With the promise of a new year, comes the excitement of new goals to tackle. I know for many of us, 2020 was a hard year and while things aren’t yet back to normal, it is a great time for a mental reset and a new focus.
For many, that focus will include changing our impact on the environment. And whether you are new to the low impact and zero waste world, or like me, are looking to refocus after a lot of unintentional waste in 2020, I think it’s time to start with the basics. Here are 7 easy changes you can make today to reduce your impact on our planet.
Say no to a straw.
You might think you don’t even use straws, but once you are looking for them, you will begin to notice how often you actually receive them. Whether its out and about in restaurants and bars, or with your take away order, often you will get one without even thinking about it. When you order a drink, just remember to say “No straw please”.
Say no to plastic bags.
Only buying one item? Just carry it. If you have more, bring your own reusable bag. I love my fold up bags that don’t take up a lot of space because then, you are always prepared for a last minute shop.
Bring Your Own Water Bottle.
That’s crazy! Not to mention that these often sit in the sun, leaching plastic into the water that you are drinking. Grab a reusable bottle. My recommendation would be stainless steel.
Clean up your coffee habit.
There are definitely mixed messages when it comes to single use coffee cups. Some say they can be recycled, but the truth is that while they can, the recycling process is highly complex and very costly. This means that often, they simply are not recycled. To be on the safe side, if you drink a lot of coffee, why not pick up a reusable coffee cup? (I also think hot drinks taste better from glass anyway.)
Take Away Packaging and cutlery.
As much as possible, use your own container and bring your own cutlery. It really doesn’t take up that much extra space, and it often starts a great conversation with the staff where you shop. Where it’s not possible, try to support businesses that have sustainable and recyclable packaging, and let other businesses know that you are making this choice, and how they can get your business back.
I also bring a reusable container with me when I am going to a restaurant, just in case I cant finish my meal.
If you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
This sounds like a minimalism tip, more than something to help someone go Zero Waste – but trust me – the fewer items you bring in to your life, the less you have to worry about your carbon footprint. Simply use what you have – even if it’s a little unconventional. I would love to hear below in the comments the most unconventional items you have repurposed in your life.
Reduce Your Junk Mail.
And any other paperwork you find yourself throwing into the recycling. Go digital, or simply unsubscribe from any catalogs that you are no longer reading. Depending on where you live, a no junk mail sign might also help with any “letterbox drop” style advertising.
And there you have it, some simple ways to start off your Zero Waste journey or to get your journey back on track. Some you might have heard before, some that might be new to you BUT – don’t let it overwhelm you. Take your time and make changes slowly as you are able – just know that every change you make, and are able to stick with is another win for the planet.
Don’t be fooled – you don’t have to go out and buy a bunch of shiny new Zero Waste stuff in order to make a difference.
I believe in you! You got this!