5 Actionable Steps for the Zero Waste Beginner

Low Waste Zero Waste

5 Actionable Steps for the Zero Waste Beginner

If you’re reading this blog you are probably in the exact same place I was 4 years ago. I’d just watched a documentary and was in a mad panic about evvvverything. 

So first thing first, slow your roll just a little bit. I know it’s infuriating. I know it’s overwhelming. And yes, the powers that be in our disposable world suck and need to do better. 

You're not Superman or Wonder Woman. This burden doesn’t lie on your shoulders alone. What you CAN do: follow the steps below to make the world a little bit better. Just remember not to lose your calm and happy during this process.

1. Breathe 

Seriously. Take a breath. This is a marathon, not a sprint. The first action item is always always, always take care of yourself. If you don’t take care of yourself, you can’t help others - or the planet. None of us are perfect, and that’s ok. This is not about being perfect, this is about learning how to make better choices and hopefully influencing others to do the same. 

I also want to take this moment to normalize not choosing plastic free or sustainable options over your own health. Some of you may think I’m wacko for including this, but I’ve seen people ask these types of questions in online discussions. "Do you need to take a medication that has a lot of plastic packaging?" Please, take the medication. Make swaps in other parts of your life. This isn’t about perfection, it is about change and improvement. 

2. Pick one or two things to focus on 

When I first started learning about allllll of the horrible things going on in the world, I was of the mindset that I had to do EVERYTHING correct or I wasn’t doing good enough. This mindset is what leads to overwhelm and burnout. I tried to change so much of my life so quickly and it was rough. 

My advice would be to pick one or two issues you’re really passionate about and start there. Once you feel good about those, you can expand. You don’t have to do everything. 

This applies in the zero waste world too. Start by focusing on one or two small steps and expand when you have those down. Take your bags to the store, use a reusable water bottle, use cloth napkins, get your bathroom plastic-free, or only shop for clothes secondhand. Pick what works best for you right now and do that. It doesn’t have to be extreme. 

3. Use What You Already Have

This step isn’t mentioned enough in my opinion. I had a ridiculous amount of completely full lotion bottles when I first started this journey. I know someone who used to buy shower products in bulk when they were on sale and they are still working through them. This is normal and nothing to be ashamed of. If it has already been made and you purchased it, the best thing you can do is use it up or give it to someone who will. Don’t let the things you already own go to waste. 

4. Do a Trash Audit

If you want to find out how to reduce your waste, you have to know what you’re tossing out. I’ve seen all those graphics for zero waste swaps for a plastic free whatever it is. Here’s the thing, if you aren’t buying the plastic version of those “swaps” then you probably won’t use the sustainable option. 

Keep your trash for a week - or write it down or take pictures, whatever you need to do to get an idea of what you are throwing away. Then take a moment and go through it. See what you’re throwing away, then ask yourself if you can make an easy swap for it. 

If you have an astronomical amount of water bottles, can you get a water filter and drink your filtered tap water? If you eat a single serving cup of yogurt every day, can you buy the bigger tub of yogurt? Are you making random single purchases from Amazon super often? Can you order the items together? (Side note: Please please please try and find items you need from less corrupt companies before you buy from Amazon.) You get the idea. Personally, my trash audit showed I drink wayyyy too much diet soda and I should cut back on the tortillas. 🤷‍♀️

5. Choose Sustainable Replacements When Products Run Out

I’m a business owner, so I realize this might be an odd thing to say, but don’t buy anything that you don’t need. That being said, when you’re ready for those sustainable replacements, I have a ton of fun colorful zero waste items in my store. Being Earth conscious doesn’t have to be bland or boring. And let’s face it when you shop to treat yourself or shop for gifts others it feels good! Don’t lose yourself in this journey. Just choose better.  

A “zero waste” lifestyle is a journey, not a destination. If you want to chat about changes you want to make, I am all ears. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter, that’s where I send out all my updates and discounts!

Sending Peace & Love,

Raylyn


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