What is Living Waste Free?

To me living waste free, commonly known and referred to throughout the blog as zero waste, means reducing your impact on the environment by creating little to no waste. Here I define waste as any item that can’t be reused, recycled, or composted and is therefore sent to the landfill.

Some reusable items that make zero-waste easy.

Reducing your waste can seem like a daunting task the first time you hear about it, but it’s actually easy to make small changes that have a big impact. I’ve found that changing my mindset and how I think about consumption and waste was the hardest part. The easy part comes once you’ve made the commitment to reduce the amount you throw in the garbage.

Being zero waste looks different to everyone.

For some living zero waste means creating so little trash that it can fit into a mason jar. For others, it just means striving towards no consumption even if there are some missteps along the way.

My trash can, at right, with a quart sized mason jar for comparison.

The bottom line is that zero waste isn’t a goal, it’s a lifestyle.

This is something I have to remind myself of daily, because I am not perfect. I know how easy it is to be creating no waste for months and then have one day where you go out to eat and order something thinking it will be un-packaged only to find out it’s plastic wrapped. The trick is to not see these situations as failures, but rather as experiences that can be learned from.

Who knew my clam chowder and lobster roll would come with chips and a plastic fork when I was careful to use my reusable container!

Zero waste isn’t about perfection, it’s about being conscious of what you are consuming and making ecological choices. If there is an option between a plastic bag full of rice and a recyclable box full of rice, go for the box and be sure to recycle! Even if all you can manage is to cut out one piece of trash a day that’s still 365 at the end of the year!

If there is only one type of un-packaged onion available, like in the photo above, choose it instead of the ones sold in mesh bags.

Why go zero waste?

For me, it all comes down to one thing: I don’t want the next generation to have to live with my trash. I want to be a part of the solution so that every generation can enjoy the earth’s beauty instead of the massive landfills we are carving into it.

Everyone has their own reason to care. If you can’t seem to find one, take a trip to your local dump (or just search for photos on Google). It’s ugly and bad for the planet, and these storehouses for our waste are growing every day.

Dumpsters are pretty gross too.

If you’re looking for more zero waste inspiration check out the people who originally inspired me: