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What Is a Zero-Waste Lifestyle?

Perhaps you’ve heard of a zero-waste lifestyle and how it can help ease the burden at local landfills and help the environment, but you’re not quite sure what it entails. Zero-waste is a simple concept that means eliminating as much waste as possible from your home — and your life. It may seem challenging at first, but once you get the hang of buying products that promote sustainability over waste, you’ll be well on your way to dramatically cutting back on the amount you toss in the trash each week.

Getting Started

The main goal of the zero-waste lifestyle is to cut down on the amount of waste you bring home and subsequently toss out into the environment. The best way to determine where to start is to look at the products you use and see if there are viable substitutes. Since the lifestyle is becoming more mainstream every day, many companies offer options with sustainability in mind.

Taking Stock

Go room by room and take note of the things you use on a daily basis that come in less-than-ideal materials or packaging. For instance, in the kitchen you’ll likely find dishsoap in a plastic bottle, plastic or metal cooking utensils and paper products such as napkins or paper towels. Most of these can be replaced with bamboo alternatives such as a block of dishwashing soap, bamboo utensils and bamboo paper products. Instead of buying bottles of water, either invest in a filter or perhaps a water ionizer to cut back on plastic waste. While many local areas have a recycling facility, it still takes many years to break down the products or process them into something new.

In the bathroom, you can replace liquid shampoo and conditioner with bars of the same product and invest in a bamboo brush for your hair, rather than a plastic one. The market for bamboo and sustainable products is ever-expanding, so it’s become more commonplace to products in your local shops, if you simply know where to look. If your stores don’t carry them, perhaps you can make a suggestion to management.

Sustainability

Part of a zero-waste lifestyle also includes sustainability and that means investing in products that have minimal impact on the environment. For example, get some reusable grocery bags rather than use the plastic ones given out at stores. Do your research into what fabrics go into bedding or towels, and opt for ones that have a lesser impact and don’t contribute to deforestation.

Benefits of Bamboo

Bamboo is a sustainable material that can be made into several products, including paper. Many places now offer bamboo paper towels and napkins, for one. The beauty of bamboo is that it’s self-renewing, meaning once it’s cut down to make products, it doesn’t need to be replanted, it’ll replenish on its own. In fact, some varieties of bamboo have been known to grow three feet in a single day. Therefore, it makes a lot of sense to use the material instead of cutting down trees that can take decades to grow back. Bamboo also produces more oxygen than trees and it’s extremely versatile.

Pay Attention to Packaging

One of the ways the zero-waste lifestyle helps contribute to less waste is through offering products in reusable containers that serve multiple purposes or come in biodegradable packaging that breaks down much quicker than its plastic or cardboard counterparts. For example, charcoal toothpaste comes in a jar with a lid that can then be used for storing small accessories, such as earrings or thumbtacks. In the absence of finding these types of packaging, it’s a good idea to look for those that are recyclable at the bare minimum.

Adopting a zero-waste lifestyle is a great way to cut down on the waste in landfills but it’s also beneficial to the planet in more ways than one. It may take a bit of fine-tuning in the beginning, but the more you get used to the practices, the easier it’ll be to make your way towards a low- or no-waste household

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