken in the right direction for the sake of the planet and of the future generations.

It is nearly impossible to be fully zero waste in every aspect of your life. Which is why it is important to pick an issue you feel strongly about. 

Are you a foodie? Perhaps, fighting food waste is a cause you want to pursue.

Love animals? Maybe veganism or wildlife conservation is something for you. 

Love fashion? What about slow and conscious fashion?

Love plants and growing your own food? Maybe composting and gardening is a good start.  

Are you a parent? Maybe green parenting is a philosophy and principle you want to lead your family with. 

Like we said, it would have been ideal to go zero waste on every aspect in your life. But the truth is, it’s not always going to be easy or even practical for you or your family.  So choose your battle.

3. Make changes that are sustainable to you

putting vegetable peels in the compost bin

After getting to know the kinds and amount of waste you produce and the specific waste issues you want to work on, it is time to make sustainable solutions that are sustainable for you. 

Want to fight food waste? Perhaps, cooking your own food, getting creative with your dishes, and maximising each ingredient are changes you can make. 

Want to help eliminate single-use plastic? Identify products you can swap with reusable, recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable ones. 

If you need to eat lunch at work, you can make and bring your own lunch in reusable boxes. 

The key here is to play to your strengths and to your interest.     

4. Shape your habits in phases

Overwhelm can be paralyzing. It stops us from taking concrete actions because the problem is so big you don't know what to do, how, and when to start. 

What do you do to combat this? 

You cut the problem down into small pieces. 

So for example, if you want to eliminate single-use plastic at home, you can avoid overwhelm by doing it per room. 

 Room 1: Kitchen
 Phase 1  Swap shopping bags with reusables 
 Phase 2  Buy from the farmer's market or bulk store 
 Phase 3  Make food from scratch 
 Room 2: Bathroom
 Room 3: Bedroom 

 

Room 1: Kitchen 

fruits in reusable bag grains in reusable bottles

This is where most of us get our single use plastic waste in the household. We have our fruits and vegetables wrapped in soft plastics, paper towels, yogurt cups, canned goods, among others. 

Device a plan on how you can reduce your single-use waste. Your phases can look this. 

Phase 1: Swap shopping bags with reusables 

The easiest way is to use reusable grocery bags instead of the plastic shopping bags provided at the store. You can then move on to buying naked fruits and vegetables from the naked aisle. 

Phase 2: Buy from the farmer's market or bulk store  

bulk store

Consider buying from the farmer's market and the bulk store instead of at the grocery. This way, you can eliminate single use plastic, buy produce fresh, and support local farmers. 

Phase 3: Make food from scratch

spices

Learn to make your food from scratch and other food preservation techniques. This helps you get rid of packaging like cans and other plastics. It also lets you control the quality of ingredients and nutrients in your food. 

Room #2: Bathroom

zero waste bathroom

For example, you can switch your bottled shampoo and liquid soap with the bar form. They usually come in recycled and biodegradable packaging or none at all. Swapping your disposable razors with a safety one is also a good idea. 

Room #3: Bedroom

capsule wardrobe

For most people, the wardrobe generates the most waste in the bedroom. Simplifying it is a challenge because of the fact that most clothes now are made through fast fashion, which is one of the top polluting industries in the world. 

But don't fret. You can still lessen your impact by being more mindful about it. For example, you can declutter, create a capsule wardrobe, limit shopping, shop second hand instead of brand new, and support slow fashion brands. 

From here on, you can move on to other components in your bedroom such as your skincare products, linens, and jewelries. Totally agree, I’ve tried to stop buying clothes if they are not needed.

Ready to get started? 

We hope you found value in those tips. Remember to look within your household first. Evaluate the types and amount of waste you're making. Then, pick an issue that's most important to you and be its champion. Third, make changes that can work for you. Fourth, do the changes in phases to avoid overwhelm.

Building zero waste habits may not be easy but they are definitely worth it. 


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