Tips for the zero waste beginner

My zero waste journey started almost a year and a half ago. No doubt, it was pretty difficult in the beginning. I made the mistake of jumping head first into the idea of eliminating plastic.

Having learned valuable lessons along the way, I feel compelled to share. I’m no guru or expert but I can give you an honest list of tips that may help you get started with Zero Waste.

Get a core set of reusables

You’re going to start feeling like Mary Poppins, pulling random shit from your bag. But I mean, Mary was a smart lady. Keep everything you need close to you!

In the beginning, make sure you’re equipped with useful tools while on the go. Core essentials include a reusable water bottle, cutlery, cloth napkin, and bag. You should have these around the house. If not, invest in some long lasting, durable reusables.

Get into the habit of bringing these around with you. If you’re a coffee drinker, add in a reusable coffee cup. If you’re an iced coffee drinker, go ahead and throw in a reusable straw!

I’m a forgetter of things so I made sure to have a few sets: in my car, purse, at work, etc.

Excessive? Maybe… but it gets the job done.

Use what you have

You don’t have to go broke buying new, sustainable products right out the gate. In fact, that’s something I did and regret. Here are a few “zero waste products” you don’t need.

Old kombucha bottle repurposed

During my reflection I realized the best advice anyone could have given me was to use what I had. Instead of donating old tee shirts, they can be cut up to use as rags.

Rather than buying a new reusable bag, I could have used the many giveaway bags accumulated over the years. Here is a post about what I would change if I could start over.

You’re going to need some balls

No, I don’t mean wool balls, although they’re a laundry must have so don’t sleep on those at all… I’m saying you need some courage and tough skin. Just like dating or looking for a job, you’re going to face a great amount of rejection.

People are going to look at you weird, like why would you bring your own container to a fair? It’s a fair… But do it for you. There’s no need to appease others.

You’ll have to learn how to push back on people who tell you no. Offer alternatives. If a butcher won’t let you bring your own container, then ask for your meat wrapped in paper. And don’t be afraid to refuse if you don’t get the results you want.

A positive is that you may experience praise for all your effort. Zero Waste is definitely a conversation starter, so who knows? Maybe you’ll make new friends with similar values.

Went to a coastal cleanup alone and joined a team

Don’t forget to get back up!

Listen, you’re going to be hard on yourself. We all are. Every time you forget to bring a cup, you’ll think, “WTF, It’s such a simple thing I’m asking of myself and I just shit the bed. ”

Shit happens, whether in the bed or in the toilet. Just get a bidet, wash it off and move on with your life.

I’m still hard on myself for my waste (yes I still make some). But I don’t sit there and sulk about it anymore. I want to feel good about myself and enjoy my time on earth, not fight with myself on small issues.

Starting out doesn’t have to be complicated, especially if you do your research and take it one step at a time. The beginning shouldn’t be overwhelming. I hope these tips help you through the first steps in your Zero Waste Journey.

Let me know if there are any great tips I’m missing from this list in the comments below!

Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram @nottrashy.zerowaste

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. No Makeup Mama says:

    Great tips! Thank you so much. I was tempted to go throw out all my plastic and buy all new “sustainable” alternatives…but now I’m replacing things with better alternatives as I run out or wear them out. 👍🏻 And I love that you went to a coastal cleanup. I wish I lived close enough to the coast to help in such a tangible way. Maybe Lake Michigan needs some cleaning up…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Not Trashy says:

      That’s awesome! I️t is definitely tempting to toss everything plastic around the house, I think everyone goes through that phase. And thanks! I️ loved it and I️ cleaned a beach that I️ frequently go to which is nice! The lakes may have some! Good luck

      Liked by 1 person

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