At CURA, we've been going deep on our zero waste journey this year with the guidance of sustainability expert Moji Igun of Blue Daisi Consulting. Moji has gently guided us through simple daily choices to help us live a more sustainable life. Now she's laying the foundation for a zero waste mindset in this Beginner's Guide to Zero Waste Living while we add some of CURA's favorite zero waste and waste reducing options along the way. Enjoy!
Can you remember life before Amazon? It seems like it has been ages since we have been able to buy pretty much anything we need online. It is quick and cheap and convenient, but that pace of consumption is not sustainable for our society.
Zero waste living offers an inverse experience. It encourages us to slow down and be far more intentional with how we interact with the world.
Zero waste living has been increasing in mainstream popularity in recent years. We can incorporate more sustainable practices into our routines by examining several areas of our lives.
Spring has sprung which means spring cleaning is likely at the top of your to do list. We are making space for the new energetic year by decluttering and looking for sustainable ways to get rid of the things we no longer need. Cleaning products including paper towels, sponges, and cleaners all have low waste alternatives that can help bring some more intention to your routine. We can freshen up our space while minimizing negative impacts on the environment.
In the Kitchen
We make decisions about what to eat many times every single day. Those decisions might happen at the grocery store or when we are deciding what to get for takeout. It can be a challenge to consider our waste when our stomachs are rumbling. According to the US Department of Agriculture, between 30–40 percent of the food we grow is wasted and is a large contributor to global carbon emissions. Unnecessary food packaging can be a significant source of single-use plastic waste. With some simple shifts in our behaviors we can reduce our individual impact by being more intentional in the kitchen. Keeping and carrying your own reusable bamboo straws and utensils are an easy way to avoid excess plastic consumption while venturing out to coffee shops and takeaway restaurants.
As the world slowly begins to open back up, we are having more reasons to get dressed again. I am secretly hoping that cute tops paired with sweatpants become a ~lewk~. But, in case my trend forecasting is incorrect, it is time to start thinking about what we wear outside of our homes again. Investing in high-quality wardrobe staples in one of the best places to start. By developing our personal style, we can avoid fast fashion which significantly harms both people and the planet. We are steadfast fans of tonlé which creates beautiful clothing and homewares in Cambodia from reclaimed materials with an entirely zero waste design process. Shopping second hand and vintage is another great option to opt out of the waste involved in manufacturing new clothing.
Beauty + Self-Care
If it was not already apparent before the pandemic, taking care of ourselves is of the utmost importance. That could look like eating foods that make you feel great, upgrading your beauty routine, or even just a little bit of pampering. There have been incredible strides made in the beauty space and there are likely zero waste options that will serve your needs. Try opting out of the disposable plastic toothbrushes and use a biodegradable bamboo tooth brush and products like this plastic free ocean friendly sunblock. Also an encouragement to get creative about reusing your product jars, like the ILERA apothecary's, for small item storage or to create candles out of.
Nesting at Home
Many of us have spent the last year of the pandemic making our homes as cozy as possible. While we stay safe at home, we have been spending more time than ever within the same four walls. This means making those walls as beautiful as possible has been a high priority. As we develop our spaces, we can likely achieve the look we want by shopping secondhand first. If you do decide to buy a new piece, make sure to invest in high-quality pieces that are both sustainable for the planet and the people who made them. Again, we love tonlé for not only their clothing but their beautiful selection of zero waste homewares like rugs, pillow cases & table linens to responsibly spruce up any room.If you are not sure where to start, try doing azero waste audit. This will help you better understand what opportunities you personally have to reduce waste. Achieving zero waste requires individuals, businesses, and governments working together. However, in this series, we will be focusing on how to elevate your sustainable habits on a personal level. Stay tuned!