A zero-waste lifestyle can be overwhelming at first. We all want to do something but are unsure of where and how to start. Let’s remember the 5 Rs: Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, and Rot, and only in that order. In this Zero-waste Lifestyle series, I will allocate an article to each of the main Rs and the importance of each one. First up, REFUSE.
R E F U S E
Zero waste starts by refusing waste from getting into your home so you do not have to deal with it later. Never leave the house without your reusable shopping bag and refillable water bottle, and if you’re like me and like your coffee/tea on the go, always carry your tumbler. Do the same with your essentials into your daily bag: your keys, wallet and phone. Zero waste comes gradually. So long as you carry the essentials to work, you can easily refuse waste from coming into your household.
Essentials of a day-to-day bag:
- Reusable shopping bag
- Refillable water bottle
- Tumbler (Try to find a tumbler with a metal lining – they are a bit more difficult to source but worth the effort! Nespresso sells great, chic sturdy ones)
- A fabric handkerchief
- A metal straw
- A lunchbox (If I do not have lunch outside, I bring a microwave-safe glass container and my own cutlery wrapped in my fabric handkerchief)
Not only is this a cheaper alternative to eating out, but you can also save a lot of time during your standard and short 60-minute lunch break at the office, and is 100% waste-free. To make an effortless lunch box, I usually double the portion when cooking the previous night’s dinner so that my hubby and I can take the leftovers to work the next day. This is a great way of controlling your calorie intake, and we try to source our products as local (reduce carbon footprint) and organic (reduce toxins intake) as much as possible.
A zero-waste lifestyle is a gift that keeps on giving, because it is so much more than just reducing waste. Rather, it goes beyond being a person who respects the planet, and is also about mental and physical health, and about family, friends, and the community. We have reached 7 billion people on the planet and global warming is a real threat: clean water, clean air and clean food are real concerns. Countries are already affected by global warming like the Maldives with sea levels rising, Pakistan with water shortage, Bangladesh with flooding, and more where that list came from. We all need to change the way we consume. We only have one planet and it cannot be recycled. Little daily changes go a long way.
Refuse… plastic bags, cups, straws, containers, and any disposable items.
Reuse… reusable grocery totes, reusable water bottle, reusable cloth bags.
Reduce… what you consume.
Recycle… what you cannot refuse, reduce and reuse, and Rot (compost) the rest.
Stay tuned for my next article on the Reduce.