I have always been asked how one can practice a “zero waste” lifestyle. Although I have no direct or clear path that I can show you, as we all lead very different lifestyles and there is no one direct path, I do know that we can all start somewhere. For more than a year now, I have been living a more meaningful and mindful lifestyle. When I first started, I wish I had a clearer way to get to where I am now; but we all learn through our own journey’s, don’t we?
Here I will share 5 things you can do to live a more meaningful and mindful lifestyle. Hopefully this will aide you to discovery and learnings that you can take along the way.
BREATHE & ASSES
First, you need to know that what you are getting into is an eye-opener and a life-changer. Once you see the reality of it all, you can no longer see things the way they were. I no longer see a plastic bag the same way I used to. Hence, breathe. It will get overwhelming seeing how so many people are doing better than you and producing less trash than you are. Remember that no one is actually of “zero-waste”. We all have waste, you just don’t see it in their Instagram. Take charge of your own journey and learn from others instead. With that, asses your lifestyle. Which areas produce more trash than certain areas? You may notice that your milk tea purchases are producing a lot of plastic trash or your occasional water bottle purchases are actually not as occasional as you thought. Asses and know where you can actually make adjustments rather than just getting into this blindly.
Bring a WATER BOTTLE
One thing we all do is drink water. A major practical step for you is to invest or reuse a water bottle that you already have and bring it everywhere you go. Worry about refilling it? Refill in school, refill before you leave work, refill it at restaurants, refill it in cafe’s. You will save a lot of money and more importantly, you will save the oceans.
Bring CUTLERY SET
Another thing we all do is eat. We do it three or more times in a day. You may not be able to bring a separate lunchbox wherever you go, but bringing your own cutlery set helps. Spoon, Fork, Chopsticks, and a Straw all placed in my cutlery kit. It’s an easy store in my bag and I never leave without it. You can easily make your own cutlery set from utensils at home. No need to purchase new ones if you do not need any.
Handkerchief’s are very handy tools as they can serve multiple purposes. They are great to use as an alternative to tissues when you have colds or in need to dry your hands. Handkerchiefs are also great for holding dry snacks – a donut or ensaymada perhaps. They too are great for buying bulk dried goods. No more canvas bag for your nuts, you can use a handkerchief instead – furoshiki style. Sometimes, a handkerchief does it all. Best thing is, you already own several of them.
One thing that I learned to do is say NO. You will soon realize that the things you let into your lives or simply into your households are the things you could have said NO (thank you) to. Free fliers? No. Free eco bag (remember you have about 10 at home already)? No. Free lotion sample at the MRT? No. Besides all the things being showcased to you by the universe, also learn to say NO to your impulses. Your impulses to shop for things (especially when on sale). You wanting something because it looks good at that moment in time. Sometimes, we have control over what we do put into our lives. So take that control into good use.
There you have it, things that you can actually start doing today! There are a lot more you can do, so much more; yet it is better to create habits that will stick and will definitely help the environment. From there, you can look into doing other things because you definitely have mastered these ones already. Another thing you can definitely do right now is to find people who you can talk to and do this with, find your community! (p.s. I’m here to help you out.)