Credit: Marissa Voo

Small lifestyle changes can create a big sustainable impact. Minimizing your carbon footprint is not so hard. It requires just a little bit of willingness to modify everyday behavior. You do not need to do it perfect. Do it as much as possible for adopting a zero waste lifestyle.

First of all, start where you are and use what you have.

Consuming less is an individual’s choice. Each of us has the power to go towards more sustainable and conscious choices. We can adopt new habits to reduce the amount of waste we produce in the landfills by going zero-waste. Can you imagine how much waste can be prevented if everyone makes a simple swap?

Start changing right now. This is the right time. Please feel free to simply follow the methods I have outlined here as much as you can:

· It is oddly satisfying to carry a water bottle. Bring your own water bottle, preferably with a built-in straw. Drinking water with a straw makes you drink more. A straw creates a sucking action: This is the oldest way to calm and de-stress the body and brain. Bring your own metal straws to coffee shops and restaurants. Ask for no plastic straws.

· Bring your own reusable bags whenever you go shopping. Even for bread and vegetables. A plastic bag is used for 12 mins in average but stays in the world for more than 500 years!

· Say no to receipts when you have an option.

· Cancel unnecessary mail. Unsubscribe from promotional emails.

· Consider all the packing material such as bubble wraps/plastic films coming along with the ordered product before ordering online. Support businesses mailing eco-friendly.

· Think carefully before printing out.

· It is estimated that every single toothbrush made since the 1930’s is still out somewhere in the world. Use bamboo toothbrush instead of plastic. You can also try toothpaste powder or tabs. Use compostable floss in a glass jar instead of plastic floss.

· Use solid shampoo and conditioner instead of bottles (or liquids at refill stores). Choose unpackaged bar soap or refill soap. Liquid soap causes 10 times more carbon footprint than bar soap. You can also do your own soap yourself.

· Buy recycled or bamboo toilet paper.

· Switch to a metal safety razor and blades.

· Use plastic-free cotton swabs. Preferably not use them all!

· Switch to handkerchiefs instead of tissues.

· Say no to free promotional items such as shampoos at hotel rooms and bring your own travel size toiletries with you. So that we can reduce the small bottles in the landfill.

Ladies,

· You can have a zero-waste period by using a menstrual cup, cloth pads, or period underwear.

· Switch to lip-balm, deodorant, and skincare/healthcare products in paper tubes, glass jars, or metal tins. You can even do them yourself using coconut oil or olive oil!

· Choose sustainably sourced and packaged cosmetics. As cruelty-free as possible!

· Use cloth cosmetic rounds instead of disposable cotton balls/rounds.

· Choose bulk coffee and loose-leaf tea.

· Do zero waste coffee. Use a French press and reusable coffee filters. If you want to buy coffee outside, bring your own travel mugs. You can upcycle an old jar and put some rubber bands around it to prevent your hot drinks from burning your hands. Another option is to invest a good quality reusable lightweight coffee/tea cup.

· Choose unpackaged produce. Buy in bulk.

· Make a grocery item at home you would typically buy such as granola, bread, salad dressing, pickles, crackers and cookies. Carry your food in reusable containers.

· Bring your own lunch in a lunch box without plastic bags. Create a Zero Waste Kit which you can take it with you for ‘on the go’. You can also carry your own container with you for leftovers. Eat your leftovers so that you reduce food waste.

· Use cloths instead of paper towel. You can also reuse your old cloths for cleaning instead of buying new cleansing products from market.

· Reconsider gift giving. You can do gifts by yourself such as giving experiences and quality time for friends. If you want to buy new gifts, buy them from eco-friendly shops or local small businesses. Use wrapping paper no more! You can use cloth or residual materials instead.

· Borrow books from your local library or swap with your friends.

· Give away your gently used items to other people who need them.

· Stop using disposable plates and cutlery instead of plastic ones even in social gathering like house parties.

· Do it yourself mindfully! Rather than buying individually-wrapped, pre-washed, ready-to-eat, single use, “to-go” lifestyle. It may take a few extra minutes but it is also a way for having fun!

· Fast fashion industry is one of the most polluting industries. Producing a classic white cotton t-shirt takes 900 days worth of drinking water. Which is 3250 liters of water. That is almost three years’ worth of drinking water (WWF).

· Buy less, buy well and make it last.

· Seek out brands that use waterless dyeing and low-impact dyes if you can, as they help reduce the pollution of waterways.

· Choose eco-friendly alternative fiber sources are another great alternative to the thirsty cotton crop. This includes bamboo, lyocell, hemp etc.

· Consider if you truly need that dress or you just want it before buying. Marketing techniques such as discounts are trapping most of the time. Think that maybe you need that dress just because you want to feel winner buying it with less money.

· You can also think sewing your own handmade clothes instead of mass manufactured.

· Finally, take into consideration that fast fashion isn’t created in a fair-trade environment most of the time. A dramatic rise of diseases is reported in the textile regions due to the use of highly toxic chrome. Think about the people who work very long hours in the exchange of very low salary.

Some of the methods I have covered in this article are easier to follow than others. All of them together may look overwhelming at the beginning but the zero-waste-lifestyle will get much easier in time.

You do not have to be the most environmentalist in the world. You can always do something. Decide to cut down on waste and make it a priority. Small steps can make a big change.

As Zero Waste as possible.

Consultant, Cognitive Neuroscientist, and Psychologist. Articles on thinking styles and relationships. Instagram: psikolog.esraari

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