As the popular proverb goes “Rome wasn’t built in a day”, similarly the transition towards a zero-waste, plastic free lifestyle takes more than just a day. It’s a process of trial and error with the sole value of prioritizing environmental sustainability.
Living a zero waste lifestyle doesn’t mean that you’ll have to give up luxuries of life, it just means choosing a more conscious approach to your consumer choices. Here, For Earth’s Sake comes in with some helpful tips to make this process easier for you and help you reduce your carbon footprint:
Switch from Disposable to Reusable: When you start becoming actively aware of the waste you generate you can look for their reusable alternatives. Instead of plastic wraps, use reusable beeswax wrap and silicone containers to store food. Aluminium foils carry the risk of leaching small amounts of aluminium into the food while plastic food wraps could leach harmful chemicals like BPA into the food.
Get Rid of the Packaging: Buy glass containers or stainless steel lunch boxes, which are PVC Free, phthalate-free(Phthalates are a family of chemical compounds primarily to make polyvinyl chloride or PVC.They are very hazardous in nature.) and have a much lower carbon footprint than plastic containers. This will also in turn encourage you to cook more meals at home instead of regularly turning to takeouts which uses a lot of plastic packagin.
In 2019, the Food Packaging Forum, compiled a database of more than 900 chemicals “likely” associated with plastic food packaging worldwide. This acts as a good wake up call for anyone who continues to store food in plastic containers. Switch to zero waste alternatives such as glass and steel containers.
Update the Kit: Keeping a on-the-go kit is a great way to cut waste you didn’t realise you were even creating. Need to keep yourself hydrated? Carry a stainless steel bottle instead of buying a plastic one everyday. Need coffee to start your day? Keep a reusable coffee cup and ask the barista to fill it. Love getting a cold beverage on sunny days and require a straw? Get a stainless steel straw to reuse over and over again. Next time you organise a get together, use bamboo cutlery instead of the cutlery made from plastic. These are very small changes you can make that can create a major impact.
Pay Attention to Materials: Take a look at what your products are made from and packaged in before you buy them. Then try to switch to products that are made from glass, stainless steel or wood. Swap a plastic toothbrush for bamboo or a wheat toothbrush. These are 100% biodegradable and its natural antibacterial properties keep gums healthy.
Stop buying single servings: Buy in bulk or buy the largest size available and store them in eco-friendly containers. It helps reduce the amount of packaging waste you are generating.
Bring Your Own Jars: Instead of buying plastic bags everytime you go grocery shopping, use cloth bags or reusable containers such as mason jars to buy loose items such as rice, pulses, cereal and beans etc. If you carry your own box or container for pulses to For Earth’s Sake store, you get a discount on your purchase.
Safety Check: Even when we are in the midst of a pandemic, we can practice a zero-waste lifestyle by wearing reusable cloth face masks instead of the disposable ones. The disposable masks are only contributing to already overflowing landfills in our country.
Switch to Eco-Alternatives: A lot of our daily necessities are made of plastic and making a switch to their eco-friendly alternatives can make a huge difference. Switch to neem-wood comb if you have been using a plastic one. Use Biodegradable Dental Floss made with corn starch based fibre. You can also check For Earth Sake’s Soap collection to add in your kit. These herbal soaps are made from the choicest ingredients, from Vetiver and Rosemary to Patchouli and Cedarwood.
Look into the Ingredients: It’s also important to choose healthy and organic ingredients. Since most of the produce is grown with the help of pesticides and insecticides which reduces the fertility of the land while causing harm to your body. You can also start growing your own greens at home!
Minimize Food Waste: Meal planning, repurposing food scraps into jams, sauces and using for other purposes will also reduce the amount of food waste that happens on a daily basis. According to the Food and Agricultural Organization(FAO) of the US, an estimated 1.3 Billion tons of food is wasted globally every year.
You can start by composting your food waste at home. Get a composting bin and place it somewhere in your garden and put all of your food scraps in it. Slowly, it’ll start turning into soil and you can use it as a fertilizer for your garden.