Zero waste lifestyle comes down to these 5R:
1. Refuse – Kindly refuse things you don’t need. Giveaways, freebies, the bag from the dentist office, birthday goodie bags and advertising swag often end up as clutter or are quickly broken. Simply say “no thank you.” You don’t have to accept things into your house just because they are given.
2. Reduce – Become a conscious consumer; ask yourself “do I really need this?” Practice delayed gratification. In many cases you will find you didn’t really need the item in the first place.
3. Reuse – Ditch, I mean for good, throw aways like paper napkins, plastic plates, paper towels and move to reusable items. Shop with reusable produce bags and bulk bags or jars in the bulk bin aisle to reduce packaging.
4. Recycle –If you simply can’t avoid packaging, choose recyclables. Become familiar with what is really recyclable and actually recycled in your municipality.
5. Rot and composte – Start a backyard compost bin and start collecting food scraps from your kitchen. Not into it or just don’t have room? Compost pickup businesses are popping up all over. Check our cities guides for links to one in your area. Another option is a worm bin. Check out our “Resources” page for links to some websites to help you get started.
We can add 2 more:
6. Repair – Fix it rather than toss it. This sends a message to manufactures that we want high quality items that we can repair rather than tossing a broken item into a landfill.
7. Remember – Bring your own shopping bags, water bottles, cutlery, coffee cup, take out containers to use when you are out and about.
Zero waste lifestyle means constant learning, trials, mistakes and failures, but also eternal deepening of consciousness and searching for new, non-tidy solutions suited to our times and our own needs. It is often a return to practices that we remember from our own childhood or stories of parents and grandparents.