In 2017 I started my zero waste journey. Zero Waste is the goal, mindful practice is the action. When I use the term Zero Waste, that is my ultimate goal, but Less Waste would be a more accurate description of my evolving lifestyle.
One of my 2019 goals is to be come better at being Zero Waste and Plastic Free. I made huge strides in this effort in 2018. If this is your goal too, here are 6 ideas, one for each month in 2019 until Plastic Free July, of things to do to generate less waste.
January - Trash Audit
Since we are mid way thru the month, this is a perfect time to take the next few weeks and observe what trash you are generating. This is a very easy way to see areas where you might reduce your waste. Use paper grocery bags to separate your trash into at least 4 categories: plastic trash, other trash, plastic recycling, other recycling. At the end of January, share your thoughts and results here in the comments!
February - Declutter Everything
The beginning of the year is always a good time to clean and declutter your space. Feb is the perfect month for this bc it’s short! Use whatever method you most like and works for you. Go crazy Marie Kondo style, or just your usual cleaning and declutter routine. When the month is over, give yourself a break, whether you’ve finished or not! Make sure you let us know any insights or tips you might have at the end of this month! What was wasted, what was essential?
March - Switch to Paper
An easy beginner switch to make is to ask for paper bags at the grocery or for your take-out lunch. Asking for paper is a good start to prime you to bringing your own reusable bags. Paper bags can be reused and recycled or composted. These paper bags are great to use as your trash bags. Now you’re choosing to use paper over plastic for trash bags, too! (See how many paper grocery bags you reuse and fill for the month. Was it less or more than your January trash audit?)
April - Compost
I know this one is scary for a lot of people, but composting is super easy. You can compost anywhere and there are more resources than ever before. All you really need to start is a bucket or a bowl and a place to take your compost. This can be your back yard, your balcony, your local dump, your local farmers market, a community garden, or one of many more options. How much food waste do you collect in a day, week, month, year? In April, we’ll talk about what we can do with the compost we are creating.
May - Meatless Monday
The meat, fish and dairy industries are notoriously wasteful. A great way to make an impact is to lessen your participation with them. A lot of people transitioning to a meat free diet will start with one set day a week where they avoid meat. Variations on this could be going dairy free or vegan one day a week, going raw one day, or raw before four, or eating only local, etc… The beginning of Summer (in the US) is a great time to work on this bc there are so many fresh food options. Share what you might give up or some recipes below!
June - No Bottled Water
The month before Plastic Free July can be all about giving something up. If you are still buying bottled water it’s time to give it up!! If you’ve already given up bottled water, try giving up disposable coffee cups, say no to plastic straws, stop using plastic utensils or plastic food wrap. There’s a ton of things that can be given up this month and it will prep you for a month of plastic free living. What will you stop using this month?
I hope these simple zero waste tips help you in the months to come. I will post more about each of these ideas in the month they take place. Would people be interested in a link up for each month?
Remember, going zero waste, low impact isn’t easy. We can only start where we are and do what we can. Every little bit helps.