WTF is zero waste?

The concept of zero waste is pretty simple: essentially, living a life where nothing ends up in a landfill. Of course it’s impossible for us to live without creating any trash, so don’t think that a zero waste lifestyle means zero waste. It doesn’t even mean filling just one mason jar with trash for years and years.

Because zero waste is an industrial term that means products are designed from the very beginning without no waste as an end product. The term zero waste was co-opted on an individual level by activists as a catchy name. So zero waste on an individual level is not zero trash – we live in a linear economy (ie. one in which products are meant to go into the trash) and that’s impossible.

But zero waste is about reducing your trash as much as possible in a way that’s sustainable to your lifestyle – no matter how much money, time, or access you have.

That means trading plastic packaging for reusable alternatives, refusing unnecessary spending, and generally getting more creative when you need to buy things.

Trying to move toward zero waste is not easy, but here’s the deal: the average person creates 4.3 pounds of garbage DAILY. That’s an insane amount of trash that ends up in a landfill and turns into noxious gases that are destroying our environment.

Do you feel ready?

The biggest zero waste myth

The biggest zero waste myth is that it’s hard, expensive, and time-consuming. Yes, it might be one of the three (or maybe two at times), but not all of them.

I did a case study on whether shopping at Walmart was cheaper than shopping 100% bulk – check out the answer! (Spoiler: it’s bulk!)

Really, zero waste doesn’t have to be the difficult, unachievable goal so many imagine it to be. Because zero waste is an end goal – the in-between process is a much more flexible, fluid thing. Working towards your ways doesn’t have to be a chore.

I know that a lot of people can’t afford zero waste options, don’t have time, or don’t even have access to the resources that would let them go fully zero waste. That’s OK. Taking steps towards reducing your waste is a huge first step.

This blog is here to break down a zero waste journey into 100% manageable steps.

doesn’t have to be hard in more realistic less Pinterest for the form of zero waste green indie blog is all about going zero waste without the worries of looking perfect of having a perfectly white kitchen there’s no perfectly white kitchen here t

A more realistic, less Pinterest-worthy form of zero waste

Green Indy Blog is all about going zero waste without the worries of absolute perfection.

There’s no perfectly white kitchen here. There’s no ultra-minimal, beautifully decorated house. It’s just me, a regular person on a very regular budget, trying to show how everyone has the opportunity to at least start going zero waste.

Don’t buy in to the hype that you need brand new stainless steel containers or a full set of pristine Mason jars to start your journey. Use and abuse what you already have (yes, zero wasters use plastic!) and then thoughtfully consider other options when the time comes.

Landfills ain’t pretty and keeping stuff out of then doesn’t have to be either.

Getting started: challenges

20 actionable steps for the zero waste curious:  I’ve created a list of 20 simple, actionable steps to getting anyone started with zero waste. Either give them a try yourself if you’re feeling overwhelmed like I was or pass this post on to someone you know who is curious about zero waste but hesitant to get started.

Zero waste challenges to try this weekend: No-pressure, low-stakes zero waste challenges that won’t take too much time and – more importantly – won’t feel like an insurmountable sacrifice. You ready?

Getting started: being prepared

My zero waste bag essentials: the easiest way to create waste is to leave the house without a little bit of planning. Create a zero waste essentials kit to avoid fails!

How do I go zero waste with a partner who doesn’t care?: Be prepared, not everyone will be as on-board with the process as you are. Here are some tips for navigating that fact.

Non-traditional zero waste journeys

How to go zero waste on a budget: tips and tricks for achieving a partially zero waste lifestyle when you don’t have money or time to invest in the lifestyle. Plus, a case study on how I actually did it.

Going zero waste in a food desert: if you don’t have easy access to a grocery store, here are some tips for accessing zero waste based on my own experiences.

Zero waste shopping

Tips on getting near zero waste packages from Amazon: I live in a mid-sized city that still lacks a lot of zero waste options. I still order off Amazon – here are some hacks to keep packaging waste minimal.

How to get near zero waste groceries without bulk: many people don’t have access to bulk stores. Here are some ideas on how to reduce your plastic waste anyway.

What do you bring to go zero waste grocery shopping?: the items I always toss in my car before going on a grocery trip.

Zero waste your space

Declutter your home, zero-waste style: the urge to minimize when going zero waste is strong, but how do you declutter without sending items to the landfill?

5 habits to help go zero waste at work: work is another area with the potential to create a lot of waste. Use these tips to reduce your impact in the office.