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January 14, 2020 5 min read 5 Comments

New Year, New Resolutions

Did you send 2019 out with a bang—watching fireworks light up the night sky? Or did you spend a cozy evening in, enjoying the last few moments of the decade with your loved ones? However you spent New Year’s Eve, the new year dawns with high hopes for all of us. 


Setting New Year’s Resolutions is a common practice in many cultures, and most goals involve doing something to live a better life. With global pollution and environmental concerns increasing, one goal worth considering is to reduce your waste.


Staying on Track and Enjoying the Journey

Like any other goal, working toward a more zero-waste lifestyle takes consistent effort. It’s easy to set resolutions aside and slip back into old habits.


A few ways to keep sight of your goal are to:

  • Ask yourself why this goal matters to you.
  • Put reminders of your goal where you’ll see them daily.
  • Break your objective down into manageable steps.
  • Give yourself permission to start fresh as often as you need.
  • Find a friend to join forces with so you can help each other.


The Why of Zero Waste

Striving to go zero waste can improve your health, simplify your lifestyle, and save you time and money in the long run. But it’s not just good for you—reducing your waste helps keep trash from ending up in landfills or the ocean. 


You may already be well into your zero-waste journey, or you might just be getting started. Either way, the new year is an opportunity to build earth-friendly habits. Your daily efforts will add up over time, so don’t wait to get started!

12 Ways to Go Zero Waste in 2020

Here are 12 areas of your life you can give a zero-waste makeover this year. You could choose one to focus on each month, combine a few at a time, or begin with whatever feels most important to you right now. There’s no wrong choice here.

1. Beauty

Take a look at your favorite products and evaluate their sustainability. 

Single-use products like makeup remover pads and cotton swabs add up fast, so you could try swapping in reusable makeup pads instead. 

You can also look for beauty products that come in recyclable or compostable packaging.

2. Fashion

Zero-waste living doesn’t need to come at the expense of style. Many earth-friendly clothing brands help you look and feel your best without harming the planet. You can also shop second-hand, swap clothing with friends, or mend items you already have to lengthen their lifespan. 

When it’s time to say goodbye to clothes or shoes, give them a second chance before sending them to the trash. You can donate items in good condition to thrift stores or charities, and find facilities in your area that recycle worn-out clothing. 

3. Food

We love food—and we’re guessing you do too. Some tried-and-true ways to make your meals delicious and waste-free are shopping local, eating what you buy, and reducing the amount of plastic you use when you eat. This can mean avoiding pre-packaged foods and eating out, or switching to reusable products like stainless steel straws.


When you store food at home, skip the tinfoil and zipper bags and opt for earth-friendly storage options. These silicone stretch lids fit perfectly around your bowls, jars, and other containers to keep your leftovers safe and leak-free. 

You can also reduce the need for disposable plastic wrap by using these silicone food huggers. They keep everything from apples to avocados fresh until you’re ready to eat them. And even produce needs a hug from time to time, right?


4. Cleaning

Keeping your home clean can improve physical health and reduce stress. But if you’re using paper towels and disposable sponges, one Saturday’s work can produce a small mountain of trash leaving your home. Take stock to see where your cleaning routine could use an upgrade.

In the kitchen, messes pop up like a never-ending game of cleaning whack-a-mole. So using earth-friendly supplies is vital. Simple changes like using a reusable spongeor our zero waste kitchen kitcan help you keep things neat and reduce waste.

5. Personal Care

While you’re working to take care of the environment, don’t forget to take care of yourself. 

When you’re feeling run down, treat yourself to a spa night in with these 7 easy DIY recipes for bathroom essentials. 

Or, if you’re not in a DIY mood, you can also try one of our zero-waste, aluminium-free deodorants

6. Pets

Show your pets and the planet some love at the same time! 

You can look for pet food that’s packaged responsibly, opt for long-lasting toys, and where possible, give them time in the great outdoors. 

For dog-lovers, zero-waste swaps like this sweet-smelling dog shampoo bar and these biodegradable poop bagsmake everyday efforts earth-friendly.



7. Shopping

Whether you enjoy shopping or avoid it at all costs, you can strive for zero-waste shopping trips with these easy tips:


- Plan ahead to combine trips


- Look for items with minimal packaging


- Choose reusable mesh bags for groceries and produce


- Consolidate online purchases to ship together

8. Fun

There are countless ways to have a good time without creating a negative impact on the environment! 

We love getting outside for walks, hikes, or sports with family and friends. To save your skin, prepare for fun in the sun by using zero-waste, plastic-free sunscreen.


9. School/Work


Whether you’re in school, working in an office, or working from home, you can make simple changes to create an eco-friendly daily routine. Cut down on trash by recycling old papers and choosing eco-friendly office supplies. And you can ditch disposable plastic by taking your own water bottle, lunch kit, or snacks. 


10. Transportation

Every day, you need to get from Point A to Point B. Don’t be afraid to get creative and try something new. Carpooling, biking, walking, or taking public transportation are great ways to reduce your carbon footprint. When you need to drive, try to combine trips—this saves you time and money and lowers your impact.


