By Magali Lafleur
Zero waste is a big trendy topic these days. Being green, pushing companies to make changes, and encouraging communities to be more eco-friendly. Zero waste living isn’t a trend; it’s a lifestyle, it’s a choice. Zero waste is about making conscious decisions and avoiding our old habits that ruin the planet. Our planet is close to a tipping point. In 2019, the UN announced that we had 11 years to “prevent irreversible damage from climate change”. “Every year, 1.3 billion tons of food are wasted” and cities produce “70% of global carbon emissions”. Nature is fighting back with hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. We must help our home planet that has taken such good care of us. We have to do our part before it’s too late.
It’s up to us to make the right choices. I’ve always believed that our money, purchases, and choices count as a vote. By buying something at a place like Zara, you’re telling them “I like what you’re doing, keep it up.” Yet we all know Zara and other huge companies are creating fast fashion clothing so disposable and do not treat their clothing or workers ethically. Choose to purchase from local or national made products and support small neighbourhood businesses.
Remember to be ECO! Encourage sustainability, change for the better, and be open-minded. Remember sustainability isn’t an option for everyone but it definitely a better option for the planet. Sustainability does have a luxurious image. But it doesn’t have to be! But you could be sustainable and not even know it yet! At home, you could have a few items that you already own that you could use to create your own zero waste lifestyle. It’s all about using what you already own and reducing consumerism.
- By using utensils, you could create your own zero waste utensil kit. Have a lost sock but know it’ll turn up even though it’s been years? Use that as a pouch! Use your tupperware and cut up an old t-shirt or an old rag as a napkin.
- Finish your shampoo bottles you bought at a drugstore but keep the bottle and head over to your local zero waste to fill up your bottles and keep them for life! Same goes for dish soap bottles, laundry detergent, all-purpose spray cleaners, mouthwash, and anything liquid really!
- Donate your clothing to bin or thrift stores instead of throwing them away but make sure they need what you have so it doesn’t go to waste. Also make sure that it’s in good condition. Don’t donate broken or torn things.
- Switch out lightbulbs to LED lights, keep your electronics charged when you need them to be and unplug electronics and lamps when not in use.
- Buy second hand and refurbished when you can and support small businesses.
- Sustainability goes wrong when you throw out all your jars and buy new ones only to fill up the same stuff. Let me tell you nothing in my pantry is cute or matching. I use old pasta jars to hold my bulk rice, I use random spice jars to hold my bulk chia seeds, and I use little tiny jam jars from BnBs to travel with my vitamins. Sustainability isn’t necessarily cute but mother nature thinks it’s cute.
- Try looking for materials like reclaimed wood, bamboo, aluminum, glass, metal, instead of plastic and polyester. Don’t forget second-hand too!
Being sustainable and eco-friendly is about not harming the planet. It’s about reducing what we have and living minimally with only what we need. Remember, this will not happen overnight; even I'm still working on my lifestyle. I'm continuing to improve, learn, and grow about sustainability.
It’s up to us, the people, to make active choices, push for policy changes and cast our votes to the right companies and reduce everything we do (consumerism-wise). We can’t reduce greenhouse gases tomorrow but we can make a gradual change if we all do it together. We can slowly make this planet last just a little bit longer for ourselves and our children. Follow my sustainability blog @findyouralternative on Instagram for more tips and tricks. What works for me might not work for you but we can always find an alternative :)