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How to Get To Zero Waste
January 12, 2021
| Lindsey Berry

Zero-waste living is not easy, it’s a challenge. It starts with adopting a more thoughtful approach to living, recognizing the need to help restore the ecological balance in nature and changing our wasteful habits and perceptions about consumption.  Zero waste is a choice and how to get there requires choosing a lifestyle prioritizing environmental sustainability.

Nature has its own curriculum; how intricately designed and connected it all is. Seeking this knowledge begins an embarkment towards zero waste, leaving harmful customs behind, creating room for applications and implementations of natural solutions, organic routines and healthy and environmentally friendly practices.

Do more, waste less.

A great first step is simply learning how to reduce the amount of harmful waste produced in your household on a daily basis. Researching options available to you is imperative. Determine if recycling is available and what is and isn’t accepted. If it not, how can I recycle it, or can I?

Assess the waste in your home and prioritize the steps you want to take to eliminate it. Become more aware of the life cycle of an item or product, and begin to streamline what enters your home. How was it made and where? Where will the object go, if and when I don’t need it anymore? Or ask yourself, do I really need this?

Look At Your Waste

Start recycling better; clean and sort waste into the proper recycling bins. Create goals. Recycle more, and throw away less. Declutter your house. Get on track for success, in a more organized and clean surrounding.  Choose to refuse plastic water bottles; drink filtered tap water at home. Choose refillable and reusable items. Shop at zero-waste stores. Cut back on processed and packaged foods. Begin to reduce the amount of purchases that come with wasteful packaging. Skip the products that do. Refuse single use plastics, straws, plastic cutlery and plastic bags. 

Food Waste

In the United States, only 5% of food waste is composted. And 46% of all household waste is food. World-wide food waste makes up 30-40% of landfill waste. If you are seeking ways to reduce and reuse and repurpose, try composting – it’s amazing! Composting is the natural process of recycling organic matter into a valuable fertilizer that can enrich soil and grow healthy plants. Anyone can compost. It’s easy.

Getting There is the Adventure

Zero waste is a mentality, and to get there we just have to go. Discovering if zero waste is attainable or not, that’s part of the journey.

The path to clean living provides adults and children opportunities to engage in meaningful learning activities and healthy discussions. It encourages adults and children alike to examine environmental problems and solutions more critically. The scope of sustainability – social, environmental, and economic, brings about new ideas, innovations and insight. Sustainable education promotes cognitive development, STEM educational experiences and develops a greater appreciation of social studies, language, literacy, and art and is readily accessible and paramount to our future to zero waste.

If you can’t do it forever, it is by definition not sustainable.

David Attenborough

As natural explorers, children are intrigued by sustainable and circular living. The accompanying activities, recycling, up-cycling, composting, gardening, renewable energy, deconstructing products, labels and environment issues are interesting, engaging and fun. As world citizens, it is our responsibility to provide a map.

Zero Waste Lifestyle

Sustainability is a global goal; problems and solutions are found in local ecologies and communities, and often right in our homes. A zero-waste lifestyle may vary among households, budgets, geographies. Everyone can participate on some level; small actions done by hundreds of people add up to impact. Learn to practice a sustainable and zero waste life style and determine how to incorporate it into everyday life, whatever that may look like. Here are more tips to help get you going.

Do Something New

Upcycle an old tee-shirt into a cleaning rag. Try making a DIY household cleaner or toothpaste. Create art out of items in your house. Read an article on regeneration agriculture. Educate yourself. Consider ways you can avoid waste and find solutions that better sustains in your household.  

Make Your Own

Try new recipes, change your diet, choose sustainable products and read labels. Learn to cook simple meals, alone or together as a family, to avoid waste from take-out. 

Grow Something

Growing a plant from seed, unlocks the mysterious grandeur of nature and allows the experience, first-hand of where our food comes from and helps to develop a basis of understanding of organic and whole food production. 

Buy More Plants

Try to incorporate foods like fruits and vegetables. Just by eating plant based you can reduce your household waste tremendously. Plants will biodegrade and ensure that you are eating for the health of planet.  If eliminating meat is not on the table, consider trying to just eat less meat. Why? Less meat equals less pollution. Concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) and  industrial crop production negatively affects air quality, soil health, fresh water and contributes to green- house gas emissions. In the United States, a mere 4% of all crops grown, is produce. The majority: corn, soy and wheat, grown with high amount of pesticides and herbicides. It’s shipped overseas, sold to consumers as processed foods, and 55%  of it, is used to feed livestock.

Get Involved

Find a network of like-minded individuals who seek sustainable lifestyle choices; it will empower you. And provide a means to more pathways and more directions towards zero waste, and create a sense of community.

Lindsey Berry
Lindsey Berry
Lindsey is a graduate of University of Kentucky, a mother of four and an advocate for children, health & wellness, and the environment. She and her family reside in Carmel, Indiana and strive to live sustainably, practicing at home plant based and clean eating, and many zero waste methodologies. Lindsey is the CEO of Helping Ninjas™ a nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and provide opportunities for kids to learn to be highly skilled at helping the world.