I don’t want to disappoint you, but living completely zero-waste is impossible.
I don’t mean that you should stop caring and don’t try to lower your waste.
But the facts are in front of us; zero waste will be only possible if we have a circular economy. Our current situation is far from that; we follow a linear economy.
But the waste problem is increasing a lot for the past few years and if you care & want to do something about it, find out how to lower your waste more than 70% just by following the tips from this article.
Also, consider getting a few zero waste & reusable products, that will make your life much more comfortable and most importantly – WASTE FREE!
Without further ado, let’s dive in.
1. The TOP 15 Items That are Polluting Our Planet
2. 10 Items That Can Help You To Lower Your Waste By More Than 70%
3. Final Tip – The Zero Waste Kit
1. The TOP 15 Items That are Polluting Our Planet
1) Food wrappers/containers
2) Bottle/Container caps
3) Plastic bags
4) Straws, stirrers
5) Beverage bottles
7) Cups / Plates (styrofoam)
8) Cigarette butts
9) Plastic Lids
10) Take away containers
12) Other plastic jugs / Containers
13) Cups (hard plastic)
14) Personal care products
15) Cigarette Lighters
2. The TOP 10 Items That Will Lower Your Waste By More Than 70%
As you can see, the plastic products that pollute the most can be replaced with a better alternative.
Now, we will focus on the alternative options that are more eco-friendly and sustainable.
So, by switching your consumption patterns and getting a few reusable products, you will lower your waste by 70 or (even more) percentages!
1: Reusable containers
Perhaps unsurprisingly, having a reusable container can do WONDERS with your amount of trash.
Nowadays, there are more and more places, where you can get in your reusable container things like:
– bread, seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, veggies, and even cheese, and other animal products.
All you need to do is to find those places and start purchasing from there. What’s more, this will become even easier if you have a bulk store or/and farmers market around.
If you don’t have access to such places, don’t panic yet!
Just find whatever is accessible for you and choose items that are plastic free, in packaging that is not dangerous to your health or nature.
For example, you can pick things in glass jars, or aluminum packaging – both of which are 100% recyclable.
PROS: durable, BPA-free
CONS: possible leaks? (depending on the model)
PROS: BPA-free, no health risks
CONS: Can be heavier, can be broken easier
3) Plastic reusable container
PROS: use it if you already have it at home, medium durability
CONS: May contain BPA; plastic smell and taste
4) Budget option: Reuse food jars/containers, that you bought from the shop
Tip: Check your local second-hand shops for some reusable containers, before purchasing new ones!
2: Reusable water bottles
A single item like this can reduce your plastic waste exponentially!
The truth is that a lot of people drink water in plastic bottles because they think the water its cleaner and better.
But the truth is that the source of approximately 25% of bottled water is from the tap. A lot of companies use glorified tap water.
Furthermore, bottled water companies frequently use BPA-free plastic, which can cause reproductive issues, asthma, dizziness, and it is also related to breast cancer.
Instead of polluting the planet with plastic bottles AND harming your body, get a reusable water bottle.
– Similar to the reusable containers, here you have to choose between:
I would recommend the stainless steel because it’s durable, keeps the liquid cold for a very long time (or warm if you use it for coffee or tea!).
If you crave for some beverage, try to find a product, that comes in a glass, and then reuse the bottle! Read below, for more about it!
3: Reusable bag
Quick disturbing fact:
And the solution is soo simple!
You can check amazing creators on Etsy, such as my grandma! She creates from recycled jeans, amazing bags.
Check some of them below!
4: Bamboo/Stainless steel straw
Plastic straws can be a huge pain.
And I mean that literally. They often cause terrible things to a lot of species.
It also takes around 200 years to decompose, but that means that they will break down into smaller pieces.
That doesn’t mean the plastic parts will disappear – they will get tiny, but they will be still here, for much longer than 200 years.
To avoid all of this pointless plastic straw pollution, you can make a personal commitment to say “no” to plastic straws, plus, you can spread the awareness between your friends and family.
5: Reduce beverage drinks in plastic bottles
Did you know that just Coca-Cola used three million tonnes of plastic packaging, in 2017?
A massive amount of it ended up on beaches, in the landfill, and the sea.
Probably you think, “Ok, but what about soda beverages in a glass bottle or aluminum can?“
First off, glass can be less damaging to the environment because it can be recycled endlessly.
However, it is much heavier than plastic, which automatically increases the carbon footprint, as transportation is ”environmentally expensive”.
Then it comes to the aluminum cans. They are lightweight, which mean that they have a smaller transportation footprint. Plus, cans are endlessly recyclable, too.
But they often contain bisphenol A, which is an industrial chemical, used in containers to store food and beverages.
As you can see, there’s isn’t a perfect choice. It depends on a lot of factors and also the situation. Furthermore, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t drink Coca-Cola ever again.
