Z enostavnimi koraki do zero waste načina življenja

Easy Steps to Start a Zero Waste Lifestyle

5 min

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19. July 2021
Easy Steps to Start a Zero Waste Lifestyle 1 Veronika Mikec je redna študentka, pisateljica blogov in bodoča revolucionarka.
Easy Steps to Start a Zero Waste Lifestyle 1 Veronika Mikec is a full-time student, writer, and future revolutionary.

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I know, I know, you’ve read the title and now you may be wondering what ‘zero waste’ is all about. What does this phrase actually mean? It is an environmental strategy with which each individual can contribute to a cleaner environment. The main idea of the movement is to use only those products with which we do not create waste – or rather, we create waste that can be reused, and thus contribute to the cyclical movement of materials and, consequently, less waste.

The average person ingests about 50,000 microplastic particles each year – and no, this statistic doesn’t refer to people with unusual addictions. It’s about me, you, all of us. These particles are consumed through countless meals – yoghurt in a plastic cup, a sandwich wrapped in plastic foil, fruit stored in plastic bags… Microparticles make their way into our food; however, we also find them in water. However, our waste, especially plastic, pollutes the habitat of countless species of animals and plants as well.

This is why more and more people are choosing to change their lifestyle to an environmentally friendly one – while the average individual is responsible for producing about 680 kg of trash per year, those who avoid unnecessary waste produce just 200-500 grams. For those who are visual learners – 700 kg is the average weight of a wild Asian water buffalo, while 500 grams of trash can be collected in a mason jar. So, the difference is quite big.

So How Do You Change Your Habits?

It is important to realize at the outset that it will be difficult. These are a huge number of small changes, which at first glance seem quite trivial and simple, but soon turn out to be difficult. Even though you don’t feel like you’re creating excess waste in your daily routine right now, you’ll soon find yourself to be in the wrong. Coffee-to-go cups, disposable plastic bags, pastry bags… These are just three types of waste that each of us throws away several times a week.

There is no way you will be able to achieve a zero-waste lifestyle in a single day – the adjustment can take several months before you actually start consciously avoiding unnecessary rubbish. Even if you don’t end up with a perfect zero waste lifestyle in the end, that’s not what’s most important – even the smallest changes contribute to a cleaner and healthier environment. You never know, maybe with small changes in your life you will also inspire someone else to take the same path.

To help you with taking the first steps to a new lifestyle, we have prepared some tips to help you adjust parts of your life.

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Five Main Rules

To make it easier to get used to a new waste-free lifestyle, it’s important to follow the top five rules that actually describe this lifestyle. They are called:

1. REJECT what you don’t need.
2. REDUCE spending what you need.
3. REUSE what you can.
4. RECYCLE what you cannot reject, reduce or reuse.
5. COMPOST what is left (biological waste).

This way, it’s much easier to keep track of whether you’re actually living by the rules of a waste-free lifestyle. But it’s not just about knowing the theory; here are three concrete examples on how to transform your life.

Start Using Eco Alternatives

It’s almost unbelievable how much plastic waste is thrown away daily! Plastic bags, straws, bottles, plastic cups… All of these products could easily be replaced by sustainable alternatives! For instance, instead of plastic bags use cotton ones, replace your non-degradable toothbrush with one made from bamboo, which can be recycled. Instead of having to buy water every time you visit the store, invest in an eco-friendly water bottle. Not only will you be contributing to a cleaner environment with these changes – you will also save a bunch of money!

Switch Up Your Bathroom Habits

When it comes to your bathroom, there’s a lot of changes you can make – for example, you can use uncoloured toilet paper, which is 100% to be recycled. Instead of using expensive deodorant and toothpaste, you can opt for (more body-friendly) baking soda, replace liquid soap with a bar one, which you may even find being sold without packaging. As for period accessories, you may want to purchase a menstrual cup, which will replace a 10-year supply of pads and tampons! You can also replace toxic cleaners with vinegar, cleaning alcohol, and baking soda.

Change Up Your Closet

If you are serious about a zero-life lifestyle, it is absolutely necessary that you make changes to your wardrobe as well. It is often hard to part from articles of clothing, especially if they hold some kind of sentimental value. It’s even more difficult to avoid the many sales that offer new pieces of clothing every week. To make it easier to break this strong bond and finally get rid of that pair of pants that has been collecting dust for years, ask yourself the following questions:

  1. When was the last time I wore this? If your answer is a year or more ago (or even longer that six months ago), then it’s high time to get rid of it. Don’t chuck it in the bin, though – give it to various organizations that will make sure that your T-shirt make their way into the right hands.
  2. Can I use this piece to create more than five outfits? The best articles of clothing are those that are useful – in other words, look for clothing that can be combined with the rest of the wardrobe. Keep an eye out for scarves, gloves, hats, and other accessories, which can be used to do exactly that.
  3. Does this still fit me? We often lose a piece of clothing, only to find it at the back of the closet – but when we find it, we realise it no longer fits! Sometimes the size is too big, other times too small. If we want to keep a specific piece of clothing, we can take it to a seamstress – otherwise we give it to people in need.

Evaluate what you don’t want to keep, what clothes you don’t wear, and what pieces you really don’t need. All those you are willing to give up, simply donate to second-hand clothing stores or simply donate them to your family members. Otherwise, you can also open an online store and sell some of the pieces – especially when it comes to designer clothes.

We hope that in this short post has introduced you to a slightly newer phenomenon called zero waste. Why not begin your zero-waste journey today? Even if you start with extremely small changes, these can lead to something bigger in the years to come. Why not? We have only one planet – it’s our duty to take care of it.

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