Trends come and go, but the zero-waste movement is here to stay.
I recently came across Bea Johnson (@zerowastehome) who is a trailblazer in the zero-waste world. She devised 5 rules that help me and countless others minimize our negative impact on our planet. These practices also ended up saving me money and forced me to be creative while helping me to eliminate toxic chemicals from my life.
This is a solid guideline for anyone interested in going zero waste which, in turn, can bring more fulfillment, simplicity & happiness to each of us and, by extension, to the world at large.
FIVE RULES OF ZERO WASTE
- REFUSE what you don't need.
- REDUCE what you do need.
I've started to make alot of my own products at home which has turned out to be quite economical, fun and healthier. For example, I make my own produce wash with vinegar and/or baking soda and water. Toothpaste is easy: mix baking soda, coconut oil and peppermint essential oil.
My favorite thing to make is body scrub. Simply combine any oil of your choice (I like fractionated coconut oil that stays liquid regardless of temperature), your exfoliant (i.e. used coffee grounds, sugar or salt) and essential oil (orange is nice with coffee but any flavor(s) will work). The measurements are really dependent upon your personal preference which also makes DIY products better. You customize how you want it, it's free of toxic chemicals and you pay a fraction of the price.
I also love making my own lip scrub, which is basically like the body scrub except I prefer using olive oil and coconut sugar. My lips have always been extremely dry and chapped and no lip balm seemed to help. But since using this lip scrub before I brush my teeth about once a week, my lips have been so moisturized I don't need lip balm anymore so that's even less waste!
You can also make your own meals and juice your own juice which reduces waste, saves you money and entails less energy to produce the packaging. Again, you can customize how much and what combinations you like.
Here I made shots by simply juicing fresh ginger, lemon and apple. I then added turmeric powder (you can juice fresh if you have it) and black pepper and put them in these reusable glass bottles.
I also started utilizing reusable containers, fabric towels instead of paper towels, safety razors and reusable cups.
I always carry a reusable water bottle with me. I adore this one is by Glacce (@glaccebottles) which comes with a protective sleeve (not pictured) to keep it safe.
Using a metal straw is another easy swap. Or you could opt for a glass straw.
I bring my TIALS tote bag with me wherever I go just in case. That way I don't have to use or buy plastic or even recyclable bags because I already have my own I can always reuse.
- RECYCLE what you can't refuse, reduce or reuse.
- ROT or compost everything else.
I would also add a 6th rule:
- GOING VEGAN
As a former die hard omnivore, I never thought I'd go vegan. It's been 4.5 years (since 1/1/14) that I've been vegan and I went raw vegan on 1/1/17. To me, vegansim, especially raw veganism, goes hand in hand with being zero waste. Both lifestyles are about eliminating harm we cause on others and ourselves by making simple changes. One of the best parts of my relatively new lifestyle is it has encouraged me to live more simply, healthily and more minimalist. In doing so, I have become more conscientious of my own actions and how they affect not only myself but also others including people, animals and our planet. Most mistakenly believe that this means all enjoyment in life is lost. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, I have never been more appreciative of what I have and, most importantly, of who I am. I have discovered I am so much more capable than I ever thought before. I am finally realizing my true potential and everyone can do the same in their everyday lives in a myriad of different ways in varying degrees. One way is by adopting a zero waste or low impact lifestyle. Rome wasn't built in a day and going zero waste is definitely not something that can be done overnight. It is a long process of learning, but there are many resources available.
No one is perfect and there is no such thing as absolute zero waste, but we can each make more of an effort and see passed ourselves. We can make a huge difference in our own lives and on the planet. We just have to decide whether that difference will be positive or negative. One of my favorite quotes is by the late Jacque Fresco who said, "If you think we can't change the world, it just means you're not one of those that will."
Here's to being a force of change for good.