The fashion industry is the second largest polluter in the world, after the oil industry. With that in mind, fashion brands have worked to shape a more ethical and sustainable future through eco-fashion. But it is not just the producers who have to change in order to create a more sustainable world; we as consumers need to adapt to creating less waste, or zero waste even better.
The benefits of a zero waste lifestyle go well beyond the obvious environmental impact. Living a life that creates zero waste reduces pollution in the air, water and soil by keeping toxins and waste out of landfills but on a more personal level, living zero waste can save you money, help you eat healthier and make you more self-sufficient.
Don’t think living a zero waste lifestyle is a viable option for yourself? Consider Lauren Singer of zero waste lifestyle blog Trash is for Tossers. Singer is a young New Yorker who started living zero waste back in 2012 after watching a fellow Environmental Studies classmate bring a lunch to class every day in a plastic bag or a plastic takeout container. It made her think “we are supposed to be the future of this planet and here we are with our trash, messing it up.”
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Walking or biking the 20 blocks each way to the farmers market every Saturday to get my vegetables and compost my food scraps is my routine and quite honestly my favorite part of my week. It calms me, it connects me to the seasons because I know what local food is growing and I can tell what the weather has been like based on the cracks in the tomatoes or the stiffness of the greens. I’m excited to be sharing this very special and sacred part of my life for #doyoustories. Eating local, seasonal food is nicer to my body, better on the planet, supports ethical farming practices because I know the farmers I am buying from and how they grow their food and support their employees, and it is always a surprise and a challenge when I have to think of things to cook with what I buy. You could win a chance to chill with @caradelevingne by telling your own story and entering the #contest – upload a photo/video of your own #doyoustories, tag @puma @caradelevingne @pumawomen & make sure your profile is public #sponsored #farmersmarket #doyou #liveyourvalues #liveyourtruth #whatmakesyouhappy #routine #local #seasonal
According to Singer’s blog, zero waste means not producing any garbage that could be sent to a landfill, yet recycling and composting are acceptable. Switching to a zero waste lifestyle won’t happen overnight; like anything, it’s a process that takes time and dedication. Here are a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when it comes to transitioning into a zero-waste lifestyle.
Establish your why.
Everyone who decides to turn their lifestyle into one of zero waste has a reason why. Be sure to establish your own reason so you can remind yourself of it as motivation. Whether you’re a surfer who’s annoyed by seeing plastic in the ocean or you’re someone who’s tired of spending $5 on a latte every morning, always come back to your why.
Go through your trash.
But actually! You should dig through your trash before starting your zero waste journey to access how much and what kind of waste you’re producing. After doing so, you’ll be able to focus on what areas you’re making the most waste and go from there. It’s okay to start small and focus solely on one aspect when transitioning into a zero waste lifestyle as every step will count in the long run.
Make living zero waste a priority.
The idea of switching to a zero waste lifestyle can seem overwhelming, but once you break it down and focus on one area at a time you’ll find it becomes much more doable. Take the time to make living zero waste a priority. For example, prioritize making coffee at home and meal prep so you’re not constantly buying food that comes in take-out containers. Living zero waste can seem like a difficult adjustment, but if it’s important to you, you’ll make it a priority.
Replace items as they run out.
Just because you’ve decided to live a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to buy every zero waste alternative to your current products at once. If you have the cash and the desire to do so then go for it, but that’s not necessarily an option for everyone. Purchase zero waste alternatives once your non-zero waste items run out. Afterall, buying something and then throwing it out unused is pretty wasteful too.
Recycle, donate or sell old/unused items.
Remember, your goal is to create zero waste so throwing your old items in the trash starts that process off on the wrong foot. The goal of zero waste living is to keep matter out of landfills. So make sure to recycle or compost anything you can and try to find innovative ways to reuse old items. You can even donate, sell or gift your old items to friends.
In short, living zero waste can be easy if you keep these five simple rules in mind: Refuse what you don’t need. Reduce what you do need. Reuse by using reusables. Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reduce. Rot – or compost – the rest.
What do you think about living a zero-waste lifestyle? Let us know in the comments.
Featured image: Instagram/@trashisfortossers
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