Going Zero Waste - 20 Ideas for Consumers
There isn’t a magic formula to go zero waste, it’s all about being creative and shopping wisely. That said, there are some cool ideas you could try! As a consumer, you just have to pay attention to the things you buy and throw away.
Although some people think that having a zero waste lifestyle is expensive, it can save you money in the long run! Additionally, it isn’t a difficult habit.
If you don’t know how to start, below you will find 20 easy ideas to become a conscious consumer and achieve your zero waste goals!
1. Replace Disposable Items with Reusable Options
Take a look at the disposable items you usually waste and start replacing them with reusable and durable alternatives. But more importantly, try to avoid single-use plastics like straws, bags, cups, and bottles at all costs.
For example, instead of buying several plastic water bottles each week, invest in a reusable bottle that will last for years! You can also replace other disposable items, like batteries, cotton pads, and more.
2. Prefer Compostable Alternatives
There are some disposable items you can’t avoid. For example, you will need to discard your toothbrush after a few months of use, whether it’s a plastic one or not. For those products, a better idea is to choose compostable materials.
You can use bamboo toothbrushes, biodegradable sponges, bamboo plasters, and many other products to compost at home.
3. Give Second-hand Stores a Try
Do you need to buy something? You probably don’t need it to be completely new. Buying second-hand products is a great idea to reuse useful items that otherwise would end up as waste. Besides, you can find unique things!
4. Prepare a Zero Waste Kit
One of the most common mistakes of zero waste consumers is forgetting their reusable products at home when going out. A great idea to prevent this is to carry a zero waste kit with you every time you go out.
5. Go Paperless
Another good zero waste idea is to reduce the amount of paper you usually discard. You can refuse to accept promotional brochures, ask for no receipts when possible, replace tissues with handkerchieves, use cloth napkins, and so on!
6. Repair Damaged Items
When something breaks or is in bad condition, most people would buy a new item to replace it. But a better zero waste option would be trying to repair it first. If you can’t repair something on your own, find someone who can help you. For example, tailors, cobblers, carpenters, and others!
7. Donate Things You Won’t Use Any More
If you have items that you won’t use any more and they’re in good condition, donate them instead of sending them to landfills. Remember that other people might find them useful. With this idea, you will support a market where nothing is wasted!
8. Buy Local Products
Keep in mind that goods transported over large distances require more energy and packaging than local products. As a zero waste consumer, you should give locally made goods a try to reduce waste and support local businesses!
9. Prefer Loose Veggies and Fruits
Food packaging is the most problematic waste to avoid. An easy idea to start cutting down on food packaging is choosing loose veggies and fruits instead of buying them wrapped in plastic.
10. Give Ugly Fruits and Veggies a Chance
If you want to fight food waste, you could start buying some “ugly” fruits and vegetables. Think about how many people avoid them just because they don’t look perfect. If nobody buys them, they will end up as waste!
11. Store Your Food Properly to Prevent Food Waste
Once you get home from food shopping, make sure to store your food properly to avoid spoilage! Separate foods that promote ripening, like bananas and tomatoes, from sensitive foods like apples and leafy greens!
12 When Buying Online, Ask for Plastic-free Packaging
When possible, cut down on plastic packaging from online orders and ask for cardboard or paper instead. If you can’t avoid plastics, a good zero waste idea is to reuse them.
13. Do Your Research to Avoid “Greenwashing”
Nowadays, there are many products labelled as “eco-friendly” or “natural” even though they’re harmful to the environment. Before buying some of these products, find out what makes them better for the environment than other options.
14. Find Zero Waste Grocery Stores
Another great idea to cut down on food packaging is going to zero waste grocery stores near you. You can bring your own containers and reusable bags to buy what you need!
15. Repurpose Old Fabrics
If you have some old sheets or clothes, consider using them as rags or turning them into produce bags. With this simple action, you will reduce waste and you could even save money!
16. Prepare Your Food
Ordering takeaway is an easy solution to avoid cooking. Yet, it’s unhealthy and creates too much waste. You could skip takeaway some days and prepare healthy dishes at home instead!
17. Opt for Homemade Gifts
A fantastic idea to give some original gifts and reduce waste is getting creative with your skills. You could gift some homemade cookies, poems, and so on!
18 Choose Experiences Over Things
Enjoying new experiences is more zero waste than buying and accumulating things you won’t use. Stop buying meaningless things so that you can go to a concert, travel to another city, or any other!
19. Before Buying Something, Make Sure You Truly Need It
As a zero waste consumer, you should always avoid buying impulsively. Think twice before buying something. Do you really need it? Will you use it more than once?
20. Don’t forget Your Reusable Bags
Finally, put your reusable bags near your keys so that you never forget to take them with you when going shopping!
Now it’s time to put into practice some of these easy zero waste ideas in your daily life!