So, You Wanna Go Low Waste? Here’s One Way to Get Started!
Assess Your Waste Thoughtfully (Trash, Recycle, Compost)
Before you can determine how best to minimize your waste output, you first need to determine how much waste you are creating in your current daily habits. Set-up a designated trash can, recycling bin, and compost container; some folks prefer to keep a bowl in the freezer to minimize smell, but we also carry a small bin that makes the stink of compost obsolete!
Live your life as you normally would for at least a full week, being sure to carefully separate your waste into the appropriate receptacles. Most people are surprised to find that a lot of household waste can be composted, like nail clippings, dust bunnies, and cotton balls that are 100% cotton!
When your time is up, take a look at how much plastic and non-recyclable/compostable waste you’ve produced.
When looking at your waste accumulation, identify which objects in your trash and recycling could be swapped out for longer-lasting or fully compostable items. Start a list of easy replacements: Plastic egg cartons that can’t be recycled locally? Next time, opt for a cardboard carton which can be composted. Plastic Q-Tips? Make a note to purchase a LastSwab when you’ve used your last Q-Tip.
Some replacements will be simple and affordable to make, like purchasing bulk grains in a cleaned-out pasta sauce jar instead of buying a plastic pouch. Others, like a reusable menstrual cup or safety razor, may require some saving and planning.
However, one of the great things about investing in quality, reusable items is that they save money in the long term. A metal dustpan and broom will last indefinitely longer than their plastic counterparts. A stainless steel water bottle can be used thousands of times whereas a plastic bottle has a far shorter lifespan before it ends up in a landfill. When you’re ready to take the plunge, remind yourself that your dollars are well spent!
Make a Kit
As you slowly start to make low waste replacements in your routine, prioritize creating a kit to have on-hand for coffee runs, trips to the grocery store, and takeaway meals. Store everything in a tote that’s easy to grab or leave it in your car for when you’re on the move.
A reusable coffee cup, lightweight bamboo utensils, steel straw, cloth napkin, and glass or steel food container will cover your bases for eating and drinking when you’re out of the house. A set of cotton produce bags (in lieu of disposable plastic) and an extra tote for carrying groceries will keep you prepared for your shopping trips.
While all of these things will help you to create and accumulate less waste, the most important thing to remember is that any change you decide to make is important. Even the smallest changes are impactful to the Earth and to your health, and are worth celebrating. Like the title implies, this is just one way to begin your low waste journey. The truth is, there is no secret formula. Start where you are and know that your effort counts!
Keep coming back for more tips and tricks and let us know how we can best support you along the way.