How to go Zero(ish)-Waste in the New Year
“How do I start living a low waste life?”
We hear that question a lot. Starting to live a low waste lifestyle in a world that seems to run on single-use plastic can be very intimidating. With the New Year rolling in and climate advocacy stepping up, now is a great time to start adopting more sustainable habits. We put together some simple steps to help with starting your zero(ish)-waste journey.
First, let’s start with the facts.
Mass production of plastic started just 6 decades ago and has generated over 8.3 billion tons. And of that, only 9% has been recycled globally.
Worldwide, about 2 million plastic bags are used every minute.
Of those 2 million bags, the average time that each is used is a mere 12 minutes — yet each one takes up to a thousand years to decompose.
Plastic is killing more than 1.1 million seabirds and animals every year.
Globally, we throw away 7.2 million tons of food every year, with more than half of it being edible.
Speaking of which, if food waste was considered a country it would be third in the world (after the United States and China) for carbon emissions.
Scary, right? So what do we do?
First, Inventory Your Waste: Get your hands dirty and organize all your trash into categories: recyclable paper, glass, tin, plastic, compostables, and landfill-bound. What are you producing the most of? Where can you see yourself reducing?
Next, Swap It Out: Once you understand what you are tossing the most of, decide what to swap out. Are you disposing of a lot of cotton balls? Try washable cloth rounds. Too many plastic bottles in your recycling? Switch to a reusable bottle. Overload of plastic baggies? Try our lunch pack to keep your to-go meals plastic-free. Make the switch and watch your piles lower!
Don’t stop revisiting your inventory. After you make the first substitutes, what’s next? One small change can make a BIG difference. Let’s say you replace 1 plastic bag in your lunch with Bee’s Wrap. That saves 240 bags a year from entering a landfill, or worse (and more likely) the ocean.
Keep in mind that these habit shifts take time. It’s not just about choosing alternative products, it’s about transitioning your lifestyle, and change takes time.
Why Zero(ish)-Waste? Because we recognize how living a more sustainable, eco-friendly life is a privilege. To truly make a world-wide difference it requires systemic change, as well as changes on an individual level. Not everyone has access to products, conveniences, or the education that goes into living this lifestyle. But every step and every change can make a BIG difference. We encourage everyone to do what they can with what fits their lifestyle. We all share the same home — let’s help each other by helping to protect it.
So let’s start this new year off right by aiming to make at least one sustainable habit switch. At Bee’s Wrap, we’re committing to regular waste audits to reduce and reuse as much as we can. We want to know: what are your sustainability plans for 2020? Tag us — @beeswrap #BeesWrapVT