11. Family and Friends

Achieving goals is easier when you have a team. Talk with family, friends, and coworkers about your efforts to go zero waste. You can find ways to join forces and grow together. If your loved ones don’t share your vision at first, give them time—seeing your passion for the environment might change their mind.


12. Gifts

Giving and receiving gifts is a time-honored way to strengthen relationships and show affection. Zero-waste gift ideas include experiences, time together, or earth-friendly products you know the receiver needs. 

If you’re stumped, try giving a gift card for our zero-waste marketplace. Then your loved ones can choose whatever their hearts desire! 


The Most Important Part is Getting Started

You’ve probably heard the popular adage, “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Your zero-waste journey is no different—and taking your first small, simple step is what lets your journey begin.


As you progress toward your goal, you’ll experience successes and setbacks. Don’t get discouraged or beat yourself up when you struggle. Everyone has rough days. Over time, you’ll be able to see that your efforts add up to make a big difference.


Choose one of the suggestions on this list or brainstorm ideas of your own. There’s no wrong answer here—the perfect place to start is where you are today. 


What changes did you make in 2019 to go zero-waste? Do you have any goals for 2020?


Jessica 
Writer, baker, and lover of nature.



5 Responses

Debbie Sutton
Debbie Sutton

March 05, 2020

I have quit buying sandwich and storage bags and now wash all single use plastic bags and containers and reuse them.
I Compost food scraps, paper towels, coffee grounds and filters.
I don’t buy sodas – I buy various loose leaf teas in bulk (mint, peach, apple cinnamon, lemon ginger, etc) and sweeten them with honey and drink them iced at work. I always bring my own cup and eating utensils.
I make large pots of food and freeze single serving sizes for easy meals and lunches at work.
I bring my own bags to the grocery store.
Buy things in plastic free packaging when possible.
When buying beer I try to buy the ones packaged in recyclable aluminum cans in cardboard boxes.
I buy my eggs in flats with no plastic or Styrofoam.
Plastic free laundry detergent, softeners and boosters as well as wool balls for the dryer.
Plastic free shampoo, conditioner, and body bars. Toothpaste bites.
Paper towels and toilet paper made from recycled paper.
My clothing almost always is bought at thrift stores.
I’ve been repurposing a 25 lb. Cat food bag in my kitchen trash can and dumping it in the dumpster and using it again instead of plastic trash bags.
I have a hybrid electric car and can drive to work and back on a battery charge.
Replacing my lightbulb with LED bulbs.
I redo and repurpose furniture and other household items.
At work I have a box in the break room to collect all the aluminum cans and recycle them.
I recycle cardboard boxes.
I try not to buy drinks or water in plastic bottles.
Buy fresh vegetables without packaging.
My thermostat is at 68 degrees in the winter, 78 in the summer.
Whew! There is so much you can do once you start trying…. and I’m still trying!

Mary Robert
Mary Robert

February 09, 2020

I wash out all plastic bags I can’t avoid, like bread bags. I buy as much as I can in bulk & use them for bulk items that wouldn’t work in mesh(spices, fine grains). Also take my own containers to the deli for salads, olives, dolmas. I always ask the 1st time in each store. No one has ever said no. Our city recently outlawed single use plastic shopping bags. For Christmas, I hand drew pictures on natural canvas bags & used one as the wrap for each person’s present. Been reusing bags and decorative boxes for years. I’ve gotten my whole family doing this or substituting cloth or paper. Some boxes have been going around for years. They never just get thrown out. If too scuffed for gifting, they’re used for organizing or storage.

Cyndi Allen
Cyndi Allen

February 09, 2020

My big 2019 changes I no longer purchase anything that comes in a single use plastic container that cannot be repurposed.
I also began composting, no longer does any food whether it be moldy fruit or slimy cucumber get thrown in the garbage. First I check to see if it can go in my freezer bag of scraps of veggies for broth, if it doesn’t qualify then it goes into the compost bucket to later go out to my compost heap/area all contained and always turned.
With every step I have taken in my journey, first becoming vegan, slowly turning my life zero waste, now composting…. I have felt so much better inside and out each step of the way…thank you zero waste cartel for all your tips and encouragement and support, it’s been a difficult road and not everyone that was in my life to start is still here but I am ok with that, I can at least say I wanted without a doubt to do what’s right

Joyce
Joyce

February 09, 2020

Here are my best ideas: 1) cancel your curbside garbage pick up. Yes, this is drastic, but it will REALLY make you think about every single thing that you let into your house. My friends know that when I have a party, I have a “pack in – pack out” rule. If they bring a bottle of wine, they have to take the empty wine bottle home with them; 2) shop at farmers markets. You will reduce your waste by a shocking degree. Many vendors will take packaging like glass bottles for honey or kombucha back to reuse it. 3) Shop in second hand stores or go to auctions. You can get good stuff cheap and without the packaging.

Tina
Tina

February 09, 2020

I started small and my efforts are snowballing. Basically, every time I use something up, I ask myself – “is there a plastic-free or package-free alternative for this?” As a result, I’ve replaced most of my toiletries and several pantry items with more environmentally-friendly items. Sometimes the answer is “no” and that’s okay. If we all reduced our consumption of these sorts of items by just 20 or 30%, it would change the world.

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