If you read my previous post, you fall into one of two categories, those who are familiar with zero waste and those who are not. Hopefully, if you were in the latter, my post made you curious enough to look it up. If so, I am certain that you saw several years’ worth of trash that fit into a Mason jar, photos of zero waste groceries, and gorgeous, minimalist photos of the “zero waste starter kit.” These kits often include a reusable water bottle, a to-go coffee mug, stainless steel/glass/bamboo straws, tons of Mason jars, stainless steel/glass lunch containers, shopping bags, produce bags, cloth napkins, a specially wrapped set of to-go silverware, and handkerchiefs. These sets often run in the hundreds of dollars.
It is easy to see why people interested in a zero waste lifestyle can instantly become discouraged. To make matters worse, this is just the starter pack, so it does not include wooden bottle brushes, compostable sponges, plastic free shampoos and soaps, bamboo toothbrushes, laundry detergent, toiletries, and on and on.
On the surface, zero waste appears to be a movement that screams “throw out your plastic! Throw it all away and start new!” Many of us do not have the extra money to completely replace all of the plastic items in our homes, so I am happy to say, you do not have to! Zero waste is about creating less waste, not more. Plastic was made to last forever (which is the main problem), so if you have items in your home made out of plastic, keep them for as long as they are useful (unless you cook in plastic… for your health, maybe consider upgrading no matter your zero waste plans). Reuse or recycle them if you can when you are through.
As for the start up “necessities” for zero waste, there are many options using items you already own that can create your zero waste starter kit without spending any money!
In my upcoming posts, I will give you step by step instructions on how to use household objects to create your zero waste starter kit. Zero waste is a movement that is amazing for the environment and, ultimately, a huge money saver for your wallet. Eventually, you will need to buy things, but not any more than you would otherwise need to purchase living your normal life. In other words, yes, you will need to buy a shampoo bar when your shampoo runs out, but you would need to buy shampoo anyway. Don’t throw out your shampoo bottle just because it is in plastic! Use that baby up and repurpose the bottle or recycle it if you can! (Any local recycling questions, earth911.com is an excellent resource.)
I will be bringing you these tutorials in hopes that you will find zero waste a less daunting and expensive task because it does not have to be! Your zero waste journey does not need to mimick others on Instagram. Every reduction in trash is a good thing!