Everyday Zero Waste: Simple Steps for a Sustainable Life

zero waste in Long Beach
The zero waste movement is gaining speed, you can check out entire Instagram accounts, online sellers and bloggers dedicated to activities that promise to eliminate plastic pollution, reduce food waste and help us live more sustainably.

But what exactly is zero waste

In fact, that’s exactly what it means: zero waste, nothing goes to landfill, and everything is actually used, reused, recycled or maintained in the cycle of our planet Earth’s limited resources. But being zero waste is a difficult task, so it’s more of a principle that businesses, governments and individuals can use to move forward. Making the decision to go zero waste is a big step, because everyday life involves so many contrary things, like buying new (and cheap) instead of repairing, throwing in the trash instead of recycling, and plastic single use everywhere.

So is zero waste feasible for a person at home

It can be scary and overwhelming to think that you will never throw something away after going zero waste, and there is a misconception that zero waste products are more expensive, but it is possible to go zero waste with a budget. The best way to start is to break the process down into different steps and determine ways to achieve your zero waste goals, your way. First, check your trash. The best way to determine your starting point for the zero waste journey is to audit your waste. The goal of a waste audit is simple: determine what you throw away, how often, and how you can change your habits. There is no set timetable for how long waste should be collected before conducting an audit, but as a general rule, a week should be enough to provide you with valuable information. The only supplies you’ll need are heavy-duty gloves, your trash and recycling containers, and a way to record your data. In the same way that you can scan the refrigerator before you go grocery shopping to see what you have and what you need, a waste audit can help you determine how much waste your household produces and how that waste can be disposed of responsibly by other means.

Start composting to reduce food waste

Did you know that 6 million tons of food are wasted every year in California? When this organic waste is placed in garbage bags, the time required for its decomposition increases from a few weeks to several years. Luckily, you can help properly decompose organic matter and food scraps in your own garden! You don’t need a fancy trash can to start your composting journey. While not as neat and tidy as composting in a bin, a compost pile is one of the best options for beginners because no structure is needed to get started. If you don’t have a lot of green space at home, there are other solutions for converting your kitchen waste into soil nutrients. Check your municipality’s website to see if there are options, such as ordering a free food basket and/or a food waste bin. As a reminder, it’s important to keep all plastics, even those labeled as biodegradable or compostable, out of your home compost bin or pile. Marketing plant-based plastics as sustainable is a prime example of greenwashing, because these plastics only degrade in the way intended, in an industrial composting facility with just the right temperature and microbes .

Introduce reusable objects into your daily life

Although the word zero waste seems to be becoming fashionable, reusable products have been around forever and you probably already own many of them. Do reusable water bottles, thermal coffee mugs and canvas shopping bags ring a bell? Without much effort, you can adopt a waste-free lifestyle by choosing one of these items over single-use products. Of course, reusable items don’t do you or the environment any good if you don’t remember to use them. To avoid forgetting your canvas bag or thermal mug at home, try storing a few bags in the trunk of your car and keeping a clean, empty mug in the cup holder! For products that come in complex packaging (e.g. your favorite cream or shampoo), it is more difficult to do a direct exchange when there are few zero waste alternatives. Fortunately some companies provide a convenient solution for purchasing products from your favorite brands in durable, reusable packaging. After all, the future is within reach again.

Leverage your purchasing power

As a consumer, the most effective way to limit waste is to buy less and reduce the amount of excess stuff in your life. Of course, there will be situations where you need to purchase an item you don’t have. In this case, choose to purchase from companies that practice responsible production and disposal. It’s not always easy to determine whether companies have these practices in place, but companies that are actively working to limit their impact on the environment will want consumers to be in the know and are likely to be more transparent about their packaging and waste management methods. When researching the companies you buy from, ask yourself the following questions: Is this claim green or ecological without the actions that support it? Is their waste usually sent to landfills or to other countries? Even if you apply all of these zero waste tips and tricks to your daily life, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to eliminate all of your waste, all of the time. The waste experts at Long Beach Dumpster Rentals HQ designed a system to ease this burden and provide people with a convenient, comprehensive recycling solution for hundreds of typically non-recyclable items.