How To Get Closer to a Zero-Waste Lifestyle
With the issue of climate change becoming a more prominent problem that we all need to deal with, many people are turning to lifestyles that reduce the amount of waste they create. Waste is one of society’s biggest problems—one to which there’s no easy answer. Individually, however, we can all do our part to help out by attempting to lessen our effects on the environment. In this article, we’ll examine how to get closer to a zero-waste lifestyle. Being completely zero-waste may not be feasible, but we can try to get as close as possible.
Lose the Paper Products
Demand for paper causes the destruction of millions of trees. Once you start looking around at everything you use that’s made of paper, you might be surprised at how much you find. Try to keep a few things in mind as you consider your paper products:
- You can easily replace paper plates and towels with reusable alternatives that you can simply wash instead of throw away.
- Forget tissues in favor of handkerchiefs that you can wash and reuse.
- Replace plastic and paper straws with metal options—or don’t use straws at all.
- Try to stick to reusing things such as newspapers instead of buying a whole roll of wrapping paper, since it will eventually get thrown away.
- Opt for paperless billing for all your major bills; it’s more convenient, and it doesn’t create more waste.
Always Try To Reuse
You can easily fall into a bad routine of simply using something and then throwing it away. What you should do instead is always consider secondary uses for all the items you use. You can reuse pretty much anything made of plastic as something else. For example, you can reuse something like a water bottle as a plant starter. This does take a little more effort than simply throwing the bottle away, but the “reuse” part of “reduce, reuse, recycle” is often the part people forget. Giving something new life will prevent it from becoming just another piece of trash in a landfill.
Compost Everything That’s Biodegradable
Composting is an old practice that involves the breakdown of biodegradable materials. This doesn’t have to be a very involved process. All you really need is something airtight in which to keep biodegradable material for a while and a place to put the compost. You can put everything from banana peels to onion skins in a compost pile. Compost makes an incredible fertilizer that you can use to grow a garden or simply spread over your lawn. We’re trying to get close to a zero-waste lifestyle, so even repurposing organic material becomes more important than ever.
Lower Your Trash Intake
One of the best things you can do to lower your trash intake if you haven’t already is to insist on using your own bags for grocery shopping. Try to refuse any sort of extra packaging on items that don’t need it. Bring your own cup to coffee shops to avoid having to use a disposable one. There are lots of ways you can reduce how much trash you produce. Just be on the lookout for any excessive things you might have to eventually throw away.
Repair Broken or Damaged Things Before Replacing Them
If you’re the handy sort, consider trying to repair anything that breaks or becomes damaged before you just decide to throw it out. Broken items tend to clog up landfills in a major way, and unfortunately, a lot of them probably could have simply been repaired instead of tossed. The temptation to get something brand-new is very strong, but “zero-waste” means making the harder decisions and not taking the easy way out.
It’s comforting to think that when you put something in the recycle bin, it’s completely removed from the trash cycle and recycled perfectly one hundred percent of the time. Sadly, that isn’t always how it works. Recycling isn’t a perfect science by any means. Even though recycling has its drawbacks, it’s still better to continue recycling rather than give up and send your trash straight to a landfill. Keep on top of your recycling, but try to reduce the number of things you buy and use that would require recycling in the first place.
Donate What You Can
If you’ve found you can’t avoid getting rid of certain things, the best way to do it is to donate those items rather than trash them. This is especially important for things such as clothes, which you may not realize have a detrimental effect on the environment as they break down in landfills. Donations not only help the planet but also help your fellow humans. Extra furniture and home goods also make excellent donations that can really help someone in need while reducing your carbon footprint on the planet.
Reconsider Your Car
Cars are integral to most people’s lives, but unfortunately, they’re also terrible waste machines. By adding to the planet’s ever-growing dependence on gasoline, your car may be doing much more harm than you realize. If you have the ability, switching to a hybrid or completely electric car has become easier than ever, and doing so may be a good alternative to continuing to use your traditional car. If those options are out of your price range, consider something smaller, such as a moped or even a bicycle, to take you to places that aren’t too far away. There’s no need to start up the car just to travel a short distance.
These are just a few ways for how to get closer to a zero-waste lifestyle. 2nd Avenue prides itself on reducing the amount of waste in the world by selling used clothing and household items to new users. If you’d like to find some wonderful new clothes or furniture that won’t add to our planet’s waste problem, come check out our thrift store in Bladensburg, MD, or any of our other locations. We are always on the lookout for new ways to help our planet, and together, we can make a big difference.