How to be a Zero Waste Beginner or Beginner start easily in the lifestyle? This is a question that many people ask themselves, especially those who have heard about our Waste problem in the environment have heard, but don't yet know how you can become part of the solution yourself in your everyday life. Time to give you some tips on how to reduce waste.
Whether you recognize yourself there or just want to help a friend get started with Zero Waste, in this article I want to give you tips & tricks for an easy introduction to the eco-conscious and smart lifestyle.
Note: For a more detailed and in-depth article about the lifestyle, see then Zero Waste Lifestyle.
Basic equipment for Zero Waste beginners
Two things are crucial to getting off to a good start in your waste-avoiding life: your personal mindset and a certain Zero Waste Basic Equipment. The latter I would like to introduce to you in this first paragraph. I will show you which five items help you for which reasons and where you can get them.
1. drinking bottle
The easiest way to get started is really to have your own water bottle and to Water from plastic bottles against water from the tap exchanged. Fortunately, the latter is drinkable, especially in Germany. If you don't trust it, it's worth buying a water filter. Even on the road, you can take the bottle with the App Refill refilled (free of charge) at participating businesses.
These water bottles are highly recommended not only for beginners:
- 0.6 liter glass bottle (with patterns from Soulbottles)
- Stainless steel drinking bottle with bamboo lid & handle
Tip: By drinking tap water from your own water bottle, you save money because the water is about 400 times cheaper than plastic bottled water. You also avoid drinking water from sources privatized by large corporations. Just one of the many reasons why, for example. Nestlé under criticism stands.
2. jute bag / backpack
This Zero Waste tip for beginners is a real sustainable life hack from my grandma. Just take a jute bag with you when you go shopping. You can get it for 1€ at any supermarket checkout and it will last a lifetime if you take good care of it. A backpack will also do! By carrying your groceries in it, you avoid the plastic bag and unnecessary packaging waste.
- With these jute bags you are on the road avoiding waste.
Tip: Look in the article about the most superfluous plastic packaging over. You will be surprised at the nonsensical ideas that manufacturers and sellers come up with.
3. lunch box
A lunchbox is ideal for beginners in the zero waste lifestyle. For example, you can buy unpackaged sausage and cheese at more and more fresh food counters and also take the food you cooked yourself at the lecture with you for the next working day. These are sensible first steps into the Zero Waste lifestyle.
These stainless steel lunch boxes are highly recommended:
Tip: You don't have to throw away your old Tupperware just because it's made of Plastic are. Just keep using them until they eventually wear out. Then you can replace them with plastic-free boxes.
4. fruit & vegetable bag
You've probably seen the free plastic bags for fruit and vegetables in the traditional supermarket, right? This brings us to the next Zero Waste tip for beginners: fruit and vegetable bags. These are simply cotton nets, which you need for example to plastic-free shopping. They are ideal for smaller foods, such as mushrooms, tomatoes or even potatoes. Larger fruits such as apples or bananas you can also simply buy without a net.
- This fruit & vegetable net is highly recommended.
Tip: Do you already know Food Sharing? With this you can save food from bakeries or supermarkets that would otherwise have been thrown away. Just join in and save the Reduce food waste. Another important tip for Zero Waste beginners.
5. canning jars
Preserving jars we still know from grandma & grandpa. Today, they adorn many kitchens again, as they are a real tool for zero waste beginners but of course also advanced. You can go shopping with them, for example, in the unpacked store or at the weekly market and store food in them in the kitchen.
- These canning jars are highly recommended.
Tip: There is even a Solar canning jarthat charges in the sun and glows in the dark. A cool accessory for the balcony and at the same time a great project to support the people in South Africa. If you want to know more, have a look at the Interview with the founder of Sonnenglas over.
Zero Waste Mindset for Beginners
Starting something new is always a matter of willpower. Since it's up to you to decide how quickly you adapt the Zero Waste beginner tips, I'd like to give you some advice and basic rules along the way.
It's only one straw - said 8 billion people. (It's only one straw - said 8 billion people).General Zero Waste Quote
You will often hear sayings like "Oh, that one plastic straw" or "You alone won't change anything anyway. Use such moments as a chance to convince others to start Zero Waste. Because if everyone thought like the sloganist, we would have produced 8 billion straws of waste. And you're not alone either - because deep down, everyone wants to protect the environment. Sometimes all it takes is a little food for thought.
5 good reasons for Zero Waste
For a good Zero Waste start, you should also always know why you are starting this lifestyle in the first place. These reasons clearly speak for it:
- Reduce your own waste: It is part of a smart and environmentally conscious lifestyle to leave behind as little trash as possible through your behavior. Reducing waste saves costs and resources in disposal.
