Zero Waste Lifestyle: How to Achieve It in a Consumerist Society


The zero waste movement has somewhat lost its mass following in the last three years. But fortunately, for those of us trying to make sure our planet doesn’t overheat, sustainability is more than a trend. 

Let’s get some technicalities out of the way first. Going full-on zero waste is almost impossible without some prep work. To achieve the coveted zero waste status, you need to first tweak your lifestyle to make it more sustainable. In this article, we will talk about these exact tweaks that will eventually lead you to being fully zero waste.

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Don’t Fall For Marketing

The first thing you see when googling zero-waste is the abyss of products that claim to help you on that journey. The forever pots, the indestructible water bottle, and other products are just scams meant to make you buy more. The truth is, you don’t need to spend money in order to be more sustainable. You should actually be doing the opposite.

Remember the plastic water bottle you bought in the gym? It’s already indestructible, and you don’t need to buy a fancy aluminum one to substitute it. The same goes for your pots and pans. You don’t need to substitute existing, perfectly functioning products with a ‘sustainable’ alternative. This is the opposite of sustainability. This leads us to our next point.

Pay Attention To Your Spending

Changing your money habits goes hand in hand with learning to live more sustainably. Analyze where your money is going and see if there are any areas where you can reduce spending without much effort. 

If you tend to buy lots of pre-made food, you can reduce that by meal-prepping on the weekends. Taking a few additional hours to freeze some ingredients can help you save lots of money on takeout and ready-made food. Develop a simple menu for the week and prep it ahead of time. Some cooked rice in the fridge can be a great base for your meals. As for the proteins, you can marinate and freeze meat, fish, or tofu and then defrost them right in the pan.

This way, you can ensure that making a homemade meal from scratch doesn’t take longer than making a cup of noodles. Additionally, you will be able to reduce food waste by planning your meals. Obviously, this goes hand in hand with reducing plastic waste and the money spent on takeout.

Thrift Instead Of Buying New

Trendy items that everyone is wearing change so fast you could go crazy. If you don’t want to fall for those fashion industry tricks, try to focus on classics instead of following trends. And where to find those classic items if you are not in the thrift store? 

Thrifting is an amazing way to ensure your wardrobe is unique and stylish while your money remains in your wallet. Besides, the fashion industry is one of the biggest waste producers on the planet. Anyone who wants to live more sustainably wouldn’t want to contribute to this. 

Buying from sustainable brands is another way to slow down the circulation of clothes in your wardrobe. Yet, those items can come at a much heftier price tag than fast fashion or thrift store clothes, which is exactly why you should think twice before making a purchase. Because once you do buy something, you are stuck with this item for a long time.

Beware Of Greenwashing

Many companies will advertise their products as sustainable, ‘green,’ or natural when they are, in fact, doing nothing to save the planet. Adidas, PepsiCo, Ikea, and Coca-Cola, we are looking at you!

When you need to buy an item of clothing, shoes, or furniture, we advise you to do independent research into the brand. Ikea will go out of its way to tell you how fairly it pays its workers when, in reality, it harvests its timber illegally in Romania. The same goes for Adidas, which will advertise a shoe made out of recycled plastic bottle caps while doing nothing to actually stop the pollution.

Reuse & Repurpose

You might be throwing out things that could be given another life. If you apply some creative thinking, your old T-shirt could become an oven mitt or a dusting rag. Upcycling your old clothes is another great way to give them a new life. For some projects, you don’t even have to learn how to sew. Look at Pinterest for inspiration, and learn to work with what you already have! This way, you can avoid throwing things away and contributing to that landfill. 

Zero waste

Learn About Recycling In Your Area

Recycling regulations may differ depending on where you live. This is why it’s vital that you consult with your local authorities and learn how to recycle properly. Some towns require you to place all recyclables in one bin, washed and dried, and others ask you to sort into plastic, metal, paper and general waste. To reduce your personal contribution to the landfill, you need to research those guidelines and follow them.

If you live in an area that doesn’t support recycling on a governmental level, there must be some NGOs that can help you. It might require you to load your car with trash and drive it to the other end of the town once every few months. But it’s totally worth it if it means you will be making our planet cleaner.

Wrapping Up

Going zero waste is not something that happens magically in one day. It’s a path that requires commitment and discipline. Don’t worry if you slip and buy an outfit from a fast fashion brand every once in a while. The path to sustainability is not linear and might take you years before you fully get there. But the best part is that every effort counts, no matter how small.

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