I used to be a casual environmentalist – always opting for the green washed brands (made with plant based cleansers! What does that even really mean?) or picking the thing that had slightly less packaging. I would reach for items that looked a little more recyclable, and find new ways to save money or diy-hack things because as an entrepreneur, you could use every last extra penny.
It wasn’t until I moved into my sixth apartment in six years that I decided enough was enough. The mountain of packaging that enclosed my lovely new furniture, or the many things that I ordered on Amazon sent me reeling. I didn’t like knowing how much crap I was sending to land fill with my snap decisions and need for immediacy. So, I decided to slow down and think about what I was doing. It’s funny how one little decision can make a big difference. Here are the things I decided to do:
Evaluate your Waste
Remember when you were growing up with your parents and they would ask you if you really needed something? Ask yourself this every time you look to buy something new or replace something you already have. With buzz words like minimalism and spark joy / Marie Kondo, you’re bound to be able to release your old behaviors. It sounds gross, but think about what items you’re throwing in to the garbage every single day / week / month. Think about how often you take out the garbage…how much of that is necessary?
Figure out Easy Swaps
Can you live with using beeswax wraps instead of cling wrap? Are you able to maybe go without aluminum foil and opt for some oil on a Pyrex container or dutch oven? I found that slowly removing my need for single use items like paper towel (microfibre cloth), zip lock bags (reusable containers), and many many more, actually made my life easier. I didn’t have to throw out as many things, or buy as many garbage bags to throw them out in. Be inventive, you got this.
It doesn’t hurt to find great resources, apps, and websites that are visually pleasing and convenient. I love Good On You because it’s a beautiful library for you to look up materials, brands, and learn more about your footprint. If you have a local app for the area you live in like TOWaste (we’re Toronto people), that’s a handy way to look up proper disposal.
It’s nice to feel like you don’t live on an island alone! Find friends that you can swap fun zero waste tips with, or join a community of like minded people (Bunz is an example of one in Toronto). There are plenty of Facebook groups, YouTube communities, and Instagram influencers to follow.