When a journey you start cannot be finished in one big gesture, but instead needs to involve a million moving parts, it can be daunting. Many people give up, simply because it’s the easier way. Their motivation takes a hit and they get discouraged somewhere in the middle of it all.
But here’s a thing:
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.Anne Marie Bonneau (Zero Waste Chef)
Having less impact on the environment isn’t about the destination, it is the journey itself. And because of that, every little thing we do is a win. Every little thing gives us more time on this planet.
So here are 5 little things I did at the very beginning to lower my impact on the environment that you can try as well:
- Start bringing lunch and snacks from home
No matter how eco-conscious your company’s cafeteria is, you cannot control your environmental impact or the amount of waste they produce. Even if they don’t use plastic cutlery or pack their ingredients in plastic, the only person you can control in the short run is you. Yes, with enough allies and persistence, you can impact how much plastic companies are using, but for now, prepare your food at home and pack it in reusable containers.
- Use reusable bottle and mugs
Plastic bottles are evil and we should never use them. There are reusable plastic water bottles, though if you are in position to choose, you should go with the stainless steel bottle. I got mine recently and my water intake went up. I’m better hydrated AND environmentally friendly.
- Bring a cloth bag everywhere you go
Totes bags and cloth bags are everywhere. Not only they are very affordable, but the chances are you have or will receive one as a promotional gift at a company event or something. I got a hole bunch of them at home, but for the most part I always kept them in a drawer and used only sporadically. Now I always have at least one in my backpack just in case I stop by the grocery store on my way from work.
- Use and reuse the things you already have – don’t throw things out unless you have to.
I already had a lot of plastic bags at home, a lot of tea in bags, plastic containers and frozen veggies packed in plastic bags. Before I would’ve just used them and moved on. Nowadays I try not to throw things away, unless I can’t use them any more. I reuse the plastic bags for shopping, until they no longer hold. I try to use up all my tea in bags before I buy fresh loose tea (it’s going to be a while – I have a lot of teas). I repack stuff and try to find new uses for things no longer able to perform their original function (turning old T-shirts into rags and handkerchiefs).
- Search easy zero waste swaps on YouTube
I kid you not, it’s probably one of the first things I did. YouTube is such a great source of information these days that you can learn a lot just by watching a couple of videos. In fact those videos helped me create a lists of 30 things I can try and incorporate into my life. And sure, I’m currently 4 changes in, but I’m still counting it as a win. 🙂
Where would you start?