What is the Zero Waste Movement?

Hi there!

If you are new to the world of sustainable living + zero waste then this blog post is for you! I’m here to answer all the basic questions that you might have when it comes to the zero waste movement and how you can get started!

What is the Zero Waste lifestyle exactly?

To make it easier, let’s first define the zero waste meaning

Zero waste definition from Wikipedia:

“Zero Waste is a set of principles focused on waste prevention that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. The goal is for no trash to be sent to landfills, incinerators, or the ocean. Currently, only 9% of plastic is actually recycled. Zero waste system, material will be reused until the optimum level of consumption.”

Some call it zero waste, low waste, or even low impact living all are about living a life that lowers and reduces the amount of waste one produces.

What is the Zero Waste Movement?

The zero-waste movement is a group of people dedicated to living a life where they can eliminate as much of the trash they produce as possible! Either by consuming less, buying in bulk, or going DIY and making their own cleaners/make-up/toiletries! Some consider this an extreme and radical lifestyle but I’m here to tell you it is actually a very awesome way to simplify your life save money in the process.

I personally got interested in zero waste back in 2016 and dove into the zero waste movement online and on Instagram. Seeing all the creative and exciting ways people are reducing their impact on the environment can be very inspiring!

What does it mean to live zero waste?

In the most simple definition: It means that you live a life that produces little to no trash and you avoid most packaged items by either shopping in bulk, buying secondhand, or just living without it!

What is the circular economy?

The current system we are in today is a Linear Economy meaning the end life of a product is just waste. We do have a mix of the Recycle Economy where products that are created can be recycled but we are quickly seeing that recycling is not the answer to our waste problem.

The Circular economy is the idea that all items produced are created with its end in mind. Meaning it can be created into something else and not end up in a landfill.

Want to get inspired and learn even more from the best of the best?

My favorite zero waste blog’s /bloggers living a no-waste lifestyle

Looking for recipes, guides and how-to’s then you should definitely go check out any of these amazing women to learn how to live with zero waste!

How to live Zero Waste or How I do zero waste:

I personally like to live a more low waste lifestyle. The term “low waste” is a little less aggressive than the term zero waste and feels more obtainable to me. I focus on reducing what I can in the most practical way based on what I have time for, can afford, and what I have access to in terms of bulk shopping.

To keep things simple and managable I focus on reducing my waste and impact by focusing on these 5 areas:

  • Buy more fresh ingredients like fruits and veggies and avoid packaged or processed foods
  • Buy food in bulk like nuts, seeds, spices, and beans, and bring my own containers to fill them up (saves you a ton of money too!)
  • Simplify my cleaning routine by using castile soap + vinegar + baking soda and making my own cleaners when needed
  • Buying secondhand when possible
  • Using public transportation as much as possible for traveling

We do not live in a zero waste society so it is hard to live a completely zero waste lifestyle

Important takeaways

Do what YOU can! This is not about perfection or going crazy trying to do it all! It’s better to take this one day at a time so you don’t give up before you even start!

We all do not have access to bulk goods, or the time and money to buy and make everything!

Use what already have

No need to go out and buy a “zero waste kit” sure you might need a few items to start but do it slowly.

Clean the jars that you have instead of recycling them. Kathryn of Going Zero Waste made a very helpful guide on how to remove jar labels that you can see HERE. Grap a fork in your utensil drawer instead of buying a fancy reusable one. Use old plastic bags for groceries, and don’t toss those Ziploc bags, wash em’ and keep reusing!

Start slowly

Taking on too much at once is an easy way to get overwhelmed and you might just end up giving up here’s 10 easy zero waste swaps to get you started:

  1. Bring a reusable shopping bag (re-use plastic or paper)
  2. Bring a reusable water bottle (glass jar with a lid does the trick!)
  3. Bring a reusable coffee cup (also a good way to use an old jar)
  4. Choose public transportation or carpool with a friend when possible
  5. Shop for fresh fruits and veggies over-packaged goods
  6. Do a month of no clothes shopping and shop your closet instead!
  7. Fix or mend items that you have or learn how to online!
  8. Compost if you have room in your backyard or see if you have any local drop off spots
  9. Simplify your beauty routine and buy less? I promise you do not need as many face creams and salves as you think!
  10. Avoid take away food and cook more at home to reduce single-use plastics!

Not only will these simple switches help you save money, but you will also save time from cleaning up all that trash and extra packaging!