Thinking about trying to reduce your waste? Lulu from The Zero Waste Diary shares with us her thoughts on starting your journey.
The idea of going ‘zero waste’ or simply reducing your waste can be overwhelming, especially when confronted with the 2.1 million Instagram posts with the hashtag #zerowaste, showing perfect pantries with chickpeas, lentils, flour and everything in between in beautiful glass jars.
But there’s no need to be overwhelmed - so please don’t be! Yes, if you suddenly went from a ‘normal’ lifestyle to a zero-waste lifestyle overnight, it would be an enormous change (not to mention downright impossible!), but no one makes these changes instantly.
So, where do you start? To make this change in lifestyle manageable (a big high five if you’ve decided to make this change, by the way!), I recommend just picking one thing to start off with - one change that, on its own, seems perfectly achievable. Some of the easiest changes you can make are using reusable rather than plastic bags for your food shop (try keeping one in your handbag/day bag so you’re never caught out!), using reusable cups and bottles for your coffee and water, or selecting only unpackaged fruit and veg when you go to the supermarket. Pick just one of these things and try it for the next week, and you’ll suddenly realise it’s totally doable! And, even better, before you know it, it will feel totally normal, and going back to your old habits will seem really weird!
Now, it’s time to pick another. If there are still some of the above suggestions that you don’t do, just add one more of those - you won’t be overwhelmed because you’ll know, from experience, how easy it was to make that first change. So that’s two changes! And then three ... you see where I’m going with this.
Once you’re comfortable with these small (but hugely admirable) lifestyle changes, you might want to consider what else you can do. You’ve started with the easiest stuff, so the next step will take slightly more effort - but only slightly - and if you apply the same ethos and just try one thing at a time, you really won’t be phased at all! Some things to try here might be using ‘naked’ beauty products (reusable make-up wipes, soap, deodorant and shampoo bars etc), planning your meals for the week (including lunches) so you reduce food waste (this would be my pick - it’s so satisfying, and will save you so much money if you’re used to buying your lunches!) or planning your weekly shop to include a store with more unpackaged items (a local fruit and veg store or even a refill store). Just pick one, and try it. And if it’s not for you, that’s fine - either be satisfied with (and proud of) what you’ve achieved so far and agree that this is your limit when it comes to reducing waste, or, if you want to keep reducing waste but this particular option just isn’t for you, simply try another option instead.
It’s all about baby steps. Try one thing at a time, and it will slowly add up. Before you know it, you’ll be able to count all the ways you reduce waste on two hands - and I bet you won’t even realise it! Because as much as it’s a change in lifestyle, it’s a change in mindset, and suddenly what first seemed like a bit of effort no longer does.
So, well done for deciding to start on this journey! Don’t be overwhelmed and don’t let Instagram scare you off! Just try one thing at a time, and before you know it you’ll have made an amazing difference to our planet. Keep it up!
Follow Lulu - @thezerowastediary