The Beginners Step-by-step guide to going zero-waste

Living a zero waste lifestyle, isn’t like moving through a timeline. Everyone who is zero waste had to start somewhere, and I bet they’ll tell you the same thing – it’s a process.

We’ve come up with an outline of a step-by-step zero waste process, if you’re interested in living a zero or less waste lifestyle.

1. Patience

You’re not going to go zero waste in a week! Use what you have to start. It might even take a year or two to go fully zero waste if that’s your goal. But you know what, you’re awesome for wanting to make this change and for making the effort to do so.

Everyone’s zero waste journey is different. So never compare yourself to other people. Get inspiration from them, communicate with other zero waste-ers in the process when you have questions or concerns, be supported by other people – not intimidated.

There can be this urge to throw everything out and start completely over, but that’s contradictory to the lifestyle. The lifestyle says waste nothing! 

2. Be Aware

The next step is being aware of the problem. Most everyone who decides to explore the zero waste lifestyle has a “why” behind what they’re doing. Get specific with your “why” so you can return to it on a daily basis as your inner motive.

3. Phase out

This is all about using what you already have. If you’re anything like me, when I started going zero waste I had backups of lots of personal care items. I had a lot of paper towels, napkins, tissues, and other single-use disposable items. I had a pantry full of food, some of which was regularly passed over for more desirable items.

I had a lot of things that weren’t being used or serving a purpose in my life. I started to phase those items out. I started using what I had, instead of purchasing new. I intentionally planned meals to use up the odd items in the pantry with a vow to make better purchases in the future. 

4. Simple swaps

As you’re phasing out old items, look to replace some of them with reusable items. You do not need to buy every zero waste alternative at once. 

But what I’d recommend is purchasing zero waste alternatives once your non-zero waste items run out. Because buying something then throwing it out unused is pretty wasteful too, right?

When looking to purchase reusable items, make sure to check the second hand market first! But, most importantly make sure that what you’re buying is going to last you for a very long time. And chances are the price of the zero waste item will be on par, if not cheaper, than the non sustainable drug store alternative.

4. Assess your waste

Take a look at what you’re still throwing away and recycling.  Start trying to find solutions for these items. 

Take a look at what you’re still throwing away and recycling.  Start trying to find solutions for these items. 

This is where you get to have fun! It’s time to think outside the box and try something new. It’s equally important to ecological sustainability. Even if you can’t solve every aspect of that area right away, you can start to prioritize the steps you want to take. 

5. Keep educating yourself

Going zero waste really is a journey. Over the years, I’ve learned so many new things. No one is perfect, It’s not about perfection; it’s about making better choices. But, every day we have the choice to leave a positive impact on the planet, and I’m just doing the best I can to make positive choices. 


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