Getting started with Zero Waste Lifestyle
You found out about Zero Waste Lifestyle and this new way of living resonates with your values. But since there so many resources out there (blogs and books for example) and a lot of recipes for things to make from scratch it can be somewhat overwhelming in the beginning.
Before you start digging in your trash can, make sure to separate your organic waste. You can buy a fancy compost bin somewhere or simply use a bucket with a lid. This bucket or bin you put next to your trash can and all organic waste goes in there except for meat and bones. So any type of veggie or fruit peels or cores, food left overs, egg shells but also coffee grounds, tea (without the tea bag), even the cardboard rolls from toilet paper.
Now find a way to getting rid of the contents and that will greatly depend on what’s available in your area. Hopefully you can get a green bin. Or even better you’ve got a garden and can make a compost. If not, maybe a worm bin is for you. If all those options aren’t for you, maybe you can find a friendly neighbor who has and would be willing to take green scraps from you. Also look for larger gardens in the area, maybe there is a compost option there?
We’ve grown used to disposable products up to the point that we’re not even realizing how much waste they create. Find the disposable products that you are using and consider switching to a reusable alternative. For example handkerchiefs: Maybe you can find some lovely cloth handkerchiefs at your local 2nd hand store, or maybe your grandma still has some she could share with you. Another example for a disposable item often used is the plastic straw. There are reusable alternatives made from bamboo, glass and metal. The plastic shopping bag is also one disposable item that can easily be replaced with a reusable alternative. Or those plastic ear swaps! There even reusable ear swaps available made from bamboo.
There are often things in our homes that we either bought in the past or received as a gift, that we don’t use any longer. That happens with clothing and other things like electronics and toys and kitchen tools. Pick a time and date for your first decluttering session, like for example 2 hours on Sunday. And then review all the pieces of clothing in your closet. All of them. And for each item, ask yourself if you really need it. Or if you in reality wear it. Some things we just keep because they were gifted to us and we would feel guilty not keeping them. But there might be another person out there would absolutely wear those pieces. So maybe you can let go of them?
After the decluttering session you might have a bundle of things that you’re willing to let go. Now you can either try to sell them online, give something to friends or find a nice 2nd hand shop where you can donate them. There is a list of 2nd hand shops and also online places where you can sell things in this Guide to Zero Waste in Haarlem.
When you’ve managed to find a nice 2nd hand shop make it a habit to look here for things you need. Many tools for the kitchen and books and toys can easily be found in 2nd hand shops. And if you have kids, 2nd hand shops will save you a ton of money since kids are growing like weeds and need new clothes all the time.
Everything is easier together. Once you’ve done the steps above, you’ll be ready to look into the details, product by product. It can take time to find a good alternative solution for so many things but if you find a group of people that are on the same look out, you can help each other out. So maybe consider joining a Zero Waste Group. There is one specific for Haarlem and one for Amsterdam. Both are in English. If you’re looking for a Zero Waste Group in Dutch, have a look at Zero waste/less waste Nederland.
- Switch from liquid soap and shower gel to soap bars. You can even ditch the shampoo and conditioner bottle and use shampoo bars and conditioner bars which your hair will love.
- Rethink your dental care. There are lots of options to get rid of the plastic in that area too: Bamboo toothbrush, plastic free floss, plastic free toothpaste and powder…. Click here for zero waste dental care.
- And how about plastic free deodorant (also vegan and free of any nasty ingredients btw.)
One important point to always keep in mind:
Don’t get stressed out in the process! You don’t have to be perfect, it is not a contest.
Every thing you can change for the better is just that: it’s better!