BY DAWN FRANCOM
It’s only been a few months since I’ve heard of the term “Zero-Waste”. Basically, it’s a lifestyle that greatly reduces your negative environmental impact. It was first brought to my attention from a documentary: The Clean Bin Project. The couple had decided to live a year waste free while they documented their efforts and challenges. Watching how hard they worked really encouraged me to make the change to dump the trash.
When I first joined this movement, I had a few initial thoughts:
· Why is what I’m already doing not enough?
· Waoh! This is going to be hard!
· This is exactly how I’m meant to live.
I used to pride myself on how eco-friendly I was. I recycled, I became vegetarian, and I took shorter showers than most. I was completely content with my contribution. Little did I know, it was just the beginning! With everything I’ve learned, I now know that these are not enough. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to antagonize those who only do these things, every little bit counts. But come on, recycling?! It’s basically the social equivalent of wearing pants outside; you just do it. I’m here to show simple ways to integrate these ideas into your lives without the feeling of being completely overwhelmed. Let me do the hard work, so you don’t have to.
1. Always keep a reusable cloth bag close.
This tip cannot be stressed enough. Whether it’s in the car, in your purse, or kept at the front door of your home. This is an easy enough action. Last minute shopping happens. And when it does, it’s important to be well armed with the most basic of tools.
2. Carrying a water bottle or reusable coffee mug.
Plastic water bottles are pretty much the scourge of the environment. Most end up in landfills or waterways. Keeping a good reusable bottle around will really cut your need to buy (quick shout-out to all the cash you’ll be saving in the long run). Same goes for the morning coffee run. I love a good caffeine jolt before work, but I enjoy it even more in my mug. It is guilt free consumption at its finest.
3. No plastic cover on your takeaway coffee.
Sometimes, life happens and we forget our mug, or we had no extra space for it, or *insert excuse here*. In these cases, a simple trick is to deny the plastic lid. While I’m having a catch up chat with my besties, the cover’s off anyways. So why grab one to begin with? It’s not as good of course as the reusable, but at least the impact is lessened.
4. Say NO to straws.
This is possibly the easiest of my suggestions. A large number of restaurants or bars won’t recycle them due to high volume of customers and the lack of ease. So make it easy and refuse them in the first place. (My life has in no way depreciated since I’ve stopped using them, in fact, it has sparked many lively conversations about the subject!)
5. Refuse “food garnishes”.
It’s happened many times where I’m out eating and, although there’s no food left on my plate, there is still stuff that will be thrown away. Those plastic picks to keep burgers together; or the wax paper that is needlessly used to wrap them. Ask your server while ordering if there’s anything that inedible on the plate. Explain what you want, and they will deliver. I have never had someone tell me it was not possible; and guess what? My food was still delicious!
See! Five super simple tricks to get you going on the Zero-Waste path.