- Protect the environment: Every year, our trash in the environment kills 100,000 marine mammals and 1,000,000 marine birds alone. So by starting your Zero Waste routine, you're saving the lives of many animals. The big Plastic waste vortex in the sea are getting bigger and bigger and spreading pathogens all over the world. We must learn to be respectful of the resources our planet provides us.
- Plastic waste: Plastic is eternal because it is not biodegradable. Every bit of it, no matter how small Microplasticsthat has ever been produced is still somewhere in this world. Fish eat it and so it ends up on our plates again. More about this in the article about Plastic in the food chain.
- Stop waste exports: As a Zero Waste beginner, you become part of the solution. Until now, we Germans have been sending a large part of our waste abroad. Out of sight, out of mind. But unfortunately we have no control over what happens to the garbage there.
- Be a role model: If you produce masses of waste without a care, even though it is avoidable, you are not a role model. As a Zero Waste beginner, you lead the way and show how to do it better.
These reasons led me to start Zero Waste a few years ago.
The Zero Waste basic rules
Use these briefly explained tips to set the baseline if you want to significantly reduce your waste in the future:
- Reject: For example, reject free pens or flyers in the pedestrian zone to avoid litter. More about this in the article Saying no in the Zero Waste sense.
- Reduce: Many things in your life you don't need. Just take a look in your closet or drawers. A minimalist lifestyle saves money and makes you happy.
- Reuse: A jute bag can be reused forever, a plastic bag cannot. Use tips like this and use more things that can be reused. reuse for less waste let
- Recycle: You can't always avoid creating trash. If you can, you should at least dispose of it correctly. You can learn more about this in the article about the correct waste separation.
- Composting: You should get a Create compost in the garden and compost organic waste. If you don't have a garden, I recommend a worm bin for the balcony or apartment. More about this in the Interview with Wurmkiste.at from Austria.
- Borrowing: Newly purchased items are usually packed in plastic and sometimes lie in the famous drawer again after a week. Therefore, borrow things like a longboard, a drill or an angle grinder from neighbors or rental portals.
- Repair: Your shoe sole loosens so slowly? No problem, there's a shoemaker for that! Repairing saves money and natural resources. The culture of repair is a nice book to explain.
- Replace: The world doesn't need plastic straws. Even as a beginner you can use them e.g. through Bamboo straws or Glass straws Replace
- Do it yourself: Toothpaste, dishwashing liquid, even furniture you can make yourself. Look for example times our homemade dining table from old oak planks an. More in the DIY Blog.
- Approach: Foster a sense of community and share surplus food or items like drills with your neighbors. You'll eventually benefit from it, too.
- Redesign: Actively approach manufacturers who produce a lot of waste with their products. Explain, for example, that it is also possible without plastic film. In the article Redesign products and rebuke manufacturers you can learn more about it.
As a Zero Waste beginner, you don't have to internalize all of these rules right away. But they should be of great help to you and become part of your basic attitude in the long run.
5 practical tips for Zero Waste beginners
Now here I have some beginner tips for things you can basically replace right away.
- Toothbrush: Grandma already had a toothbrush without plastic - today comes the Wooden toothbrush back in fashion. Of course, waste is still produced, but from renewable raw materials.
- Cling film: The foils are usually made of plastic and can be damaged by such beeswax cloths be replaced. These are reusable in the long term. Tip: You can Beeswax wipes also do it yourself.
- Cotton swabs: A seahorse with a plastic cotton swab? Yes, such a picture went around the world. The alternative are such biodegradable cotton swabs made of bamboo and cotton.
- Shampoo: Bottles for shower gel and shampoo make a lot of waste. A good tip for zero waste beginners are therefore such natural bar soaps.
These are just a few ideas for things you can replace relatively quickly as a Zero Waste beginner. You can find more inspiration in the Plastic free store here at CareElite.
Basically, I also recommend that you save documents digitally. This way you can save a lot of Save paper waste.
The plastic free lifestyle is an important part of Zero Waste. If you also want to learn more about this, then you are welcome to read my Book plastic free for beginners I'm also going to look into the subject matter in more detail.
Just start with Zero Waste
I hope that this article has helped you a little bit as a Zero Waste beginner. As you can see, it's not that complicated to start a zero waste lifestyle. At the same time you achieve a great effect for our society and especially for our environment.
If you still want to expand your knowledge, you are welcome to use the 30 Days To Zero Waste Online Course which is ideal for beginners. I use the proceeds for CleanUp material for cleanup campaigns on the beaches of this world and for general educational work here at CareElite.
Do you have questions, tips or problems to start with Zero Waste? Then feel free to leave me a comment.
PS.: In the Zero Waste & Plastic Free Blog you will find many more tips & tricks suitable for both beginners and advanced garbage collectors. For example, take a look at the article about the Zero Waste Travel over. Have fun!