Some might shy away as soon as those words are uttered. But what does it really mean, and how can you start making a change?
The first thing you must remember is that you won’t be making any huge sacrifices and you won’t have to start living with next to nothing.
You’ll keep doing what you love, but you’ll also have a positive impact on the planet, which only means you’ll no longer be leaving an enormous trash trail after every single thing you do.
I remember, a few years back, I had watched Bea Johnson on the tv show Tout le monde en parle, and I distinctly remember thinking how she seemed to be living in a different world than ours, being able to fit all her family’s trash into one jar for a whole year?! Believe me; I am still very far from being able to do that! And is that a bad thing? Nop.
If you think about it, zero waste is the ultimate goal, not something final. So if it so happens that you do generate a bit of waste, don’t worry about it, just make sure you’re always doing your best. It’s all that really matters!
Just start off by taking a look at how you function on a daily basis. Morning routine: do you use single-use coffee filters? Do you use plastic bags to wrap every single fruits and vegetable at the grocery? Do you always use the straw they bring you when eating out? These are a thousand small gestures, multiplied over a year and then multiplied by every single person who starts doing it, that will end up making a meaningful impact in the long run.
The best part of this process though is to find out about all the fantastic reusable options out there to replace disposable ones. Do you like removing your makeup with a wipe? Use washable ones! You wash your dishes with a sponge and then throw it out after a week’s use? There are washable options out there that you can throw in the washing machine to reuse over and over again! Sounds complicated? We assure you it’s not. Start by introducing one change at a time, one that is the easiest for you and make sure you follow your own rhythm. You’ll soon realize it’s easy, fun and you’ll just want to add more and more to your routine. Because making a change, feels good.
Small actions, big impact!
Whether it’s your food or simple everyday products, you don’t have to grow a vegetable-filled garden if you don’t have a green thumb or even start making your own deodorant just because there are thousands of awesome DIY online about it. There are so many local craftsmen and farmers out there for precisely that purpose! The best part is when they share their knowledge and expertise with you, they can also guide you and adapt their products to your needs. What if your only carbon footprint was when you travelled? There is so much more excitement there !!
Recycling + Composting
It might seem unappealing, but it’s quite amusing to slowly see your garbage bag grow smaller and smaller each week.
What's more, you’ll get free fertilizer to spread around the neighbourhood if you want. You’ll see, once you get started, you’ll have a hard time stopping! All you have to do is keep a compost container in the kitchen, and start adding your organic waste in there as soon as you get it, then just throw it in your compost outside or worm compost, depending on the space you have available.
Recycling is like a good plan B. It’s a fine solution, but we can’t just recycle everything because many plastics are often not accepted in local recycling centers. Also, every piece that is sent off must be cleaned, and free of any food residue (including the grease from last night’s pizza delivery!)
Whenever you aren’t sure about an item, check out: www.recreer.ca
Avoid excessive wrappings
A simple glimpse around the grocery store and it’s easy to see the amount of overwrapped food available. Did you know that you end up paying for that wrapper? Your bananas will do just fine even if they are not stocked in a plastic net. Nature has thought things through and created bananas with a natural wrapper, namely its peel, that thing you remove before eating. Therefore, if the choice is before you, always pick the unwrapped foods.
There are more and more bulk or zero-waste type grocery stores around, and that’s great news for the environment! All you need to do is bring your own containers or reusable bags and then fill them with everything you want. You would be surprised at what can be found in these grocery stores, from toothpaste to dog food, as well as all your laundry detergent. Go ahead and fill up those Mason Jars! Don’t forget to make that detour to the bakery along the way and grab some fresh bread in your cotton bag ;)
Get a massage, go to the spa, swipe some clothes in a second-hand store, what do all these things have in common? They are all zero-waste activities. It might be a bit of a challenge when it comes to explaining to your loved ones what you’re doing, but if you’re having fun with it and get real creative about it all, you’ll find that your new ways will inspire most!
Be part of the change, and let us know what small (or significant) actions you’ve taken on to help better our planet!