A woman sitting on a cliff looking at the road in front of her

New Year, New Journey

For many of us, the beginning of a New Year brings personal commitments to better health and wellness, and better habits in general. One of these habits you may be thinking about is starting your zero waste journey.

Zero waste can seem to be an impossible goal, but keep your focus on the path, not the destination. A quote that sums it up well states “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”(Anne Marie Bonneau)

Here are a few tips to get you get you started:

  • Do a waste audit, take stock of what is in your garbage and recycle bins to see areas where you could start to make changes. Are plastic shampoo and body wash bottles piling up? Maybe switching to bar soaps and shampoos are in order, or using refillable options. Amazon envelopes in the garbage? Perhaps time to really look at what you’re buying. Is it necessary? Can it be borrowed or bought on Kiji or a local online marketplace?
  • Pick an area to focus on first, then build on your success. Change your grocery habits - bringing reusable bags for produce and groceries, seek produce options that are not wrapped in plastic. Maybe you’d rather stop buying fast fashion, consider maintaining a smaller wardrobe with items you have already, or commit to only buying used items from sites like Poshmark or brick and mortar thrift shops. Another area is gift giving - consider giving experiences instead of physical items or gifting items you make or services you can provide (canned and baked goods, knit items, soaps, photo sessions, babysitting).
books on ground

Read, read, read! There are so many great books on zero waste to get you motivated on making changes. Books can give you tips on how to start, what benefits you will see, and peak your interest in sustainable practices. Here are a few book suggestions to get you started:

  • Zero Waste Home, by Bea Johnson
  • Sustainable Badass, by Gittemarie Johansen
  • The Zero Waste Solution, by Paul Connett
  • Consumed, The Need for Collective Change: Colonialism, Climate Change and Consumerism by Aja Barber
  • Take a course! Zero Waste Canada offers a great fundamentals course to help get you started on your Zero Waste journey! The course provides a solid foundation of Zero Waste practices, policies, values and concepts.

Zero waste is a great habit to develop to make you feel that you personally have control over making a positive change to our environment. Through exercising the principles of rethink, reduce, reuse you can help save natural resources, reduce reliance on landfill and incineration, keep plastic out of our rivers and oceans and more.

You’ll also be surprised how you feel along the way. You may be inspired to share your practices with others, create new hobbies (cooking zero waste, making personal care and cleaning products, crafting gifts for friends), save money and put experiences over stuff.

Grab your reusable water bottle and well worn backpack and enjoy your journey!