I’m not going to lie – in the scheme of things I’m very, very new to the zero waste game. All of my experiences have come at a steep learning curve as my only instructor has been the good ol’ internet.
Useful, but not as useful as being able to chat to a real, live person. That’s why I created this site: in the hopes that someone in Indianapolis (or at least Indiana) would stumble across my blog and find some truly applicable tips.
So here goes (and this applies beyond Indy!). My biggest, best zero waste tip for beginners:
Ask for forgiveness, rather than permission
I came about this realization totally organically.
Once, early on in my zero waste efforts, I wandered into the bulk section of a Fresh Thyme with a few jars, bottles, and bags. I tared my own jars/containers, and filled them up with all sorts of dry and wet bulk goods. Then, I checked out.
The cashier just smiled and seemed relieved that I could tell her all of the codes for the bulk items, and said nothing at all.
I had no idea people panicked over whether stores would allow them to use their own containers until much later when I saw a discussion on a zero waste Facebook group.
I mostly did it without asking because I hate interacting with shop employees in a way that I feel like I’m being difficult.
(Really, it’s a tricky thing to ask an employee whether it’s OK to use your own items because, honestly, they probably have no idea if it’s not a common thing. They may say no out of a knee-jerk reaction to something new.)
NB: if you check out and get told you absolutely cannot do something, don’t do it again! Now you know better so forgiveness isn’t an option anymore. Find a new store that will be more accommodating.
I also did it because I honestly had no clue that it would be an issue. And it wasn’t.
Moral of the story? Sometimes ignorance is bliss!
What’s the best zero waste tip for beginners do you have to share? Impart your knowledge in the comments below!