When you start your zero waste journey, it can be incredibly daunting – take it from me, it’s no picnic! I know pictures make it look so easy and beautiful. A yard full of animals, colourful jars, beautiful home-made planters with flowers and herbs. But let’s face the reality of it – starting out can be more than just scary. It can also be incredibly confusing! Even I struggled to figure out where to start when I began my journey. So here’s a simple, easy to follow tip for those of you who are also trying to find their footing: Inspect Your Trash. Once you’ve mastered the concept of ‘what’s my trash’, things will get easier.
I know! It sounds absolutely disgusting – it’s not. Alright, it can be – but it really depends on what your trash is, and what you do with it. For the most part, trash is really just containers and packaging. But looking through your trash and understanding how you generate it is a very important step in actually cutting it out.
Find the Repeat Trash Offenders
We all have them, and there’s no point in denying it. As a matter of fact, a friend of mine has a pretty addictive love for Hug in a Mug Cappuccinos – and so does her family. Her number one culprit are those little instant packets. At the moment she and her family buy them in bulk, to try and save on packaging. It’s a small effort, but it does make a difference.
I had a few repeat offenders in the trash bin myself! Most of us have our little vices and pleasures, but we often don’t realize how much packaging we end up with.
Your number one item could be a to-go coffee cup. It might be food wrappers, or those small yogurt cups (especially if you enjoy the perfect little portion size they come in!). Maybe you love instant coffee that come in packets, or have a favourite food snack. It could be anything and everything.
Once you’ve started looking through your trash, find a way to take note of what’s there. Take photos, or keep a small written log book. Do this for a week or two, and that will give you a very good idea of where the majority of your waste comes from.
Fight the Garbage!
Once you have a pretty good idea of what you’re biggest trash offenders are, you can find ways to create less waste. You can avoid buying the items if possible. Take your own cup to coffee shops instead of getting to-go cups. Use your yogurt cups as planters for seedlings – these work really well! And remember, repurposing is a great way to reduce the amount of waste you throw away – I even found a way to make some really cool bags from old shirts!
The real point of the exercise is to identify where you create the most trash, and then employing our favourite R’s: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (I’ve also recently decided that Rot is a brilliant addition to this list if you have a compost heap!).
Already fighting your trash?
If you have some tips or advice, I’d love to hear about it in the comment section.
Until next time…happy Greenish living!