In this blog post, you will learn about 10 ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle.
If you’re striving to live more sustainably, you’ve probably come across the term “zero waste” and discovered this beautiful lifestyle.
You’ve probably seen videos of people who manage to fit a whole year’s worth of trash into a glass jar.
When I first saw that it was possible, I thought “How cool is that?!”.
But in reality, producing so little trash is unrealistic for most of us.
Yet, it doesn’t mean we cannot take action to reduce our waste and do our part.
This article will guide you on your sustainable living journey and inspire you with 10 ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle.
These are easy, realistic, and doable tips that everyone can implement in their lives.
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What is a zero waste lifestyle? Is a zero waste lifestyle possible?
When we think about a zero waste lifestyle, we usually think that it means not producing any waste whatsoever.
However, as human beings, it is impossible not to create waste at all.
Zero waste is an ideal we can strive for, yet we have to remember that no one can achieve it completely.
Adopting a zero waste lifestyle is more about creating as little waste as possible rather than not producing waste at all.
And it encompasses waste in its various forms, not just physical waste.
Zero waste is about trying to have as few things go to the landfill as possible.
But it’s also about saving resources and minimizing the carbon emissions our lifestyle generates.
When we see it from this point of view, we realize that a zero waste lifestyle is possible and achievable by most people.
All we need is to do our best to minimize our environmental footprint.
Zero waste lifestyle benefits: why should you live a zero waste lifestyle?
There are countless benefits of living a zero waste lifestyle!
Of course, we can list the environmental benefits.
Adopting a zero waste lifestyle means that fewer things end up in landfills and pollute our environment.
It also helps conserve the Earth’s natural resources and reduces the impact we have on climate change and global warming.
These are the main ones, but there are many others!
Embracing this lifestyle also benefits you as an individual.
You consume a lot less and waste fewer resources, which means that you save a lot of money!
Zero waste products are also usually made with natural, non-toxic ingredients, so they are healthier for you and your family.
Plus, you try not to buy food wrapped in plastic packaging, so you are less exposed to the nasty substances that plastic is made from.
And shopping for package-free food means that you are more likely to pick healthier options as well.
There are many other benefits you will reap after adopting a zero waste lifestyle.
Let’s discover them by embracing zero waste today!
10 ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle
1. Repair your things
One of the best things you can do to reduce waste and prevent stuff from going to landfills prematurely is to repair your things.
If something breaks, see if you can fix it yourself or ask someone you know for help.
We don’t necessarily need to be handy to be able to repair some basic things.
We can do many simple things with a screwdriver, glue, or a hammer!
If you can also look up some easy sewing tutorials on Youtube to learn how to mend your clothes.
I promise it is very easy to do!
Things like fixing a hole in your socks or sewing a button back on a shirt can be done by everyone and don’t require advanced sewing skills.
For technology and electric appliances, it’s more tricky to know how to repair them.
So if you cannot do it yourself, check if you can have it repaired by a professional (if you have the means to).
Unfortunately, sometimes, some things cannot be repaired and need to be thrown away.
But if you can, see if you can recycle them first.
2. Avoid buying things you don’t need
Whenever we buy stuff, we contribute to the demand to create new things.
It means that additional natural resources need to be extracted from the earth and a lot of energy will be used to make them.
Not to mention all the greenhouse gas emissions generated from transporting them all around the world, and the unnecessary packaging they usually come with!
Plus, every item will eventually be discarded and will probably sit in a landfill for hundreds of years.
All of this creates a lot of waste at different stages of the supply chain and contributes to pollution, climate change, and global warming.
As consumers, while we cannot change the system, we can still take action to minimize all these negative impacts.
We can do that by reducing our overall consumption of things.
So next time you are tempted to buy something, ask yourself a few questions:
Do I need it?
Do I really love it?
Am I buying this on impulse because I feel bored or stressed?
Avoid buying unnecessary things and remember that everything we buy has an environmental impact.
3. Buy what you can second hand
As humans, we need to buy things at times and cannot completely stop consuming.
But a great way to be more sustainable when shopping is to buy as many things second-hand as possible.
Of course, there are things we should buy new, like underwear, makeup, or skincare products.
But we can all easily buy most things second-hand these days!
This includes clothes, furniture, books, toys, kitchenware, exercise equipment, and many more!
The best websites where you can buy second-hand items are Facebook Marketplace, eBay, Poshmark, Vinted, or ThredUp.
Also, visit your local thrift store to see what it has to offer.
You can even get things for free on Buy Nothing groups on Facebook!
Buying second-hand has so many environmental benefits that I wrote an entire blog post about it so check it out!
In addition to that, you will save TONS of money in the process!
4. Cut single-use plastic out of your life
One of the most popular ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle is to cut single-use plastic out of our lives.
Plastic is now everywhere on the planet: in our oceans, soil, and even in the air and our food.
Microplastics can even be found in the most remote corners of the globe!
We can phase out plastic from our lives by avoiding plastic packaging when buying food, or buying clothes made from natural fabrics instead of synthetics.
We can also choose everyday items made using wood, metal, or other sustainable materials.
While we all agree that plastic is not eco-friendly, it is unavoidable for certain things.
