To many, the idea of living a zero waste lifestyle and having minimal impact on the environment can sound completely unattainable, however, at Eco at Heart, we believe individuals have the power to create positive change just by thinking about the consumer choices they make.
Transitioning from a modern lifestyle to one that is environmentally friendly is more of a journey than a destination and it doesn’t mean you have to live without luxuries or essentials. Instead, it’s a conscious approach to your lifestyle, habits and purchase decisions. Not only will you reduce your own ecological footprint, but by switching to a zero waste and eco-friendly lifestyle, you’ll also save money and inspire others to make a positive impact on the planet. Here’s how:
1. Educate Yourself on Social & Environmental Issues
Sustainability and waste management, as well as eco-friendly living in general, are extremely complex topics and there is so much to consider when following the path to becoming a conscious citizen and consumer. If you’re not into endlessly researching environmental and social issues, try reading a book, listening to podcasts, watching documentaries or read an online platform, like Eco at Heart’s blog, to become aware of global and local environmental issues and how you can help.
2. Phase out Single-use Plastic
Single-use plastic is everywhere and it’s embedded into our everyday lives. Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are those items which are only used once before they are thrown away or recycled. They include plastic bags, straws, coffee cups, water bottles and the majority of food packaging. Around the world, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while up to 5 trillion single-use plastic bags are used worldwide every year. In total, half of all plastic produced is designed to be used only once before being thrown away. Start phasing out single-use plastics by undertaking a waste assessment and audit of the things you use and buy regularly and decide what ones can be eliminated and replaced with reusables.
3. Use Things You Already Have
When starting your zero waste journey, it’s easy to believe you need to purchase an endless amount of new items or products for success. While you will most likely need essential pieces, don’t get sucked into purchasing too many new and poor quality items. The zero waste movement has a foundation of minimalism and using what you already have. So, pull together all the reusable bags and glass containers you already own and purchase the rest thoughtfully and ethically.
4. Make Simple Sustainable Swaps
Once you’ve used up or collected what you already own, it’s then time to make some simple sustainable purchasing swaps. It’s easiest to start with the big four – plastic shopping bag, plastic straws, disposable coffee cups and single-use plastic water bottles. You most likely already own reusable shopping bags and a drink bottle, so it’s just a matter of remembering to bring it with you on your travels. If you’ve realised you can’t go without a straw in your morning smoothie, check out the Eco at Heart store for 5 Pack of Bent Smoothie Straws.
5. Buy Less, Buy Well, Buy Second-hand
When purchasing something new during your transition towards a zero waste lifestyle, try to check out your local second-hand store first. Pre-loved and vintage pieces have a lot more character, come with a story and will not only save resources but also save you money. One person’s trash is another one’s treasure.
If you can’t find an item second-hand or for personal hygiene reasons you’d prefer to purchase new, research eco-friendly brands to support that have sustainability at their core. Being intentional about the businesses you choose to support ensures less impact on the planet during the process of manufacture and these products are also likely to be of greater quality, than those bought cheaply.
If you’re a creative person, why not give DIY a go? When making things yourself, you’re more likely to know the ingredients in your homemade products have been sourced sustainably and you can be sure they come package-free. It is also a fantastic way to stick to natural beauty products and healthy and nutritious recipes.
7. Volunteer within your Local Community & Take Part in Clean Ups
Whether you take part in an afternoon beach clean-up or pick up rubbish on your morning run, volunteering your time is one of the most effective ways to give back to your community, participate in local events and contribute to a zero waste and healthier planet as a whole. Volunteering also has the additional benefit of spreading awareness and inspiring others to create positive change too.