“You will be well on your way to becoming the zero waste warrior you dream to be”
Globally, we dump over 2 billion tonnes of trash every year and sadly, the majority of us have adopted an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude when it comes to waste. But it is now becoming common knowledge that our waste has to go somewhere, it doesn’t just disappear into nothing. Our trash is literally littering our Earth, it’s difficult to find anywhere that hasn’t been affected by our throw-away mentality. The streets, the landfills, the atmosphere and the oceans are full and are struggling.
What better New Year’s resolution to make than to go Zero Waste! Zero Waste isn’t just a current trend, it’s a lifestyle. And thankfully more and more people are converting to this way of life in an effort to reduce their impact on their local environment and our precious Earth.
YOUR JANUARY 2018 ZERO WASTE GUIDE
It isn’t always easy though, making any kind of changes in one’s life. Big or small, change can be daunting and overwhelming especially if you don’t really know where to start.
So, to make this resolution easier for you to keep, I’ve created a zero waste guide for the entire month of January. For each day there will be a new task. Some will be easy, others will take a little preparation and research. You can combine some of the days into one to give yourself a day off during the month and all of these are achievable at home or whilst traveling.
And remember that not everything happens overnight and some of these things will take a little practice. It’s important not to beat yourself up if you make a mistake. You can only do your best to be the best you can be with the resources you have. And thank you for caring enough to give this a go!
31 DAYS TO ZERO WASTE!
(Find the downloadable calender at the bottom)
Day 1. Start using a reusable water bottle and say no to single use plastic bottles – Stainless steel, glass or BPA free plastic. My favourite is the Water-to-go Water bottle as it comes with a filter so you can fill it up from any water source (except seawater).
Day 2. Use reusable shopping bags at the supermarket. Make sure you have several so you won’t run out and be tempted to use plastic bags. Leave them in your car and your handbag.
Day 3. Swap out your plastic toothbrush for a bamboo one. I like the Surthrival brand. The handle and the bristles are made from bamboo so everything is completely compostable.
Day 4. Stop using regular tissues and serviettes and start using handkerchiefs for your nose and hands. Have enough so that you are not reusing dirty ones.
Day 5. If you’ve not already, start recycling. A quick internet search will tell you which of your household waste items are recyclable.
Day 6. It’s the weekend! Get involved in a community clean up project. Beach cleans are happening often and are a great way to get to know others in the community and also stop toxic trash ending up in the water. If there are no projects happening, don’t be afraid to go solo and clean up on your own, you’d be surprised how many people like to help once they see what you are doing.
Day 7. If you haven’t already, start composting. It’s surprising how much waste can be composted, it’s not just about your food scraps.
Day 8. Say no to straws! They are completely unnecessary!
Day 9. Get a library card. Libraries are a great resource not only for books but also dvd’s, cd’s and community information. There is no need to buy these items new if you can borrow them from the library.
Day 10. Educate yourself! One of the most important tools for going zero waste is knowledge. Be sure to educate yourself on the topic as much as possible. Read books and blogs, watch documentaries and listen to podcasts. There is so much information available that will help make your transition to a zero waste lifestyle a smooth one.
Day 11. Use reusable fresh produce bags for your fruits, vegetables and grains (and anything else you want). Again, have enough that you won’t need to substitute with plastic bags. Make your own or buy them online and in shops.
Day 12. Keep a reusable takeaway container in your car and/or handbag for leftovers when eating out.
Day 13. It’s the weekend! Close down all your devices and unplug them. Spend the day outside and reconnect with nature. Walk barefoot in the forest or at the beach. Take your dog for a walk. Have a picnic at the park. Explore somewhere new. Save on electricity and your sanity.
Day 14. Eat out! A great zero waste loophole is to have a meal at a restaurant or cafe. Remember to ask for no straw with your drink and no paper serviettes and keep your reusable takeaway container handy for your leftovers.
Day 15. Swap out your plastic shaving razor for a reusable and lifelong Safety Razor.
Day 16. Wherever possible, stop using your car and walk or cycle instead, the environment and your waistline will thank you.
Day 17. Reduce your paper waste by saying no to junk mail and switching to paperless billing.
Day 18. Buy in Bulk! Start buying as much as you can loose; food, toiletries, cleaning products etc. Research where your closest bulk store is and go nuts. If there are no bulk food stores near you, get to your local markets, grow your own (if you can) or consider changing your diet. Check out this blog post for more ideas.
Day 19. Store your bulk goods in glass or aluminium containers. Organise your food storage into easy to identify containers. This will help keep your loose food fresh in the fridge and the pantry.
Day 20. It’s the weekend! Plant a tree! “3.5 billion to 7 billion trees are cut down every year! Food and Agriculture Organization’s 2016 State of the Forests report revealed that 7 million hectares of forest are lost annually while agricultural land expands by 6 million. Only 4 billion hectares of forest remain worldwide according to Global Forest Resources Assessment 2015.” (1) If you can’t plant a tree, get in your own garden and plant some fruit and veggies or some herbs. You don’t need a lot of space and sometimes, you don’t even need an actual garden.
Day 21. Use washable cloths or rags to clean your house and your dishes instead of disposable sponges and paper towels.
Day 22. Create your ‘Zero Waste Toolkit‘. Put together a bunch of your must-have zero waste items that will make your day to day life a lot easier and leave them in your car or your day bag or anywhere you may need it.
Day 23. Girls – Switch out your tampons and pads for a menstrual cup and/or reusable, washable fabric pads. Guys – have a day off (lucky you)!
Day 24. Invest in a good quality set of reusable cutlery. Camping stores normally sell sets for a reasonable price. These will come in handy more times than you may think!
Day 25. Visit your local farmer’s market. The best fresh produce always comes from the local growers. Here is a chance to get to know the farmers in your area and support your local economy whilst eating great, fresh food without packaging.
Day 26. Minimise and downsize! This is a big project and doesn’t have to be done in one day. Use today to begin downsizing one particular section of your house. For example: your wardrobe. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in the last 6 months or ever. Give them to your family and friends, sell them or donate them to the thrift store. Do this with every section of your house/life and immediately start to feel the weight lifting off your shoulders.
Day 27. It’s the weekend! Go Shopping! Shop for clothing and other items in thrift stores to reuse, recycle and upcycle instead of buying new. These days you can get anything you need from thrift stores or any secondhand marketplace. And just because they are secondhand, doesn’t mean they are of less quality.
Day 28. Have a DIY afternoon. Start making your own cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning products and just about anything you need. It’s completely possible to do this zero waste by buying ingredients in bulk or recyclable packaging. It’s also a great way to avoid all the nasty chemicals found in most over the counter products. And it’s also a lot of fun!
Day 29. If you drink tea at home, start drinking loose tea with a tea infusor. If you drink coffee, start drinking fresh ground coffee in a french press.
Day 30. Save water! Take shorter showers and turn the water off whilst brushing your teeth and shaving.
Day 31. Join an online or on the ground zero waste community. This is a great way to become further involved in the zero waste movement, learn more about how to live zero waste and help to keep yourself accountable. Check out Facebook for some great groups or create your own! I really value the support I receive from my zero waste community.
This month is just the tip of the zero waste iceberg but I promise you, this is a fantastic start and by the end you will be well on your way to becoming the zero waste warrior you dream to be, inspiring not only yourself but everyone around you and greatly reducing your impact on the Earth.
Good luck and don’t hesitate to ask me any questions if you need to!
Love Kat xx