As someone who has been learning about sustainable living for less than a year, I could say that I am still a beginner when it comes to living sustainably and being zero waste. There are so many resources online talking about this topic (One of my favorites would be Christine of Simply by Christine). Of course, reading and watching about this lifestyle makes me want to do EVERYTHING! But I know that it’s not an easy transition, so I am consciously trying to avoid the mistakes below when going through this journey.
- Throwing away “non-zero waste” things
If you have single-use plastics, you don’t necessarily have to use them just once. I reuse some plastics as bin liners. I wash plastic takeaway boxes to keep leftovers. I also wash zip lock bags and use them again and again until they break. I use the plastic containers used in produce (you know, the sturdy, transparent ones) to organise little items under the sink. Make the most of these plastics before you recycle or dispose them. This goes for other products as well. While I have found recipes for a DIY facial wash and a house cleaner, I still use up the commercially-bought ones that I already have.
- Going for the aesthetic
Looking at picture-perfect zero waste photos make me feel all giddy and happy. All those mason jars in a nicely stacked pantry, wooden brushes, matching glass containers, produce bags, and metal straws look really nice! And yes, I would like to have those things and make my kitchen look pristine and pretty as well. But then, buying new things when you still have something useful and does the same job defeats the purpose of sustainable living. So yes, I reuse my glass bottles that previously held pasta sauce and I will continue to use my plastic dish brush until it breaks.
- Making so many changes all at once
We want to change the world for the better. But we all know that old habits die hard, and trying to overhaul your lifestyle all at once will set you up for failure. It just isn’t sustainable. Instead of trying to do everything, start small. If you buy a lot of bottled water, start using a reusable water bottle. Maybe keep an eco bag in your everyday bag or car, so you always have it in case you need to do a quick grocery run. Baby steps that stick is the way to go.
- Having the all-or-nothing mindset
“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.” – Anne-Marie Bonneau
This is related to the previous point. While it is good to aim to be completely zero waste, it’s definitely not easy. We do need convenience sometimes, depending on our life situation. Nevertheless, don’t be discouraged! Every little thing we do towards reducing waste adds up.
Do you have any practical sustainability tips? Or maybe suggestions on how to slowly incorporate reducing waste in our lives? As a learner on this journey, I’d love to hear your thoughts!