But what we can avoid is single-use plastic!
For instance, stop buying disposable water bottles and invest in a reusable stainless-steel one.
Swap your single-use razors for a reusable metal razor.
Say no to plastic bags at the store, and carry your groceries in a reusable cotton bag instead.
There are many other things we can do to cut single-use plastic out of our lives.
Here are a few blog posts that will help you with that:
5. Reduce food waste
Did you know that around 8-10% of all greenhouse gas emissions generated worldwide are associated with food that’s not been consumed?
When we waste food, not only are we wasting the planet’s precious resources, but we are also contributing to global warming.
Indeed, transportation of food all around the world as well as food rotting in a landfill both produce huge amounts of greenhouse gases.
If you want to do something about it, make sure to reduce the quantity of food you throw away each year.
Do not overbuy things at the grocery store, and organize your fridge and pantry so that you can eat everything before it goes bad.
Regularly check the expiration dates and eat what is about to expire.
Also, give away the food you know you won’t eat so that someone else can eat it (check your local food bank!).
Do not throw away your leftovers and keep them for your next meals, ideally in glass storage containers.
You will save a lot of money, and you won’t have to cook as much next time, which will save you time!
And don’t forget to eat up all your perishable food before leaving for a trip.
For more tips, read about my 10 best ways to reduce waste in the kitchen.
6. Start composting
If something expired in your fridge or pantry, do not throw it away.
You can throw it in the compost so that it can return to the earth!
Starting a compost is one of my favorite ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle!
We can throw all our food scraps in it and they will transform into good quality, nourishing soil that we can then use in the garden!
Having a garden and a compost bin is ideal, but what is awesome is that you can even start a compost in an apartment in the city.
You can use a Bokashi bucket or an indoor compost bin.
There are even electric composters like the Lomi by Pela.
Also, check if your city offers compost pickups where you live, or if there are any parks with compost bins you can use.
7. Reuse what you can
Reusing things is one of the most impactful ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle!
It gives a new life to existing items and prevents us from buying new things.
For instance, if you need storage containers for storing food in your pantry, reuse the glass jars your food comes in.
If your child needs paper to draw or paint, consider using the other side of sheets of paper you no longer need.
Also, consider cutting up old clothing and using it to clean your home instead of buying disposable paper towels or new cleaning supplies.
For me, reusing also means giving away or selling items I do not use anymore so that other people can use them.
It’s about sharing with others the resources we already have instead of buying new things all the time.
8. Quit fast fashion
Fast fashion is a major contributor to the global waste crisis we are facing.
Fast fashion brands create such poor-quality clothing that it often only lasts a few months, if not less, before it needs to be discarded.
Not to mention that these unethical companies usually make their clothes with synthetic materials, and they are often caught destroying their unsold inventory!
To not support this wasteful industry, take action to quit fast fashion today and learn about how to make your wardrobe more sustainable.
Embrace slow fashion by using the clothes you already have for as long as possible and taking good care of them.
If you need new pieces, consider getting them second-hand or from a sustainable clothing brand.
Mend your clothes when they get worn out, or find a way to upcycle or recycle them.
I have an entire article about why you should quit fast fashion and how you can do that, so definitely check it out!
9. Use your library
The library is such an underrated resource most people do not take advantage of!
If you have a library near where you live, get a library card and use it to its full potential.
Every time you need or want new books, go there first to see what you can get.
From novels to non-fiction books, there are thousands of options there!
If you have children, it’s also a great place to get all your kids’ books.
Some libraries even allow you to borrow audiobooks as well as other types of media, which is awesome!
I even saw a library that offered local gardeners to exchange seeds with others!
Getting your books from the library means that no additional books will have to be produced.
This helps save trees and forests!
It’s also free (or almost free) in most places, and I like that once I’ve read a book, I can let it go and it won’t be cluttering up my space.
10. Save energy and water at home
Adopting a zero waste lifestyle is about reducing our physical waste as much as we can.
But it’s also about reducing how many resources we consume in general.
For instance, we can take action to save energy at home.
If you too want to be mindful of your energy consumption, make sure to turn off the lights during the day and whenever you leave a room.
Unplug any unused appliances or devices when not in use, and invest in energy-efficient appliances.
Adjust your thermostat in the summer and winter.
Consider washing your clothing in cold water and installing LED light bulbs wherever you can.
Also, make sure to be cautious of how much water you use in your daily life.
There are many things we can do to conserve water!
For example, we can take shorter showers, fix leaks around the house, and install faucet aerators.
We can also get a rainwater collection system for the garden, and water our plants in the evening or early morning.
Final thoughts on these 10 ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle
I hope this list of 10 ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle inspired you to embrace sustainable living and helped you reduce your waste.
Don’t pressure yourself trying to do all of them at once if you find it too overwhelming.
Just do your best and consider incorporating one habit at a time into your life.
That way, adopting a zero waste lifestyle won’t feel overwhelming or stressful.
The transition will be easy and straightforward.
For more inspiration to live a sustainable life, read these inspiring sustainability quotes!
What are your favorite ways to adopt a zero waste lifestyle?
Share your best tips with us!
Don’t forget to share this article with your friends to inspire and help them go zero waste and live more sustainably!