Easy everyday changes you can make in your own life to work todays zero waste living.
Happy Earth Day!
But let's be real, every day is Earth Day. To celebrate today, I'm sharing with you my five favourite posts on how I like to be more zero waste.
Zero waste is getting a lot of buzz these days, but it isn't anything new. The way I like to think about it is zero waste is about trying to live more as your grandparents or great-grandparents lived. It's not about being perfect, it's about doing what you can with what you can.
It's more about avoiding then consuming. In the wise words of Pete Seeger, “if it can’t be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.” These days a lot of companies and brands are pushing "green" products on us, but like this Vice article points out, consumerism is not a way out of waste. It just creates a different kind.
For me, being more green isn't about buying more, or greenwashed labels. It's about following the "new three R's" in order of importance—avoid, reduce, reuse, repurpose, recycle, compost, and if there is not another option, throw away.
Not buying food in packaging can be a real luxury. Depending on where you live in the world you might not have access to fresh fruits and veggies, let alone bulk ones. But if you're lucky enough to live in a community that does, there are a few ways you can cut down on packaging. I know people think shopping in bulk is more expensive, but as a student, I can attest it's not if you keep to simple everyday items. Beyond thinking about how food is sold there are a few more things you can consider when grocery shopping.
Tips for More Sustainable Grocery Shopping
- Avoid out of season produce when you can get local. Example don't get strawberries in February when you can get the local apples.
- Look into the practices of brands. There are certain brands (example a berry producer) I avoid because of the inhumane practices towards their workers.
- Ask yourself if you really need it? The biggest obstacle to sustainable groceries is avoiding food waste and not over shopping. Going to the grocery store more often and buying less each time is your best practice.
- The classic stick to the perimeter of the store motto. Here you will find the more bulk and less-packaged items.
I don't know about you, but the bathroom is one area I always feel I have too many bottles. While reducing food packaging can be hard, I find that souring less packaged body products to be a little easier. Plus you can make so many of them yourself with items from your pantry. If you find the transition hard, here a few steps you can take.
- Reduce the number of products you use. The fewer products I have the less cluttered my mind feels. Things like body wash can easily be replaced by simple soap or getting a two-in-one lip and cheek colour.
- Switch your disposable razors for a safety razor.
- Look for products that are relatively good for you and the planet. When in doubt, check your product here to see when they fall on the scale.
For me making my own beauty products is as satisfying as making my own meals. I love making them for gifts to share with friends. I like being aware of everything I put on my body and to control what items I expose my sensitive (and eczema prone) skin to. If you're keen to try making skin care products for yourself, lip balm is a great first step!
These are the things I like to make sure I have in my bag at all times. I bring them with me to school, to work, and on most adventures. It's amazing how often I find myself using them and really don't know what I'd do without them.
An old recipe, but a classic. If you're looking to adventure into making your own products, this is a great place to start. Homemade toothpaste is easy, effective, and relativity inexpensive to make.