Refuse what you do not need. Stop allowing things like junk mail, free pens and takeout boxes to clutter your home. Think of each dollar as a vote and try to make purchasing (or lack thereof) decisions that uphold your values.
Reduce what you do need. Examine your home and lifestyle to identify things that you don’t need. Look for duplicates and things that society has convinced you that you need (i.e. a salad spinner). Donate the extra items to secondhand stores or sell online!
Reuse by using reusables. Replace these items with long-lasting Zero Waste alternatives that either A) will last into a foreseeable forever (think stainless steel or glass) or B) will effectively disappear into the Earth with time.
Recycle what you cannot refuse, reduce or reuse. Anything that you are unable to find a suitable purpose for (without tossing) can likely be recycled. Research your local recycling policies and follow their rules!
Rot (a.k.a. compost the rest). At this point, you should have taken care of the vast majority of your waste. Hoorah! All that’s left should in theory be food waste and compostable scraps – think meal scraps, coffee grounds, egg shells, bamboo items, compostable papers, etc.
We will never refuse gifts from loved ones.
Many Zero Wasters keep a very close eye on what comes into the home from outside sources. Some go as far as to refuse gifts given that do not comply with Zero Waste standards. While Josh and I hope that our lifestyle will inspire others to come up with creative solutions to celebrating holidays and birthdays with gift giving, we refuse to force those rules upon our friends and family.
We will not buy new, if we can help it.
We are Zero Wasters on a budget. As Josh and I head into this first year of Zero Waste we will do our very best to purchase secondhand (either from thrift stores, vintage boutiques, Ebay or Craigslist) or create something of our own before we purchase brand new. Keep an eye out for our discoveries and solutions along the way!
Some exceptions will be made for essential medication, kitty litter and emergencies.
As the world stands today, we have very few alternative options when it comes to things like medication. If we have the choice, we will defer to glass (and other recyclable) options or ask our pharmacist to do refills directly. Otherwise, those little bits of plastic and foil are here to stay.
We are only human. So, we ask for lots of grace in the grey areas.
Going entirely Zero Waste is next to impossible, but we are setting out to do our absolute best for ourselves and for our future family. We promise to always seek out as much information as possible and make the best decisions we can in the moment. If we slip up, give us a break! This is not a competition, but an exercise in self-restraint and good decision-making, so here goes!
Thanks for sticking with us!
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