Article by Shakti B. Larose
Living zero waste with ease is now possible thanks to this article! When we talk about a greener world, we immediately think of a reduction in global pollution and waste, which can make us feel powerless. How do we make a difference on an individual level?
Zero waste household is the alternative of choice! It is also a way of life because it involves transforming our habits and introducing new ones. Some may seem more complicated to set up than others, but luckily, today we’re sharing zero waste tips and resources to make the transition convenient and easier than ever.
As Mélissa de La Fontaine, a recognized reference of the zero waste movement in Quebec, said so well in the Red Table dedicated to this subject: “There is no zero waste police, and the goal is not to be perfect, but rather to do our best!”
Nowadays, several inspiring companies and organizations are dedicated to offering products, tips, and resources to simplify this transition, such as Mme L’Ovary for eco-friendly menstruation, Coop Incita for support towards a zero waste lifestyle, or Les Trappeuses for our DIY homemade products (Do It Yourself).
Photo credit: Josée Lecompte
How to become zero waste?
Changing our habits means transforming the less favourable ones into better ones. These new behaviours are often preferable, both for the environment, for our wallet, and ourselves. Zero waste is the return to autonomy and consistency between our values and actions.
In this way, we develop a more intimate bond with the Earth, with our body, with the foods we eat, the way we clean ourselves, etc. Of course, it takes determination and time. It is generally said that it takes 21 days in order to start a new habit. Therefore, one should not give up and continue until it becomes an anchored, easy, and automatic reflex.
“If zero waste makes you anxious, you’ve gone too far. Relax and take a step back.” -Mélissa de La Fontaine
How to stay motivated?
It is important to find the deep and personal motivation for this change, so you won’t give up at the slightest difficulty. Of course, our primary intention remains to move towards zero waste. Then, it is worth remembering why it should be put in place and what our limits are.
“Striving for zero waste depends on personal limits and the context of each person’s life.” -Mélissa de La Fontaine
Is it to save money, to follow the current trends or to live in a greener way? All the answers are good. The most important thing is that the more we feel emotionally involved by our reason why, the more we will be motivated to continue our quest and look for new zero waste tips.
However, don’t try to do everything all at once, but rather see where implementing a change will make the biggest difference. To do this, let’s now analyze a little magic formula to help us on this journey: the 5 Rs.
The 5 Rs
A magic formula is a short phrase that helps to make an aspect more real and concrete. The 5 Rs help us stay the course in our zero waste transition. Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Compost are actually 4 Rs and 1 C. The 5 Rs appear after all as an English-speaking expression taken from Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste (Transcontinental, 2014).
To pursue our goal of a zero waste family, let’s first refuse to buy unnecessarily. Stop buying out of compulsion and ask yourself if you really need it. We can already say no to advertisements, spam, consuming single-use utensils, gift wrapping, etc. To refuse what no longer makes sense to us is also to regain power over our lives.
Have you ever seen the impressive video The Story of a Spoon? It definitely puts refusal on a daily basis into perspective.
Living simply is in itself an eco-responsible act, and even eco-friendly. Buying less often, in larger quantities, in bulk, and by sharing with others significantly reduces our ecological footprint, in addition to saving us money. In addition, by limiting our consumption, time is saved in housekeeping and sorting.
Our society has conditioned us to throw away objects at the slightest breakage and defects. One trick is to ask yourself if you can fix your things instead of getting rid of them or even find a new life for them. Let your creativity run wild. 🙂 You can give them away, organize a big garage sale, or bring them to companies that recycle old things. Reusing also means buying second-hand items before purchasing new ones. We have the opportunity to look for what we are missing in the classifieds (long live Marketplace!), in our community, and in thrift stores.
This is an important action, even if we must first and foremost all strive to reduce our garbage. Let’s look at the amount of recycling we produce and try to reduce it. Can I make these products myself to limit packaging? Here are some very simple examples: make your own hummus, deodorant, granola bars, soap, etc. With this in mind, DIY seems most interesting to apply in the spheres where the most waste is created.
Garbage, when thrown in the trash, remains a major source of pollution in landfills. Since it’s buried airtight, it turns into methane, which is a material 23x more polluting than CO2 (yes, yes, even organic material!).
Fortunately, food leftovers remain easy to dispose of, either in the city’s compost, eco-friendly organizations, or even in a small homemade compost. You can also get vermicompost, which makes an excellent fertilizer for gardens. In the city, you can even put animal litter, toilet paper, and cardboard in there, so let’s take advantage of it!
Thanks to eco-friendly menstruation, zero waste tips and tricks, and the 5 R formula, we have the opportunity to integrate this concept into our lives a little more with every decision we make. Enjoy it and don’t forget to check out the links to the shops and zero waste tips.
Enjoy the discovery!
“Even with a minority of the population adopting the ZW, we can do great things.” -Mélissa de La Fontaine
Zero Waste and DIY Resources
Zero Waste Circuit: Geographically locate zero waste companies in Quebec
Lespagesvertes.ca: Directory of eco-friendly businesses
Les Trappeuses: DIY products and recipes