The rapid growth of social media use has allowed many to access and share more information than ever before. With that, many environmentally conscious individuals have stepped up and shared the harm we are unconsciously doing to our precious Earth.
In reality, humans generate too much trash and those that are non-biodegradable and cannot be recycled end up polluting our oceans and landfills. According to National Geographic, about 8 million tons of plastic waste goes from the coastal nations into the oceans every year.
The data available online in our world that is desperately gasping for fresh air has raised awareness of the importance of a more eco-friendly lifestyle. The zero-waste movement is an environment-friendly lifestyle to reduce the amount of waste we create daily. In 2016, a non-profit organisation called Zero Waste Malaysia started advocating for sustainable development to raise the local community’s awareness about sustainable living.
So, are you up for a challenge? Here are seven simple ways to start becoming a zero-waste hero and make your home more eco-friendly.
1. Start slow
Just like a diet, adopting and adapting to a zero-waste lifestyle can be challenging. Be kinder to yourself and start slow by analysing your current habits that could improve.
2. Use natural cleaning products
Change your usual cleaning products that may lead to pollution and waste. Instead, try biodegradable, green cleaning products containing fewer allergens and non-toxic ingredients and save resources (recyclable packaging).
They are also typically cruelty-free and are much safer for those with concerning health conditions. Brands such as bio-home and The Truly Loving Company (TLC) use plant-based and biodegradable ingredients for their home cleaning range.
3. Switch the biggest culprits
Swapping some of the things you use that usually end up in the dustbin save a lot of waste. Having to buy new stuff might sound like a waste of money, but switching from disposable for their reusable counterparts is a better alternative in the long run.
Here are some easy swaps you can make:
- Use reusable water bottles like the famous Tupperware instead of disposable ones.
- Bring your own cup when getting coffee at your favourite cafe.
- Get reusable straws made of stainless steel, glass, or silicone.
- Remember to bring reusable bags when shopping to reduce the tremendous amount of plastic bags at home.
- Choose bar soap instead of liquid soap that is in plastic containers. Better yet, opt for bar soaps with organic ingredients.
- Consider switching to zero-waste menstrual products like cloth pads and menstrual cups.
4. Wash clothes in cold water and skip the dryer
Water heating contributes to about 90% of energy use in washing machines. Using cold water settings can reduce carbon dioxide emissions. Also, take advantage of the Malaysian weather and hang your clothes outside. Not only will you save energy, but you can conserve your clothes longer as there is no risk of getting them fried in the dryer.
5. Start indoor gardening
Indoor gardening is simply the act of growing plants indoors. Potted plants are great for filtering the air we breathe and minimising waste with homemade compost. Not to mention, they can improve mood, lower stress and anxiety, and improve focus and performance.
6. Cook, don’t buy
Minimise food waste by planning and preparing your meals. That way, you can reduce food waste by buying only what you need at the grocery store and reducing food packaging waste from takeaway food. Plus, it’s healthier!
Last but not least, the third element in the famous 3R mantra: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. One fun approach is by DIY-ing your old unused items like making crafts with plastic bottles or fabrics. However, if you don’t have time to squeeze your creative juices, sending used materials to recycling facilities is always a great alternative.
Say yes to a zero-waste lifestyle!
As the saying goes, “Change starts at home.” It is important to remember that a zero-waste lifestyle would not only help the environment but could have a significant impact on your life.