But be mindful when you’re choosing.
If you are worried about bisphenol A, go for the glass bottle, but try to choose a local company, if possible, to lessen the shipping footprint.
From the other side, if you want to get something from far away, probably it will be best if you get it in a can.
Whatever the container, the main advice is to recycle it.
6: Reusable utensils
There are certain things that it’s recommended to be with you always when you go away. The utensils are one of them!
You may go out and you want to eat something, and especially if you go to a ”fast food” place, frequently they use single-use products.
So, carrying one of these (plus your water bottle and food container) will save a lot of waste.
The waste from the plastic utensils is enormous, just from the US, which is 40 billion, per year.
It gets worse when you take into consideration other countries such as India – there, they produce 129 billion of utensils, that end up in the landfills.
7: Say NO to styrofoam cups/plates
Styrofoam is an economical, easy to manufacture, waterproof and lightweight substance.
The problem with this material is that it may take between 500 and one million years to decompose naturally.
Styrofoam is responsible for an enormous portion of worldwide waste, plus it’s a material that kills our animals, poisons our environment and seriously hazards our health.
REUSABLE containers, as we mentioned already, plus REUSABLE coffee mugs (or a jar)!
You can choose between glass, aluminum, or recycled materials.
8: Biodegradable cigarette butts
Cigarette butts are toxic, for smokers, non-smokers, animals and for the planet.
The truth is that discarded cigarette butts are a non-biodegradable waste and tobacco facilities release 1,312,796 pounds of toxic chemicals, in one year.
To make matters worse, in the US, about 267 billion were smoked in 2015, which makes cigarettes the most littered item in the country.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do to reduce your cigarette waste.
Karma Filter Tips – 100% organic, biodegradable, and chemical free, specially created roll-your-own cigarette filters. The handmade filter tips release live seeds into the ground when disposed of.
E-cigarettes – Honestly, that’s a very controversial topic, because there is limited information available.
Some e-cigarette brands that use cartridges state their products are ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘green.’ However, there aren’t any reliable supporting studies.
Nevertheless, the positive side of the e-cigarette is the fact that the majority of them are reusable. That makes them more environmentally friendly than using single-use devices.
Furthermore, when you compare them to traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes do not create litter in the form of discarded cigarette butts.
So, if they are disposed of properly, they can be considered as a better alternative, at least for now.
9: Reusable takeaway containers
Takeaway food can be convenient… for the first 10 minutes. Once you eat with the food, you are left with the plastic container, that will be on the planet for a veeeery long period.
But let’s be honest, you probably won’t stop getting takeaway food.
Now, you probably think
” Trying to lower my waste and eating outside can be challenging or even impossible.”
Think again! Most of the places are indeed using single-use containers. However there are still ways to lower your waste.
10: Plastic-free personal care products
A campaign announced that more than 120 billion units of packaging are produced every year by the global cosmetics industry. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of which are not recyclable.
Frankly, most of the shops, selling personal care products are having 95% of the items in plastic packaging.
Luckily, more and more brands, online and physical shops appear, that sell products in plastic-free packaging.
Well, the list can go on and on!
The positive aspect is that nowadays, we have a massive choice of sustainable self-care products.
The thing you need to do is:
1. Find the essentials that you use on a daily basis
2. Once you end the plastic bottled products, start experimenting with some plastic-free and sustainable goods!
Plus, you can experiment and try to create your own beauty products.
You may think that it’s hard, more expensive and time-consuming, but that’s far from the truth!
Here, I have a whole section of DIY, where I’ll share with you effortless recipes for toothpaste, face masks, deodorants, body creams and more.
3. Final Tip
Now, let’s go through one essential tip that can help you to lower that waste.
1) Create your zero-waste ”kit.”
This kit will be slightly different for everyone. However, some products will be the same for most of us, such as a water bottle. We all get thirsty and need water.
But some items will mostly depend on what you will need the most.
For example, if you often eat out from fast food places, a reusable container and utensils would come in handy.
If you prefer to make your food, be sure to always carry some reusable bags with you.
Are you enjoying drinking in coffee shops? Get a reusable straw.
Have between 3-5 essentials, and ALWAYS carry them with you.
For example, my TO GO zero waste products are:
1. stainless steel water bottle
2. coffee mug
3. steel container
4. tote bag (+ usually inside the backpack one additional bag 😀 )
5. sometimes a straw
It may sound like a lot, or you may think it’s annoying to carry all these stuff.
But honestly, I fit everything in my tote bag (or my small backpack), and I’m good to go!
Once you get used to carrying all of your essentials, you will see how beneficial it is, and how much they will help you to lower your waste!
Lastly, share in the comments what does your ZERO WASTE KIT contain?
What are the items that you don’t go out without?