Figuring out where to start with zero waste can be a bit overwhelming. I can tell you it doesn’t happen overnight and there may be times that you feel frustrated. When you describe zero waste to someone, there is a chance they are going to look at you like you are an alien or a dirty hippie. There are going to be questions such as “Why on earth would you want to do something like that?” or phrases like “Well that just sounds too hard for me.”. Just stay strong and remember why zero waste became important to you in the first place. Talk to your family about it and let them know that you are serious and being zero waste means a lot to you, and you would appreciate it if they could support the things you care about because that’s what families should do.
There are two main options on where to start for zero waste.
Option 1: Focus on one aspect at a time.
Focusing on one aspect of your life at a time makes things much easier than diving straight in and trying to change everything all at once. You can start in the kitchen, bathroom, laundry room, cleaning supplies, grocery shopping, or while you’re out of the house. Once you are satisfied with the changes you have made to one area you can move on to the next. A great way to figure out which aspect to focus on first is to figure out where you generate the most waste. If tackling the room where you generate the most waste seems like too much at first, try the room that creates the least amount of waste.
Option 2: Make small, simple changes in each aspect.
In my Zero Waste for Beginners I list 30 easy options to help you start your zero waste journey without actually having to purchase anything to get started. It is a broad spectrum of changes to make. For some this may be easier than picking an aspect and then deciding what changes to make specifically for that area.
The important thing to remember is that if we want to claim to be zero waste we have to take action and be advocates for zero waste. I like to do this by picking up trash when I am out. We love the outdoors and it hurts me to see beautiful areas cluttered with litter. So while out hiking or walking along the beach I usually have a bag with me to pick up trash. I will even pick trash up while out in town. Hopefully if someone sees you picking up trash it may inspire them to pick some up as well.