The simple definition to the question, what is Zero Waste? is to send nothing to the landfill. A more textbook definition would be to completely redefine the system and move to a circular economy and write waste out of existence.
The main thing is not to let the word Zero Waste intimidate or restrict you in any way.
The decision to go Zero Waste doesn't usually happen overnight. You would have found yourself thinking more and more about the environmental consequences of your actions long before you even thought of making an effort towards Zero Waste.
Habitually it takes time for people to adjust and rethink their habits.
It may have taken a few articles on climate change, a couple of blogs on health benefits, cost comparisons and easy accessibility to Zero Waste swaps before any of us decided to take the leap.
Moreover, if you had to convince your partner, your family, a friend to take the leap with you, it may take some extra research and convincing.
The following tips are designed around helping you understand and hopefully encourage your partner towards the cause is sure to make the journey that much more exciting for both of you.
1. First and foremost, accept that it will be a process for both of you.
It might be a learning experience that can be annoying at times for one or both of you. The key to helping your partner, friend or even family understand Zero Waste living will take time, patience, and kindness. You have to lead by example.
2. Be respectful towards their feelings and intentions.
In any relationship, respect will play a key role in keeping the relationship going. Sometimes just because you don't see eye to eye on your habits or actions doesn't mean that they are less compassionate towards the environment.
This takes us to the third important tip...compromise!
3. There are many ways of doing things, and somewhere out there lies a compromise for you both.
Try easing into the topic over some time. Talk about the environment and what's happening around us. Discuss how we are inflicting on the environment through the daily habits that we usually take for granted. It can be simple things like single-use coffee cups to toothpaste with micro-beads etc.
Find out sensitive areas such as health benefits/implications and talk about them more for better impact.
After understanding the implications, allow them to choose the type of products they buy/use and how often.
4. Start with the small changes first.
They should see how easy it is to shift everyday items in your life with some easily swappable reusable products.
Once they start using these with you regularly, it will automatically become a habit that you enjoy and feel good about!
Few easy swaps you could start with are;
- Bring your reusable bags to the grocery store.
- Use matching reusable filter water bottle when jogging and hiking together.
- Start using reusable coffee cups for that daily cuppa. Remember to take it with you when you go out.
- Take your own reusable food container for takeout.
- Get matching embroidered handkerchiefs.
Read more about easy environmentally friendly swaps here in our blog; The beginners guide to Zero Waste living.
5. Try to be more aware of what you buy and the implications of those actions.
We all get impulsive urges for packaged snacks mostly. Try to look for brands that have recyclable packaging or made from recycled content.
Or sometimes, you could even try reducing the frequency of buying your favourite packaged snacks.
All of this adds to the positive impact you are making on the environment and will save you money too.
6. Accept that you will still buy/use some regular products that you may not want to part with despite your conviction towards Zero Waste.
Never let this bring you down or make you give up your journey. Doing what's most comfortable for you will be more sustainable in the long run than doing something that you are unhappy with or have to force yourself every day.
7. Zero Waste is not only about creating less or no trash. It is also getting used to letting go of things that aren't important in your life.
Most of us struggle with this daily. One crucial aspect of Zero Waste living is to prevent unnecessary things from entering your home in the first place and discarding the unwanted stuff regularly.
Having fewer things around your home will help you focus more time and energy on what you really love.
So give it a go
It's not about winning Zero Waste.
It's all about trying.
And everyone will not be able to participate fully at all times.
Going Zero Waste is a whole bunch of little tiny changes that add up to a massive impact on our environment.