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How to Go Zero Waste – Top 5 Tips for Beginners

  • 6 min read

Wanna go zero waste, but have no clue where to start?

We get it. Zero waste living has so many benefits for the environment, your wallet, and your well-being. But transitioning to a zero-waste lifestyle is no small task – after all, a whole new way of living means making thousands of tiny little shifts in your everyday life.

And where do you start such a gigantic task?

Don’t worry – we won’t leave you hanging. Below, we’ve put together our 5 best tips for how to go zero waste, to make your transition to a sustainable lifestyle a smooth process.

And the best part? These tips are quick and easy to follow, and you can get started right away!

So, are you ready to get started on your zero waste journey? Let’s dig in.

1. Get Curious About Your Waste

You wanna go zero waste? First thing you need to know, is where your waste comes from.

Is it all those ready-meals you buy, pre-packed in neat, non-recyclable plastic? Is it from constantly picking up new plastic bags at the grocery store, or all those beauty products you buy, use once or twice, and then toss in the trash?

The simple truth is that you won’t be able to change every part of your life at once. It just isn’t realistic – so instead, focus on making changes with a big impact.

This is your zero waste journey, so it needs to be adapted to your life, your habits, and your home.

You won’t be able to change every part of your life at once – so instead, focus on making changes with a big impact.

So – whip out your notebook, and get curious. Examine your trash can, and think back to the last few weeks. What habits of yours create waste? Where do most of your waste come from? What rooms in your home are the biggest waste-culprits?

If you wanna get serious, record your waste stats for a few weeks, to really identify those problem areas. Chances are, at least 50% of your waste happens in a single or a few areas of your life. And that’s where you start.

2. Make a Game Plan

Now that you know which areas are the most critical to address on your zero waste journey, it’s time to make a plan.

Yes, yes, we know – not everyone likes making plans. But there are a few major benefits of making a game plan for yourself, so just hear us out:

Firstly, it’s easy to say you’ll do something, only to wake up two months later and find that nothing’s really changed. A plan gives you focus and direction, so you always know the next step to take.

Secondly, a plan helps you see that you are making progress! With so many tiny shifts, it’s easy to look back and feel like you haven’t even made a dent in the massive task ahead of you. But look – in the last month alone, you’ve changed xyz! You’re doing good.

Finally, a plan helps you to avoid burnout. We cannot stress this enough – so many people who set out on a zero waste journey burn out, because they constantly feel like they are not doing enough, and should be doing moremoremore

A plan gives you focus and direction, so you always know the next step to take.

But the key here is to pace yourself, and make sure that you’re plans are realistic and achievable. How much can you actually change in one month, with a full-time job and full-on life?

You can make it a fancy, color-coded plan, or a just rough outline deciding which area or room to focus on first – it’s up to you. Again, it’s your journey, so make it work for you, and don’t be afraid to adjust it along the way. But don’t skip this step! We promise you, it’ll make the process so much easier and more enjoyable.

3. Find Your Zero Waste Alternatives

But enough prep – let’s start taking some action, shall we?

With all those old habits you’re throwing out, you’ll quickly find that you need to replace them. The same goes for the old solutions and items you used to rely on to make your world go round.

Plastic film? Say hello to beeswax wraps. Shampoo bottles? Welcome to the world of shampoo bars. Not to mention reusable bags and water bottles!

Zero waste has been around for many years, and there’s hardly anything on this planet there is not a sustainable alternative to. You just need to know where to find them.

Luckily, there are entire shops dedicated to zero waste products, with all the solutions you could ever need gathered in one place. Handy, right?

Again, you don’t need to replace everything in one night. But knowing what’s out there, and just how easy some of these shifts are to make, is a great step and even greater inspiration on your zero waste journey.

4. Reduce Food Waste

Everyone’s waste habits are different. But the reality is that the kitchen is a hotspot for waste in almost every household – after all, we all eat multiple meals every single day. So, to give you an example of how to zero waste an area of your life, let’s run through some tips for how to begin reducing your kitchen waste.

Rethink Your Food Shopping:

You can start before food even lands in your fridge – after all, much of the waste coming out of your kitchen is picked up at the grocery store. And although some things might be out of your hands, there is actually quite a bit that you can do.

For starters, try picking naked fruit and vegetables, and food that isn’t wrapped in non-recyclables. Also, avoid single-use packaging, and bring your own bags.

To dig a little deeper, check your local area – are there any farmer’s markets around? That way, you can also help support the local food farmers, and help minimize transportation fumes.

If you live in a city, there could even be zero-waste bulk shops around – so don’t be afraid to reach out to your local zero waste community!

If you’re looking for more tips on how to grocery shop the zero-waste-way, we’ve got you covered. Check out this post for our pro tips!

Avoid and Reduce Food Waste:

Once back in your kitchen, the journey continues. Do you know how to store your food properly, to avoid it going bad? Well, it’s time to find out. And if you're not already, get into the habit of freezing (and eating) leftovers. And making leftover recipes – there are tons of them online, for every food you could possibly think of!

The kitchen is a hotspot for waste in almost every household.

But there’s also a lot you can do outside of saving actual food. For example, replacing single-use plastic filmpaper towels, and coffee filters can help reduce a lot of your kitchen waste with a few simple swaps.

Psst… If you want a comprehensive guide and even more tips on how to start reducing your food waste, check out this post all about it!

Set Up a Home Compost:

Once the plates have been scraped clean, there is likely still some food left that just didn’t get eaten. And that’s ok – but you can learn how to best take care of your kitchen scraps, to avoid them harming the planet. Food is organic, which means that the earth can easily break it down – it just needs a little help. 

Landfills are not good environments for organic matter to break down, so throwing food scraps in the trash...  Not ideal. It’ll just produce methane gas, an extremely potent greenhouse gas.

Setting up a home compost, on the other hand, can really turn your kitchen into that circular machine you’ve been hoping for!

If you’re not sure how to set up a home compost, don’t worry – this article breaks it down for you, step by step, with our top tips for success.

5. Be Kind to Yourself

Lastly, but definitely not least – be kind to yourself.

Shifting into a new way of life isn’t something that happens overnight, so don’t expect that of yourself! Even years into your zero waste journey, you’ll make changes and adjustments, and you might still not be reaching that ultimate goal of absolutely zero waste.

And that’s okay! What matters is all of the waste that you avoid, every single day. So show yourself some grace, especially when you are just starting out. It’s gonna take time, many tries, and a few failures – but in the end, going zero waste will beso worth it!

If you’re just getting started on your zero waste journey, we have a whole host of articles that can help you on your way – and even more coming very soon. But for now, if you wanna get started by zero-wasting your laundry roomkitchen or bathroom, then check out these blogs pronto!

And of course, browse through our zero waste shop, filled with products that will help you on your zero waste journey. It’s literally made for you!

Nathalie Brundell

Nathalie Brundell is a writer and copywriter with her heart set on a greener future. She splits her time between Stockholm and London, where she studies Creative Writing and the art of gracelessly losing at board games. In her free time, she loves to discover new places and cook pasta to her heart’s content.

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