It’s 2018! I’m super excited for the new year and I’m sure many of you are as well. The new year is for lifestyle changes for most people including myself. My goal for the posts in January is to share little tips to help you set the tone right for 2018. So lots of lifestyle tips, simple living inspirations and clean beauty tips and ideas. For this post, I want to share some simple swaps for eco-friendly living. If you’re a beginner and ever wondered about zero waste or living more intentionally, this is a great place to start.
If you’re wondering what the heck “zero waste” means, it’s basically a lifestyle ideology where you prioritize reducing and eliminating waste. This is important for those who are choosing to live a more conscious and eco-friendly lifestyle. If you follow a lot of the zero-waste lifestyle bloggers, YouTubers or Instagrammers, you might be intimated by how extreme some of the are. That’s understandable for a beginner. But do keep in mind that everyone starts somewhere and that is what this post is about.
What matters is that you are aware and making the conscious effort to make a difference. I know there are many people who don’t want to be bothered by little things like these. However, I hope you take a minute to reconsider and understand the effect our habits make on the planet.
Why should you even consider going zero waste?
We generate around 1. 3 billion tons of waste annually. This number is expected to reach 4 billion by the year 2100. Of this number, the US alone generates 190 million tons per year. We also spend close to $200 billion on solid waste management every year. This is troubling.
For me, living more intentionally meant that I had to think of where all my wastes were being disposed. Yes, I have the waste company coming weekly to pick up my wrists but where do they go? What do they do with them?. When I started reading more about this, I discovered that the US alone has over 3000 landfills. Most of our wastes both compostable and noncompostable end up in these landfills.
When I first started watching videos of zero waste lifestyle, I thought that was just too cumbersome. But when I started thinking of the effect my simple lifestyle change would make, it was a no-brainer for me. The swaps I will be sharing below are ones that I have personally adopted. They’re simple enough for just about everybody and are a great start for anyone looking to be more mindful.
So here we go with the swaps…..
- Rather than zip lock bags, use a compostable food wrap to store solid food items in your fridge. These are easy a to use and can be used multiple times. I actually read that they make your food taste fresher.
- Invest in a reusable water bottle and carry it with you. This prevents you from using plastic cups and most Styrofoam cups used to serve drinks in public spaces. If you’re a coffee drinker, you can invest in a good coffee/travel mug. I currently use a water bottle from KOR and a travel mug from S’Well which I use to enjoy my tea when I’m out and about. I use this water bottle both at home and outside. It really does improve my water intake while allowing me to reduce my use of plastic/styrofoam cuts when I’m outside- a win-win for me.
- Going grocery shopping? Take your own bag with you. Think of how many grocery bags you bring home from each grocery trip. Those bags also eventually end up in landfills and in our water bodies- affecting sea life. If you go grocery shopping and forget to bring your own bag, request a paper bag instead of plastic. I leave a shopping bag in my car at all times for those spontaneous unplanned grocery runs which I honestly try to avoid.
- Compostable toothbrushes: One of the saddest realizations for me was reading about just how much toothbrushes we dump every year. In the United States alone, about 1 billion toothbrushes are dumped out every year and these brushes are made from materials that are NEITHER compostable nor recyclable. This is equivalent to 50 million pounds of waste- all ending up in landfills. I switched to eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes. There are lots of brands available and for different price points. I bought mine from Amazon which was affordable and from an eco-friendly brand. The body is made of bamboo and the bristles are compostable.
- Go paperless when possible. I receive most of my bills now online and when I go to stores I opt for email receipts when possible. I am learning to take my school notes with my laptop and hoping to switch over by the end of this year. Even though I published a post about my must-have planners for slaying your 2018, I am only using these to build self-discipline and will work on reducing it to just one or two by next year. I also now prefer to purchase e-books as opposed to paper books. If you prepare paper books, perhaps you could consider renting from your local library.
- Switch from paper towels to reusable rags. Rags were what we used when I was younger and it worked for us. Switching back to rags last year made me realize just how luxurious it is actually. Not only does this help the planet but it also makes your kitchen and home look so luxurious. If you are consistent with keeping them clean after every use, you won’t have to worry about germs piling up.
- Shop second hand instead of brand new. I am a new second-hand advocate and wrote about how I fell in love with second-hand shopping. Buying from ethical brands can be expensive. I know this is not the easiest to do for anyone who’s used to buying “cheap” clothes from brands like H&M. This is why I think buying second hand is an easier swap when it comes to clothes. Not only does this work well for the planet but it also is affordable.
There are many swaps and other ways to be more eco-friendly and zero waste. Remember this is just zero waste swaps for beginners so it’s a nice place to start. You could research other ways to be more intentional with your lifestyle and make it more eco-friendly. It makes a huge difference.
I hope this post was useful to you guys. Remember, if you ever have any questions or need encouragement, I’m always available! Send me a message.
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See ya Later!